As farmers across the Corn Belt continue to battle above- and below-ground insect pests year after year, a comprehensive integrated pest management approach is key to maximizing yield potential, especially in corn-on-corn environments.
“Integrated pest management is about taking a comprehensive look at how you are managing yield-robbing pests in your field. Measuring insect pressure helps growers think forward, making more informed pest management decisions for the following year about their seed choice and agronomic practices,” says Monsanto Corn Insect Traits Manager Luke Samuel.
The Insect Forecast Tool can help farmers understand their current pest pressure and make more accurate predictions for the following year. Farmers can log on to www.insectforecast.com to learn when corn rootworm larvae are hatching, and to track the migration and moth flights of two damaging above-ground insects, corn earworm and western bean cutworm, throughout the growing season. With online and mobile access, this tool is useful to better understand when potential root damage may occur and to help farmers with their scouting efforts.
Samuel says the tool is both simple and effective, “Scouting and understanding pest pressure is critical to maximizing yield potential. Using the Insect Forecast tool is a convenient way for farmers to understand the insect pressure in their areas and help know when to scout their fields.” Samuel adds that scouting this year, can help maximize yield potential in next year’s crop, “Each field experiences different insect pressure, and to get more corn per acre, farmers need to have a solid understand of the level of pressure and type of pests they are dealing with in order to choose the best corn traits to address those challenges.”
Farmers in the Corn Belt can sign up at www.insectforecast.com to receive email alerts from May through September to learn when these insects pose a risk in their area. In 2012, more than 5,000 farmers visited the Insect Forecast site to identify when damage may occur to their corn crop and to make vital decisions for the following year.
Developed by climatologist and meteorologist Mike Sandstrom, the Insect Forecast tool analyzes moth trapping data and weather patterns to issue one, two and three-to-five day forecasts for corn earworm and western bean cutworm. The corn rootworm hatch is updated weekly and is based on soil temperature and Growing Degree Days across the Corn Belt. The Insect Forecast tool is being sponsored for the fourth year by Monsanto and offered to farmers by its Genuity brand.