At this moment, adult corn rootworm beetles are invading cornfields across the Midwest. Adult beetles can negatively impact pollination as they feed on silk, but it’s the eggs laid in late summer that growers really want to watch out for. Females will lay their eggs in cornfields to overwinter, and the eggs will hatch the following year. Once the eggs hatch in spring, the larvae emerge and feed on the corn roots, causing severe damage to the plant.
According to North Dakota State University, corn rootworms cost U.S. producers about $1 billion annually in yield losses and the input costs to control them. It’s also worth noting that a single northern corn rootworm female can lay up to 1,000 eggs in a growing season, and a western corn rootworm female is capable of producing more than 1,800 eggs in a season.
That’s a lot of potential larvae causing a lot of potential damage.
“The corn rootworm is one of the top insect pests that we see in the Midwest, and a lot of that is driven by trait usage for targeting corn rootworm,” said Jeremiah Mullock, BASF Seed Treatment Insecticide and Nematicide Lead. “We have seen some breakdown of those resistance traits, particularly some of the single-trait toxins, but adding in an additional level of protection — such as a seed treatment — can protect the roots of the plants.”
As part of a resistance and pest management strategy, many growers also rely on crop rotation. The typical corn-soybean rotations help growers cut down on overall eggs laid, as most female corn rootworm beetles will only lay their eggs in cornfields.
“Crop rotation is a good strategy for controlling corn rootworm populations, but it’s very hard for populations to be completely eradicated,” said Mullock. “It’s a great solution to partner both of those technologies, being the traits as well as a seed treatment such as Poncho 1250 Votivo seed treatment, to get you full agronomic protection for corn rootworm.” The 1250 rate of Poncho Votivo seed treatment helps combat against low to moderate corn rootworm populations.
Poncho 1250 Votivo protects roots from feeding damage, and it complements the Bt corn traits by protecting the seed from secondary insects that those traits don’t protect against, such as wireworms, grubs and black cutworms. The Votivo component also delivers broad-spectrum protection against multiple generations of nematode species.
“Once the seed has been put in the ground, there’s not much growers can do to limit larval feeding,” said Mullock. “It’s important to make a pre-plant management decision that could protect your end-of-season yield.”
If adult corn rootworm beetles are in the field now, growers will see larvae in the soil next spring, eating away at the roots of their corn crop. Make that pre-plant management decision and prepare for next year with a pest management plan that uses a variety of tactics, such as using seed traits along with a seed treatment for added protection.
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Poncho 1250 Votivo is a custom blend of the separately registered Poncho Votivo and Poncho 600.
About BASF’s Agricultural Solutions division
With a rapidly growing population, the world is increasingly dependent on our ability to develop and maintain sustainable agriculture and healthy environments. Working with farmers, agricultural professionals, pest management experts and others, it is our role to help make this possible. That’s why we invest in a strong R&D pipeline and broad portfolio, including seeds and traits, chemical and biological crop protection, soil management, plant health, pest control and digital farming. With expert teams in the lab, field, office and in production, we connect innovative thinking and down-to-earth action to create real world ideas that work — for farmers, society and the planet. In 2018, our division generated sales of €6.2 billion. For more information, please visit www.agriculture.basf.com or any of our social media channels.
At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The approximately 122,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into six segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industrial Solutions, Surface Technologies, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions. BASF generated sales of around €63 billion in 2018. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchange in Frankfurt (BAS) and as American Depositary Receipts (BASFY) in the U.S. Further information at www.basf.com.