No. 6 Article 4/April 30, 2004

Update on the Establishment of Our Corn Rootworm Trials

We are pleased to report that our standard corn rootworm experimental trials have been established at Urbana (April 19), Monmouth (April 27), and DeKalb (April 28). Kevin Steffey and I believe this is the first time that all of our corn rootworm planting-time experiments have been established in April. Thanks are due to Ron Estes, coordinator of the Insect Management and Insecticide Evaluation Program in the Department of Crop Sciences, for his organizational efforts this spring! In light of the earlier planting dates across Illinois this spring, we recognize that many producers may view the establishment of our trials as just implementing good agronomic practices; however, obtaining the myriad of seed treatments, insecticides (registered and experimental), and transgenic seed (commercial and noncommercial) from the private sector in a timely fashion is an annual challenge.

In 2003, our plots were planted much later (mid- to late May) than we would have liked, and the performance of some insecticide products may have benefited due to the shorter duration in which they were exposed to various environmental conditions. It remains our goal to synchronize the planting dates of our experimental trials with those of producers. Thus, in the future, we anticipate that several of our corn rootworm insecticide trials will be established by mid-April.

With these early-planting dates, corn rootworm products will be expected to deliver a lethal dose of an insecticide approximately 10 weeks after their application at planting. We suspect that performance of some products may be compromised by these early planting dates, particularly if corn rootworm pressure is intense. We look forward to sharing the results of our corn rootworm insecticide/transgenic efficacy trials later this summer.--Mike Gray

View from the back of our planter (University of Illinois), with a close-up of the Noble units we use to deliver granular soil insecticides.

Seed packets that contain corn seed treated with an insecticidal seed treatment, transgenic corn seed, or corn seed not treated for use in our rootworm insecticide efficacy trials, University of Illinois.

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