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Farmers Looking to Stop Crop Pests in 2014


Farmers are dealing with a late summer drought, but University of Illinois Extension said they should be thinking about threats to next year’s crop as well.

Extension’s Angie Peltier said the western corn rootworm does a lot of damage in the larvae stage. Though she said farmers should watch out for the adult beetles too, because they’re the ones laying the eggs.

"We can take what we are seeing this year for adult population numbers and make decisions for management of the western corn rootworm for next year," Peltier said.

She said if the number of adults in a field surpasses a certain threshold, farmers should consider steps to control the pest next year.

Those steps include alternating from corn to soybeans, which she admits is unlikely with corn prices so high or applying a soil pesticide when planting.

Peltier also said farmers should consider switching to a different type of BT corn. She explained that different BT hybrids have slightly different, or even multiple forms of the gene, which produce different forms of the toxin.

So by rotating the hybrid they use, she said farmers can help prevent corn rootworm from developing BT resistance.

Scott Stuntz is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.