Source: Mosaic Company

Forty-seven percent of U.S. corn acres are planted to stacked-trait insect-resistant hybrids this season, but little has been known about the effect of the rootworm-resistant gene on corn nutrient uptake and the exact nutrition needed to optimize yields.

Researchers at the University of Illinois-Champaign are comparing the nutritional needs of rootworm-resistant corn hybrids to their conventional counterparts. Their preliminary research shows the nutrient uptake of resistant hybrids is significantly greater than insect-resistant hybrids' conventional counterparts.

"Understanding the effect of the resistant gene on corn nutrient uptake and grain nutrient concentration is critical information for nutrient and crop management," said Fred Below, Ph.D., professor of plant physiology, University of Illinois. "Because rootworm larval feeding is suppressed, and, therefore, the root system protected from damage, we expected the rootworm-resistant hybrids would have higher nutrient uptake than their conventional counterparts.

"Results of our initial trials show that the per acre removal rates of nutrients (N, P, K, S, Zn) are from 14 percent to 27 percent greater for hybrids with the rootworm- resistant gene. In fact, both the yield and the concentration of nutrients in the grain were higher for the transgenic hybrids," Below said.

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