Roots damaged by western corn rootworm

Roots damaged by western corn rootworm

URBANA, Ill. — Researchers from the University of Illinois and the Illinois Natural History Survey have published their 2019 field research results related to crop pests and diseases in Illinois.

Report author Nathan Kleczewski, a plant pathologist in the Department of Crop Sciences and University of Illinois Extension specialist, says the report serves multiple purposes.

“This annual publication is a nice one-stop-shop for applied research results for the season. It’s not just diseases — it’s weather, production and insects,” he says in a university news release. “In the future, we hope it can continue to expand to include other areas and crops.

“Having these data published annually and stored for posterity is extremely important. You might forget that a year was particularly wet or dry, and that is why certain diseases were problematic or non-issues.”

Kleczewski notes the report also includes information on management practices that didn’t work.

“In applied research, the lack of an effect of a management practice is just as important as if a practice has an effect,” he says. “Why? Because management costs money and we want our producers to be as profitable as possible. If something doesn’t work, we want that information out there just as much as if something works.”

According to the report, the wet 2019 spring favored fusarium head blight in some areas, and late planting resulted in pockets of corn impacted by southern rust. Tar spot, a major player in the 2018 season, was not impactful due to dry conditions in the middle of summer, increased prevent-plant acres in the northern part of the state and other environmental factors.

Although diseases in soybeans were not a major issue, soybean cyst nematode was still present in the majority of fields to some degree.

“In this year’s soybean nematode survey, we saw that soybean cyst nematode is really starting to adapt to the commonly used PI88788 source of resistance. This means that this nematode is not being controlled as efficiently as it was in the past,” Kleczewski says.

“This first year of data really shows that producers need to be monitoring their fields for this nematode to ensure that their yields are not being impacted. Often you don’t see the damage caused, and fields suffer ’hidden’ yield losses. Routine sampling and implementation of integrated management practices can help keep this pathogen in check.”

The report also contains evaluations of Bt trait packages and soil insecticides in corn, as well as foliar insecticides in soybean.

Nick Seiter, an entomologist in the Department of Crop Sciences, headed up the evaluations for western corn rootworm, bean leaf beetle and others.

“With these field experiments, we continue to monitor trait and insecticide performance for rootworm control every year to document resistance development and provide efficacy comparisons to our clientele,” Seiter says.

The report is available online at https://bit.ly/36lhSvh and includes evaluations of plant varieties, management practices and products for insects, nematodes and diseases in corn and soybean, as well as results of statewide pest surveys.

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