Corn Rootworm Is Breaking Through In Northern Iowa

Corn Rootworm Is Breaking Through In Northern Iowa

Soil insecticides showing reduced effectiveness in controlling corn rootworm as a result of extremely wet weather this spring.

Corn rootworm appears to be breaking through the multiple lines of defense set up in fields in northern Iowa. "We've employed multiple avenues of control; we're using multiple traits belowground and also applying soil-applied insecticides," says Todd Claussen, director of agronomy with Farmers' Cooperative Company.

USE MULTIPLE TOOLS, OVER MULTIPLE YEARS: Changes are being encouraged in corn rootworm management. Seed company agronomists say farmers need to take a multiyear, whole-farm approach to corn rootworm management. Balancing integrated pest management and resistance management with crop productivity is crucial. Companies are providing revised recommendations on a field-by-field basis to help farmers control this pest and grow more corn.

"Even with these measures, and all the pressures that we've seen that have been created by the 2012 intense pressure, corn rootworm is starting to break through this year and we certainly can find first and second feeding larvae on corn roots that even have multiple modes of protection," Claussen adds. "The pressure, combined with the reduced effectiveness of soil insecticides due to heavy spring rains, explains the increased rootworm activity in 2013."

If you grow corn in the Midwest, you've probably spent some time thinking about your corn rootworm management strategy and asked yourself some of these questions:

* What is the efficacy of my Bt traited corn?

* Will my current pest management strategy (continue to) work?

* Is my management strategy maximizing my return on investment?

Syngenta has been researching the answers to those questions plus a few more in an effort to help farmers grow more corn. "Managing corn rootworm is a common goal for everyone in agriculture and certainly a top priority for us," says Bruce Battles, an Iowa-based solutions development manager with Syngenta. "But it has to start with a change in how we view corn rootworm management. Oftentimes we react to what we saw in the field the previous year, but we need to take a step back and start to think about a more proactive, long-term approach to corn rootworm management."~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~

Battles says Syngenta wants to help farmers develop multiyear, whole-farm strategies for corn rootworm and pest management, taking into account current and historical pest pressures in each field.

Corn rootworm strategy will require more than using traits or any single technology

"Delivering strategic recommendations that are solidly based on technology preservation and the principles of integrated pest management (IPM) is important," explains Miloud Araba, Syngenta's technical product lead for corn traits. "We recognize that a lasting corn rootworm management strategy will require more than traits or any singular technology, but rather the integration of multiple technologies and control measures."

Recently, Bt trait technology efficacy concerns in Western corn rootworm have reignited worries over agriculture's most destructive pest. Reports from labs and cornfields alike have captured the entire industry's attention.

"Corn rootworm is a complex and resilient pest that has a proven ability to overcome traditional farming methods and technology over time," says Caydee Savinelli, Syngenta technical product lead and member of the Insecticide Resistance Action Committee (IRAC). "What is evident is that to maximize our customers' crop productivity, we need to focus on successfully managing corn rootworm."

Corn rootworm management recommendations to help farmers successfully control this pest

With corn farmers in mind, Syngenta invested significant resources to research best practices for corn rootworm management, incorporating expertise, input and data from both internal and external sources, says Battles. As a result, the company has developed a practical set of corn rootworm management recommendations to help farmers successfully control the pest and grow more corn.

"There is no one-size-fits-all solution for corn rootworm," Battles notes. "Long-term management will require integrated solutions that incorporate multiple modes of action and product stewardship. At Syngenta, we're proud to offer our customers the industry's most comprehensive portfolio of rootworm control technologies and a commitment to responsible and effective pest management."

To view a mobile-friendly version of the corn rootworm management recommendations from Syngenta, visit For more information about Syngenta products for corn rootworm control, visit and, and follow Syngenta on Twitter and Facebook.

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