Is fresh market sweet corn in reduced-till systems at greater risk to lepidoptera pests?
Reduced tillage has been adopted with much success on thousands of acres of sweet corn; however, questions have been raised about its impact on pest pressure. Growers suspect reduced tillage increases populations of Lepidoptera pests such as European corn borer (ECB) and Black cut worm (BCW). There is reason for concern as reduced tillage growers are not completely turning under crop residue by deep disking or mold board plowing fields, which may lead to Lepidoptera pests successfully overwintering in those fields. If reduced tillage systems are adversely influencing pest populations, growers may be required to make additional compulsory insecticide applications to maintain economically viable yield. This would reduce the savings and environmental benefits usually gained from reduced tillage systems. This project investigates and compares four Lepidoptera populations among three geographically diverse farms employing various reduced and conventional tillage techniques to determine the influence of tillage on the pest complex. The results will help farmers ‘optimize’ pest and soil management decisions.
- Investigate and compare four Lepidoptera populations, ECB E & Z, BCW and Corn ear worm (CEW), among three geographically diverse farms employing various reduced and conventional tillage techniques
Determine if ECB, CEW and cutworms overwinter in the field
Determine the influence of tillage on the pest complex
- April 11- May 14, 2012- Netted cages and pheromone traps were erected on conventionally and reduced tilled fields at: Gill Farms, Hurley; Ferrante/Walkill View Farms, New Paltz; and Altobelli Farms, Kinderhook.
April 18- August 9, 2012- Traps were monitored weekly, data collected.
July, 2012 -Twilight meetings held in Ulster County and Capital District
January 24, 2013 – Project/ Results will be presented by Teresa Rusinek at the Sweet Corn session at the NYS Fruit and Veg EXPO
February 2013- Article will be published in Eastern New York Horticulture Newsletter
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Data from all three sites suggests that ECB E, ECB Z, CEW, & BCW, do not overwinter in the field in significant numbers, i.e. lepidoptera moths were not recovered from within the netted cages at any sites. Moths were trapped just outside the netted cages as well as field edges at all sites.
In this study, we observed and recorded traps counts on three farms employing conventional and reduced tillage. Observations suggest that reduced tillage is not encouraging in- field overwintering populations of ECB E & Z, CEW or BCW.
Further investigation is warranted at the Gill Site in Hurley were large and damaging populations of ECB Z were found early in the season. The highest trap counts at this farm are found in weedy field edges of early plantings.
PO Box 225
Hurley, NY 12443
Office Phone: 8453311187
1202 Old Post Road
Kinderhook, NY 12106
Office Phone: 5187581806
Cornell Cooperative Extension Of Ulster County
61 State St.
Troy, NY 12180
Office Phone: 5182724210
Walkill View Farm
15 State Route 299 W, NY
New Paltz,, NY 12561
Office Phone: 8452558050