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How to determine total insect damage

Gil Gullickson 05/23/2011 @ 2:33pm Crops Technology Editor for Successful Farming magazine/Agriculture.com

Want to find out the total damage of all pests that attack your corn?  Syngenta Seeds’ multi-pest calculator enables farmers to do this.

“It gives you the dollar amount of the total damage you are seeing,” says Bruce Battles, Syngenta Seeds agronomy marketing manager.

Typically, insecticide treatments are based primarily on damage solely aimed at a single insect. For example, if black cutworm exceeds the economic threshold level, the field is chemically treated. Ditto for pests like fall armyworm, corn earworm, or western bean cutworm.

The multi-pest calculator considers the combined value of all pests impacting corn.

“Losses become apparent, not only from individual pests, but from the components of all the pests occurring together,” says Battles.

Economic damage can tally up quickly, even if none of the insects reach their individual economic thresholds.

An example includes the sum of three insects damaging corn on a 1,500-acre corn farm in Indiana--black cutworm, fall armyworm, and corn earworm. In this case, the calculator places the total damage of black cutworm, fall armyworm, and corn earworm at $27,628.60. This is in spite of the fact none of the insects hit their individual economic thresholds for treatment. This loss could have been avoided had they planted an Agrisure Viptera traited hybrid, says Battles.

“The calculator helps put a dollar amount on what a trait package can do for them,” says Battles.

The multi-pest calculator also can be used to determine treatment payback outside of traits, too. For example, you can estimate what the loss will be from black cutworm treatment by punching in the infestation level, to determine whether insecticide treatment is the right solution based on the damage loss.

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