Field experiments were conducted in 2004 and 2005 to determine the effect of different levels of hand-infested third instar European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), on whole-plant yield and plant growth stage in corn, Zea mays L., grown for silage. In 2004 and 2005, European corn borer infestation level had a significant negative impact on whole-plant yield (grams of dry matter per plant) with increasing infestation; however, whole-plant yield was not significantly affected by plant growth stage in either year. In 2004, the six larvae per plant treatment caused the greatest percentage of reduction (23.4%) in mean (±SEM) whole-plant yield (258.5 ± 21.0 g dry matter per plant) compared with the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Cry1Ab control (337.3 ± 11.1 g dry matter per plant). In 2005, the five larvae per plant treatment caused the greatest percentage of reduction (8.3%) in mean whole-plant yield (282.3 ± 10.8 g dry matter per plant) compared with the Bt Cry1Ab control (307.8 ± 8.3 g dry matter per plant). The relationship between mean whole-plant yield and European corn borer larvae infestation level from the pooled data of both years was described well by using an exponential decay model (r2 = 0.84, P = 0.0038). The economic injury level for silage corn was estimated to be ≈73% higher than for corn grown for grain based on similar control costs and crop values. In addition, plant growth stage and European corn borer infestation level had no effect on percentage of acid detergent fiber, neutral detergent fiber, and crude protein values in either year of the study.
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