Monsanto increases funding for combating corn pest

03 September 2013 22:57  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US agricultural chemical and seed producer Monsanto on Tuesday announced a pledge of $3m (€2.3m) to the Corn Rootworm Knowledge Research Program to help find ways of combating the organism.

Started in 2013 and scheduled to run until 2016, the program awards grants to research projects on such topics as rootworm management, developing predictive models and the characterization of resistance.

Every year, corn rootworms cause nearly $1bn in damage in the US from yield loss and chemical treatments.

Most of the damage in corn is caused by larval feeding. Newly hatched rootworms locate corn roots in the soil and initially begin feeding on the fine root hairs and burrow into root tips of the corn plant. When rootworm populations grow large enough, their feeding causes the deterioration of injured roots and hinders the roots’ ability to transport water and nutrients into the plant, which thereby reduces growth and subsequent production of harvestable grains.

When the damage is severe, it can cause lodging of corn plants, making harvest more difficult. Adult rootworms can result in pruning of silks at the ear tip – commonly called silk clipping – which when present in large numbers will interfere with the crucial stage of pollination.

 “The extension of this program will further increase research efforts by our best public sector researchers on this challenging and damaging pest,” said Steve Pueppke, Michigan State University’s vice president for research and graduate studies. “This research will ensure better management practices that will be effective and sustainable for the benefit of corn producers.”

“By working collaboratively to increase our collect understanding of corn rootworm biology and pest management we can combat this challenging pest while providing economical, practical and sustainable solutions for farmers,” said Dusty Post, Monsanto’s global insect management lead.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Mark Milam
+1 713 525 2653

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