June 1, 2006

FFA Members To Monitor Corn Rootworms

Corn rootworms cost farmers across the Corn Belt an estimated $1 billion a year in crop damage and control measures. Now, local FFA youth are participating in a program to help growers monitor and better manage this costly pest.

Members of the Memphis FFA chapter are enlisting farmer participation in a sticky trap monitoring program sponsored by Monsanto Company and YieldGard Plus Corn.

Covering 11 states, the sticky trap program is designed to gauge the prevalence of the western corn rootworm variant, which has adapted its reproductive cycle in order to survive field rotations between corn and soybeans. The western corn rootworm variant lays its eggs in soybean fields and the larvae hatch when the fields have been rotated to corn the following season, leading to rootworm feeding in first-year corn. The program will also monitor northern corn rootworms, which may be exhibiting similar variant behavior.

The sticky trap program will take place in Illinios, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri (northwest and northeast), Ohio, Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota and Wisconsin. FFA youth in these states will place sticky traps, provided by Monsanto, in farmers’ soybean fields in late July to determine whether rootworm beetles are present and at what level. Results of the monitoring program will enable farmers to determine if they have a potential rootworm problem that suggests they should consider management options for the 2007 growing season.

“Our FFA members are very excited about the opportunity to participate in the sticky trap monitoring program,” said Sharail Barton, newly installed Memphis FFA president. “Not only are we helping our local farmers address a serious insect threat, but the program also includes an educational component to help our members learn more about these corn rootworm variants,” adds Memphis FFA advisor Bill Cottrell.

Monsanto is also providing participating FFA chapters with a $50 donation for each sticky trap site including the return of completed test data at the end of the monitoring program in early August.

Monsanto conducted a similar sticky trap monitoring program in five Corn Belt states in 2005. Results showed the western corn rootworm beetle was trapped in almost all counties where the sticky traps were placed by growers in their soybean fields, and that in several counties, the number of beetles exceeded the economic threshold for control of this pest.

For more information about the 2006 sticky trap program, farmers may call 1-866-ROOTDIG, or locally 465-2522 (day) or 328-6646 (evenings).

by VP Laura Aylward

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