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Monsanto, FFA helping growers monitor for corn rootworm variants

For the second year, Monsanto and The National FFA Organization's (FFA) chapters in Iowa, Michigan and Ohio will be participating in the sticky trap monitoring program to help growers monitor and better manage corn rootworms.

Last year over 500 FFA chapters and nearly 8,500 farmers participated in the program, which included nearly 12,000 test sites. Based on the number of test sites, Monsanto donated over $600,000 to participating state and local FFA chapters.

"We are very pleased to be partnering with the FFA again to provide farmers with a greater understanding of these yield-robbing pests," says Corby Jensen, Monsanto Corn Trait Technology Development Manager. "This not only provides growers with valuable information, but it also gives FFA students a learning opportunity, a way to build leadership and communication skills and a way to raise money for their local chapters."

Corn rootworms cost farmers across the Corn Belt an estimated $1 billion per year in crop damage and control measures. The objective of the program, sponsored by Monsanto, is to create grower awareness about the spread of corn rootworm variants and the potential threat they pose to corn acres.

The program gauges the prevalence of the western corn rootworm variant, which has adapted its reproductive cycle in order to survive field rotations between corn and soybeans. The western corn rootworm variant lays its eggs in soybean fields, and the larvae hatch when the fields have been rotated to corn the following season, leading to rootworm feeding in first-year corn. The program will also monitor northern corn rootworms, which may be exhibiting similar variant behavior.

FFA youth will encourage farmers in their communities to participate in the program and help place the sticky traps in their soybean fields in late July to determine whether rootworm beetles are present and at what level. Monsanto will provide participating FFA chapters with a $50 donation for each sticky trap site they secure, including the return of completed test data at the end of the monitoring program in August.

Monsanto will tabulate the final results of this program, which will enable farmers to determine if they have a potential rootworm problem that suggests they should consider management options for the 2008 growing season.

For the second year, Monsanto and The National FFA Organization's (FFA) chapters in Iowa, Michigan and Ohio will be participating in the sticky trap monitoring program to help growers monitor and better manage corn rootworms.

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