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Stinkbugs: An ever-increasing problem in corn

Stinkbug damage on corn

CENTRAL PLAINS: Stinkbug pressures have increased for corn growers in Kansas. In the photo above, you’ll see a few ears that I gathered to show how much damage can be done by this pesky insect. The most severely damaged ear is to the far left, the healthiest ear to the far right, and a range of damage in between.

What easily distinguishes stinkbug damage is the curling of the ear, with the more severely damaged ears even morphing into a half-moon shape. As you can see, the ears can actually curl out of the husk in early grain fill stages, which exposes the ear to further damage from insects and molds.

Fortunately, the damage is usually only the worst along field edges (where you first walk in), with the damage usually decreasing significantly as you move to the interior of the field. The exception would be a portion of the field or a few rows that tasseled out of sync with the rest of the field due to differences in maturity or planting date. These small areas will attract stinkbugs from across the field, causing a concentration of insects and significantly increasing the incidence of damaged ears.

Reported from Lyons, Kan.

All photos are the property of Syngenta unless otherwise noted.


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