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Don’t Underestimate Corn Rootworm Pressure

September 16, 2020
This agronomic image shows corn rootworm on a corn leaf

Corn rootworm on corn.

Even though its pressure is variable year to year, corn rootworm (CRW) can cost $1 billion annually in damage and control measures. Unfortunately, this tough pest is here to stay, with multiple counties in IA reporting CRW in 2020, according to researchers with the Iowa State University Extension. Throughout its life cycle, CRW can cause devastating damage, resulting in low corn yields and reduced profits. If you’re planning to plant corn again in 2021, you may encounter CRW in your fields.

According to Purdue University researchers, eggs deposited by adult female corn rootworms overwinter in the soil and hatch from late May to early June. As the larvae matures, its appetite increases. Larvae feed on young corn roots, impeding moisture and nutrient absorption and reducing root mass. After pupating in the soil, adult beetles emerge in mid-July to early September and continue feeding on corn silks, mate, lay eggs and restart the cycle.

Damage from CRW results in underdeveloped root systems, weak brace roots, reduced nutrient uptake, poor ear fill and lodged or fallen corn. In fact, there is a 15% to 17% reduction in corn yields for every node of the corn root that is injured by CRW larvae.

One of the best ways you can minimize the risk of CRW damage in your corn in 2021 is by using a robust soil-applied corn insecticide. We recommend  Force® 6.5G insecticide, which is a high-load granular formulation that manages CRW and other soil-dwelling insect pests to deliver superior root protection. Stronger root systems mean stronger stalks, which ultimately results in healthier corn that can reach its yield potential.

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