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Don't forget refuge corn insecticide

Agriculture.com Staff 05/28/2008 @ 11:49am

This spring's generally unfavorable planting conditions may have you really running to get your corn and soybeans in the ground before notching a sure yield loss too great.

If you're planting Bt corn, don't get so caught up in the rush that you forget to apply soil insecticide to your refuge acres. Already slipped your mind? Don't worry too much yet, says Purdue University Integrated Pest Management specialist John Obermeyer. There's still time to get it done without suffering too much insect damage.

"The good news is that a rescue treatment is possible," Obermeyer says. "The bad news is that it requires another trip to the field."

Make sure you do it right, though. Liquid insecticides like Furadan or Lorsban can be applied, Obermeyer says, at post-emergence or when cultivating. The only problem here is identifying exactly where to begin treatment. Weather can also limit when a post-emerge insecticide can be effectively applied.

"Hopefully the refuge is well marked to help locate the unprotected corn. Shortly before or during rootworm egg-hatch, the end of May/early June, drop nozzles should be directed toward the base of the corn plants with the labeled rate of insecticide," Obermeyer says. "Following-up with cultivation, if possible, will incorporate the insecticide and promote the establishment of brace roots."

With such high fuel and fertilizer costs this spring, it may be tempting to try to kill two birds with one stone, either applying insecticide at the same time as liquid nitrogen or herbicide. The prior is possible, but the latter can slash insecticide efficacy.

"Liquid nitrogen can be included with this post-emergence application, being cautious to keep the spray off the foliage in order to not burn the leaves," Obermeyer says. "In this day of high fuel prices, it would be tempting to combine the insecticide with a post-applied herbicide. This is unwise, as broadcasting the insecticide will result in poor rootworm control. Again, the insecticide needs to be concentrated near the base of the plant."

This spring's generally unfavorable planting conditions may have you really running to get your corn and soybeans in the ground before notching a sure yield loss too great.

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