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Traps indicate early corn earworm moth flights

Agriculture.com Staff 07/14/2010 @ 11:00pm

Moth trap reports indicate an early start to the corn earworm infestation window across the Corn Belt this growing season, according to a report from Syngenta.

Syngenta agronomists have already identified corn earworm in the south, including Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, and anticipate the trend could lead to significant corn earworm activity in the Midwest later in the growing season. Moth traps help identify geographies that are at a higher risk of yield loss due to possible insect infestation, so growers are urged to scout fields now to determine if treatments are needed to avoid yield-crippling damage.

"Growers need to be vigilant about scouting for corn earworm. Scouting and applying insecticide can recover some yield loss when completed within critical timeframes, but unfortunately predicting when corn earworm will arrive is difficult," says Bruce Battles, agronomy marketing manager, Syngenta Seeds. "With the multi-pest control of the Agrisure Viptera 3111 trait stack, growers will be better able to manage this pest without worrying about scouting and spraying within these narrow timeframes."

Corn earworm is one of the most destructive members of the multi-pest complex, a collection of above-ground corn pests that can cause significant economic losses due to their abundant numbers and the destruction they can cause throughout the growing season. This persistent pest is not easily controlled by previous seed technologies and can affect yields and grain quality if left unchecked.

Damage from corn earworm is caused by the larvae as they feed on leaves, silks and developing kernels. Battles says growers have become resigned to ear tip feeding by corn earworm larvae, opening the ear up to future problems with mycotoxins and molds. In 2008 yield trials, Syngenta research agronomists linked heavy corn earworm pressure to losses of up to 34 bushels per acre¹.

While there are chemical applications available to help combat corn earworm infestations, the application window for such products is narrow and challenging to time correctly. As a result, growers still need to be diligent about monitoring fields for this pest to best minimize potential yield loss, disease susceptibility and grain quality damage. When pests such as corn earworm cause injury, it allows spores from the fungi to gain access, proliferate and produce mycotoxins.

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