Published on Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Non-GMO corn production requires additional management considerations, particularly in areas with strong insect
pressure. With careful planning, scouting, and season-long management, non-GMO corn production can be successful.
Select Beck’s non-GMO corn hybrids that are proven performers in your area. Just because a corn hybrid is non-GMO, does not mean it is good for your soils and management practices. Genetics come first.
Use crop rotation, when possible, to help minimize potential yield losses associated with insects and diseases that can survive in corn residue. Also try to avoid planting non-GMO corn in a corn-after-corn scenario. If you are planting non-GMO corn-after-corn, residue sizing, rapid breakdown, and fall tillage will be benefi cial to minimize potential negative effects from insects and disease pressure the following year.
Black cutworm (BCW) adults and first generation European corn borer (ECB) can be attracted to the first emerged corn in the area. In addition, late-planted non-GMO corn is usually very susceptible to 2nd and 3rd generation ECB, as well as other ear-attacking insects such as earworms and armyworms. When possible, avoid being the first and last farmer in the area to plant corn unless you plan to aggressively scout and manage for insects and diseases. In addition, try to keep your fields weed-free prior to planting to avoid desirable egg-laying sites for insects such as BCW. All Beck’s corn comes treated with Poncho®/VOTiVO® 2.0, and Nemasect® at no extra charge. The Poncho and Nemasect components will help control many insects, including BCW larvae, white grub larvae, and wireworms. The combination of Poncho and Nemasect will also help control low levels of corn rootworm (CRW) larvae in the soil; however, it is recommended that additional protection methods be utilized in not only corn-after-corn fields, but also rotated fields.
In areas where CRW larvae or white grubs are a concern, use a granular soil insecticide at planting. Force® or Aztec®, applied T-Band over the row or in-furrow, have historically been consistently high performers. In-furrow liquid insecticide systems, i.e. Capture® or Force, may provide adequate control of CRW larvae and white grubs in many cases. Granular insecticide, in addition to Beck’s Escalate® with Nemasect seed treatment, is the preferred method for CRW larvae and white grub control in non-GMO corn where a high potential for CRW larvae or white grub damage exists. In areas or years where CRW larvae and white grub populations are expected to be low, in-furrow liquid insecticide systems, when used in combination with Escalate with Nemasect seed treatment, will provide acceptable control. For corn nematode concerns, the combination of VOTiVO® and Nemasect in the Escalate with Nemasect seed treatment will do an excellent job protecting corn roots from nematode damage.
Plan for a sequential, properly-timed weed control program that effectively and consistently controls weeds species that are present in your fields. A two-pass herbicide program provides the most consistent results with maximum weed control over time. Prevent weeds from “greening-up” fields prior to planting.
Plan for tissue sampling one week prior to the post herbicide application, preferably in the V4 to V6 window. This can help determine if foliar nutritional products containing nutrients such as zinc, boron, sulfur, and others should be added with the post herbicide. In addition, sampling one week prior to a VT/R1 fungicide + insecticide application can help identify if the addition of boron will likely be beneficial.
Plan for a split application of nitrogen with stabilizers. Split applications help manage risk from nitrogen loss due to extreme weather events, and have recently been proven to provide the highest ROI. Consider the addition of sulfur with your nitrogen application.
Plan to scout for foliar diseases such as gray leaf spot (GLS), northern corn leaf blight (NCLB), common rust, and others near pollination time. Plan to treat with a fungicide once the entire field is tasseled if: disease is present in moderate amounts, conditions are favorable for continued disease development, you have a susceptible hybrid, and current economics support a fungicide application with potential for a positive ROI. Headline AMP®, Trivapro™, and Miravis® Neo are premium fungicides I recommend farmers consider at VT to R1.
Since non-GMO corn does not contain any insect protection traits, there is always potential for insects to develop a certain level of infestation that may not be economical to treat. Due to this, timely harvest of non-GMO corn is important to minimize harvest losses related to low levels of insect infestation that could cause stalk or ear shank tunneling. This damage could result in late-season stalk lodging or ear drop.
Plan to scout for first and second generation ECB and, if necessary, treat with an insecticide such as Lorsban®, Warrior®, Mustang Maxx®, etc. or a Bt product. In addition, scouting for silk-clipping from CRW beetles and/or Japanese beetles will be necessary to determine if an insecticide will be necessary. Often, the insecticide application timing for ECB larvae will not match up with other planned trips in the fi eld (herbicide or fungicide). Therefore, a separate trip may be required. CRW beetles, however, can often be controlled by tank-mixing an insecticide with a fungicide when applied at the VT to R1 growth stage. Many other insects can be equally important to monitor, including armyworms and earworms. Insect traps such as the Spensa Tech Z-Trap are available for a fee to help monitor insect populations near your fields.
Author: Chad Kalaher
Categories: Agronomy, Agronomy Talk
Beck’s Hybrids team sales agronomist for 22 counties in NE ¼ of IL and 7 counties in NW IN. Raised on grain and livestock farm in southern IL. B.S. Agronomy 1995 – University of Illinois, M.S. Weed Science 1997 – North Carolina State University. Previous positions in seed industry as researc
Beck’s Hybrids team sales agronomist for 22 counties in NE ¼ of IL and 7 counties in NW IN. Raised on grain and livestock farm in southern IL. B.S. Agronomy 1995 – University of Illinois, M.S. Weed Science 1997 – North Carolina State University. Previous positions in seed industry as research agronomist, district, and regional sales manager.