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17 May 2019 Impact of Simulated Corn Earworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) Kernel Feeding on Field Corn Yield
B. M. Olivi, J. Gore, F. M. Musser, A. L. Catchot, D. R. Cook
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Corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) Lepidoptera: Noctuidae, has not been considered an economic pest of field corn. Historical losses estimates ranged from 1.5 to 2.5%, and a large number of foliar insecticide applications would be needed to minimize infestations. In recent years, Bt, Bacillus thuringiensis (Berliner) field corn, Zea mays (L.) Poales: Poaceae, technologies that exhibit activity against corn earworm have been introduced. However, it is unclear how much damage to corn ears (number of damaged kernels) is required to reduce yield. In this study manual damage methods were utilized to inflict defined levels of kernel damage and to impose damage at levels greater than observed with natural corn earworm infestations. Bt corn hybrids expressing the Agrisure Viptera (Vip 3A) trait were used to minimize injury from natural infestations of corn earworm. Manual kernel damage was imposed at R3 stage to mimic corn earworm feeding while avoiding interference with pollination.These methods were used in experiments where treatments were applied to individual ears and hand-harvested and in experiments where treatments were applied to all primary ears in the plot and machine-harvested. Damage of ≥60 kernels per ear was required to significantly reduce yield regardless of harvest method. Kernel damage from natural corn earworm infestations reported in other studies was much lower than 60 kernels per ear. Timely planting is a key component of all integrated pest management programs. Field corn planted during the recommended planting window for optimum yield is unlikely to experience corn earworm damage great enough to reduce yield.

© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:
B. M. Olivi, J. Gore, F. M. Musser, A. L. Catchot, and D. R. Cook "Impact of Simulated Corn Earworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) Kernel Feeding on Field Corn Yield," Journal of Economic Entomology 112(5), 2193-2198, (17 May 2019).
Received: 24 January 2019; Accepted: 10 April 2019; Published: 17 May 2019

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corn earworm
field corn
kernel damage
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