Eastern Iowa farmer Lance Lillibridge has been dealing with a challenging harvest season. His family is battling areas of flattened corn due to corn rootworm pressure.
Lillibridge, who serves as president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association, farms in the Vinton area in Benton County. The Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network visited Lillibridge’s farm Thursday morning to learn more about the impact corn rootworm can have on crop fields.
“Most corn you can go up, grab ahold of it and you can’t get it out of the ground,” said Lillibridge. “That’s why the agronomists will carry a shovel with them. I shouldn’t be able to pull this out of the ground. That is disappointing. The interesting thing is we still put an ear on. It’s a small ear and pulled back, but in this particular farm there are some spots that have much larger ears. You can also notice that some of the plants still have a green leaf. Some disease has set in. We have just a little bit of tar spot on this as well.”
Lillibridge says corn rootworm prevention planning has already started for the 2022 growing season.
“Next year, we will most definitely be using an insecticide,” said Lillibridge. “This is a non-traited corn, by the way. It’s not a rootworm corn. We will be using a traited corn, we’ll use insecticide, and we will monitor for beetles later in the growing season. If we see a beetle hatch, we will come in and spray for those as well. This is going to be – in my opinion – about a two-year process to get things back under control.”
Lillibridge offers advice to growers on how to control potential corn rootworm pressure.
“This is why we really need to pay attention to what we are doing with our traits and help protect those traits and use different modes of action to control these pests,” said Lillibridge. “For 15 years, we had zero rootworm pressure. This one year, this is what happened. We were probably a little complacent in thinking we had things under control, and then all of a sudden BAM, we got this. We are learning from this in – unfortunately – an expensive way.”
A full video feature with Lillibridge can be viewed below.