A sophisticated online tool that forecasts corn insect migration has been enhanced for the 2011 growing season to increase farmer awareness about above-ground pests that can threaten their fields.
Knowing insect migration patterns can help farmers in the Corn Belt make strategic decisions about better timing their pesticide applications or choosing traited hybrids that can help protect against insect damage in the future.
Developed by climatologist and meteorologist Mike Sandstrom, the Insect Migration Risk Forecast (IMRF) monitors the daily migration of damaging pests, such as corn earworm, from May through September. It analyzes moth trapping data and weather patterns to issue one, two and three-to-five day forecasts.
Last year’s program focused on tracking the annual migration of corn earworms from the South to Midwestern corn fields. For 2011, the IMRF will also track western bean cutworm pressure in the Midwest.
Farmers can sign-up online at www.insectforecast.com to receive e-mail alerts when these insects pose a risk in their areas.
Corn earworms and western bean cutworms can cause significant yield damage by feeding on corn ears. Losing an average of just three kernels per ear can cause a famer to lose about one bushel per acre.