Expert tips for overcoming corn rootworm, soil compaction issues resulting from a late planting
DOWNERS GROVE, Ill., Aug. 12, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Farmers are adept at making the most out of less-than-ideal conditions, whether it's an abridged growing season, pest pressure or marginal acres. This summer, many are facing challenges wrought by a cold start and a late planting, which set the stage for corn rootworm pressure and other issues.
"While no two growing seasons are alike, this one is unfortunately shaping up to be similar to the last few in terms of corn rootworm pressure, which has been trending upwards," says Joe Bollman, NK Seeds Corn Product Manager. "It's a billion-dollar-a-year issue and is arguably the No. 1 challenge that farmers contend with. It's intensified by a late planting, which gives corn rootworm a head start and younger plants to feed on."
The NK Seeds corn portfolio features DuracadeViptera™ trait stacks to protect yield potential from 16 above- and below-ground pests while helping to produce cleaner ears for improved grain quality. The Duracade™ component is a novel Syngenta corn rootworm trait to help farmers limit the effects of corn rootworm and to maximize their yield potential.
"Significant corn rootworm pressure can rob farmers of yield potential," warns Bollman. "On top of that, it limits the plant's ability to take up nutrients, especially in drought conditions. Thus, this increases the risk for stalk lodging in the fall on top of the root lodging risk from the reduced root mass due to corn rootworm feeding. These inefficiencies make corn rootworm a fundamental challenge — one that DuracadeViptera was created to combat."
In addition to recommending hybrids that offer corn rootworm protection, Bollman encourages farmers to monitor and manage corn rootworm this summer. Scouting or trapping corn rootworm beetles with sticky traps can help to determine whether economic thresholds have been surpassed and what future management plans are needed. Farmers should also develop multi-year, field-by-field management plans that, in addition to trait stacks, may consist of crop rotation and soil- or foliar-applied insecticides.
If you planted your 2022 corn crop late, you were likely in a hurry to take to the field when Mother Nature finally allowed. And if you ran your planters or tillage equipment over wet soil last spring, you may be noticing the ramifications of soil compaction this summer.
Running planters or tillage equipment across wet soil can cause soil compaction issues that reduce the size and amount of pore space and decrease water and oxygen movement — causing issues that you'll contend with all season long.
"We now have the ability to plant a crop in a hurry, compared to 10 or 15 years ago, which is both a blessing and a curse," says Bollman. "If you were lucky to get good conditions after planting, you probably got off to a strong start and made up for lost time. But if you were forced to plant into marginal conditions, your acres may now be susceptible to issues like soil compaction. Everyone knows, we only get one chance to plant, and a mistake can affect an entire season."
While the best way to manage soil is to prevent compaction from happening, there are steps farmers can take to make the most out of their compacted soil this summer.
- Diagnose the depth of compaction before deciding on the right compaction management tool.
- In a no-till environment, consider planting an aggressively growing cover crop to break compaction layers.
- A deep tillage pass at an angle to the normal cropping rows may be considered in the fall.
- For late-season management, monitor the fields for any potential stalk or root lodging, and plan to harvest those fields early to help minimize losses.
To see the NK Seeds lineup of corn hybrids with DuracadeViptera, consult the 2023 NK Seed Guide. To get help assessing and managing soil compaction, contact your local agronomist.
Syngenta Crop Protection and Syngenta Seeds are part of Syngenta Group, one of the world's leading agriculture companies. Our ambition is to help safely feed the world while taking care of the planet. We aim to improve the sustainability, quality and safety of agriculture with world class science and innovative crop solutions. Our technologies enable millions of farmers around the world to make better use of limited agricultural resources.
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