If you ask many corn farmers, aside from weather, pests are at the top of the list of factors that hurt their yields. Corn Earworm, Fall Armyworm, and Western Bean Cutworm can all impact yields due to destruction of corn kernels. Lucky for these corn farmers, scientists like the ones at Monsanto are working hard to develop traits and technology to combat these yield inhibitors.
This summer, Monsanto agronomists and farmers are taking a good look at our Genuity corn traits for corn and comparing how they stack up (pun intended) against insect pressure. A couple of weeks ago a Monsanto agronomist was comparing different corn varieties and technologies on one customer’s farm and discovered some great ear comparisons between Monsanto’s SmartStax and a competing corn technology. As you can see below, SmartStax had virtually no damage.
Did you know that three damaged kernels to one ear of corn means one bushel per acre of yield loss for a farmer? It is amazing how three little kernels can add up. According to the USDA, in 2009 86.5 million acres of corn were planted. If you do the math, that is the potential for a LOT of lost corn due to these pests. Take a close look at the photo in this post, there are a lot more than three damaged kernels on this ear. In fact, farmers are reporting high levels of corn earworm insect pressure this season.
Farmers, what is your favorite technology benefit you get from seed?