Department of Crop Sciences University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Agronomy Day 2006

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50 Years of Field Crop Insect Management Research: on Target in 2006

Ronald E. Estes Ronald E. Estes
Research Specialist in Agriculture
Department of Crop Sciences
restes@illinois.edu
217-333-6652
Jared B. Schroeder Jared B. Schroeder
Research Specialist in Agriculture
Department of Crop Sciences
jbschroe@illinois.edu
217-333-6652

Although entomological research has been conducted at the University of Illinois for many years, an organized insecticide evaluation program was first created in 1984 under the direction of Karl Kinney, Doyle Dazey and Dr. Kevin Steffey. Since the program’s inception in 1984, many changes have occurred in agronomic practices, personnel, and most notably in the types of insect control products that are tested. The standard corn rootworm trial conducted in 1986 was comprised of strictly granular and liquid insecticides such as Mocap, Thimet, Dyfonate and Furadan. Ten years later, trials directed by John Shaw contained insecticide treatments that were very similar. The standard corn rootworm trial in 1996 contained two liquid insecticide treatments, while all others were granular insecticides. Seven of these granular insecticides were experimental compounds. However, the first Bt corn hybrids were also introduced in 1996, and since that time the landscape of our insecticide efficacy trials has dramatically changed. Currently, Bt hybrids are available for control of multiple insects, including European corn borer and corn rootworms. In addition, insecticidal seed treatments for corn rootworm control have been developed, allowing growers to receive their seed and insecticide in one package.

At the University of Illinois Agronomy Day in 2000, Dr. Kevin Steffey discussed the initial testing of an experimental Bt hybrid, later to be named Yieldgard Rootworm by Monsanto. He stated in his Agronomy Day proceedings that; “The promise of biotechnology in agriculture is bright; most likely, we have observed only a bare fraction of what this promise might be.” Over the past 6 field seasons that fraction has grown, and for the first year we will be discussing preliminary results from our standard efficacy trials for corn rootworm control that include not only insecticidal seed treatments and granular insecticides, but both Yieldgard Rootworm and Herculex RW hybrids as well.

While the “backbone” of our research is corn rootworms, we also conduct trials that focus on secondary pests such as Japanese beetle grubs and grape colaspis. In addition to our update on corn rootworm trials, we will also report on our standard secondary pest trials conducted throughout Illinois that focus on these subterranean pests. Preliminary efficacy results will be presented for seed treatments (Poncho, Cruiser, and Regent TS), one liquid (Regent), and granular treatments (Aztec, Force, and Fortress).

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It is our goal to provide information to assist producers in making management decisions that they face each season. In order to achieve this goal we have recently introduced an online report entitled on Target that can be found at the web address http://www.ipm.uiuc.edu/ontarget/. This free online report contains data regarding insecticide efficacy trials that focus on corn rootworms, secondary pests, corn borers, soybean aphids, bean leaf beetles, and many more insects. The final point of our discussion will be an overview of the 2006 edition of on Target, detailing which insect management trials will be included online this December.