Tuesday, December 12, 2006

European corn borer infestation of corn with herbaceous field borders

William Terrell Stamps, stampst@missouri.edu, University of Missouri, Division of Plant Sciences, 1-31 Agriculture Bldg, Columbia, MO, Thomas V. Dailey, Tom.Dailey@mdc.mo.gov, Missouri Department of Conservation, 1110 South College Avenue, Columbia, MO, Ned M. Gruenhagen, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1243 N Street, Fresno, CA, and Marc J. Linit, linitm@missouri.edu, University of Missouri, Reasearch and Extension, 2-44 Agriculture Bldg, Columbia, MO.

The promotion of federal conservation reserve programs such as CP33, Habitat Buffers for Upland Birds, has led to increased interest in field borders. However, farmers have been slow to adopt these programs, partly out of concern about the impact of such borders on crop yields and pest management. Field borders are potential reservoirs for the pest. We conducted three years (2000-2002) of field studies in mid-Missouri, USA, to assess the impact of various compositions of herbaceous field borders on populations of the European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis Hübner, in adjacent corn fields. Border treatments of (1) a mixture of warm-season grasses and legumes, (2) a mixture of cool-season grasses and legumes, (3) tall fescue alone, and (4) a corn border control were planted around plots of field corn. Percent stalks infested with European corn borer and number and length of larval tunnels in stalks were analyzed. Warm-season vegetation-bordered corn had consistently lower percent stalks infested than corn bordered by cool-season vegetation, tall fescue or a corn control. Otherwise, there were few significant differences in the percent stalks infested by European corn borer among cornfields with different border compositions. We conclude that the adoption of field border programs such as CP33 will have little or no impact on European corn borer management. Further, borders composed of a warm-season vegetation mixture or tall fescue have the potential to enhance management of European corn borer by reducing overall stalk infestation over that of corn gown without conservation borders.

Species 1: Lepidoptera Pyralidae Ostrinia nubilalis (European corn borer)