Scout Early for Below-Ground Insects That Damage Corn
Numerous below-ground insects can damage your corn stand. We will focus on four pests, including where you will likely find them and what management tips could help prevent damage.
Seedcorn Maggots destroy seeds before germination. This can occur when soils are cold and germination conditions are less than ideal. Most damage occurs in high organic regions of fields, especially areas with heavy manure applications. The best time to scout is from planting to VE. Dig up seed in areas with damage to check for insect feeding. Note problem areas, and consider additional soil-applied insecticides in those areas in the future.
Scout for White Grubs prior to planting. High-risk fields include those that have been in pasture one or two years previously or where willow or cottonwood trees are growing adjacent to the field. Most of Latham’s seed treatments control this insect unless infestations are high enough to overwhelm the seed treatment. In areas with that potential, consider soil-applied insecticides.
Shortly after eggs hatch in May and June, Northern Corn Rootworm and Western Corn Rootworm larvae begin feeding on root hairs and tunnel inside roots. As they develop, larvae begin feeding on larger root tips. Extensive feeding can eliminate entire nodes of roots. In fields with known beetle history, use Latham® hybrids that contain SmartStax® or Agrisure Duracade® technology. In fields with heavy pressure, use a soil-applied insecticide in addition to a traited hybrid.
Black Cutworm most commonly occur in low or poorly drained areas of fields. Latham brand SmartStax hybrids contain the Cry1F Bt protein that can control most problems of cutworm infestations. Our new hybrids for 2022 planting with the Trecepta® and 5222 Duracade traits contain the Vip3A Bt protein that also offers great control.
Your Latham Dealer has the tools you need to effectively control these pests. As you scout fields and find pests, note those areas. Then ask your local seed dealer to help you build a plan that incorporates the Latham hybrids that can offer you the best protection.