Effect of European Corn Borer on Corn Whole-Plant Yield and Forage Quality

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2005: $6,107.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2006
Grant Recipient: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ.
Region: Southern
State: Virginia
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Roger Youngman
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ.

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: corn


  • Crop Production: conservation tillage
  • Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns
  • Pest Management: biorational pesticides, cultural control, economic threshold, field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, transitioning to organic

    Proposal abstract:

    European corn borer (ECB), Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner), is a major pest of field corn in many areas of the U.S. The commercial availability of transgenic Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) hybrids that resist injury from ECB feeding has offered corn farmers an alternative to conventional insecticide applications. The additional cost, however, of planting Bt corn hybrids currently ranges from $17-25 more per hectare than that for conventional (i.e., non-Bt) hybrids. While the economic impact of ECB injury on yield loss in corn grown for grain is well understood, little information exists on the impact of this pest on corn grown for silage. Thus, one of the most important questions corn silage farmers face when deciding to plant a Bt hybrid is whether the benefit of planting the Bt hybrid justifies the added seed cost. This question is relevant to the heart of ECB pest management, profitability of corn silage production, and ultimately, to long-term farm sustainability. While it is recognized the scope of the proposed research will not answer all these questions, it will address the relationship of ECB injury on corn whole-plant yield quantity and forage quality. This core aspect of ECB pest management on corn whole-plant yield is currently lacking. The economic injury levels generated in this study will determine the pest potential of ECB on corn grown for silage and concommittant economic role for Bt hybrids in Virginia. Findings generated from this study should be immediately applicable to corn silage farmers throughout much of the Mid-Atlantic region.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Objective 1. Determine effects of European corn borer infestation on whole-plant yield and forage quality of corn grown for silage.

    Objective 2. Determine economic injury levels of European corn borer infestations at the 10-leaf, 16-leaf, and blister stages of corn grown for silage.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.