ARS Scientist Questions Need to Keep Planting Bt CornTue, 24 Jan 2012 21:20:07 CST
Dr. Jonathan Lundgren is the lead entomologist at the USDA-ARS lab in Brookings, South Dakota. Dr. Lundgren is one of the spekaers at the 2012 Winter Conference of No Till on the Plains- and he told farmers who gathered in Salina, Kansas on Tuesday that several of the insecticides that are being used by the vast majority of soybean and corn producers in the US may be unneeded on many farms, costing farmers millions of dollars annually.
Lundgren pointed to the success of Bt Corn that was made available in the mid 1990s- telling us after his presentation that "Bt crops have worked extremely well" and adding "they have been adopted extremely well" by US farmers. As a result, the suppression of the European corn borer has the insect problem reduced to almost nothing. Lundgren says that raises the question, why should producers continue to pay high technology fees for each bag of corn they plant, if the pest that would be controlled by the technology is no longer a problem. Lundgren suggests that farmers may want to try some non Bt corn and see how it responds on your farm.
Likewise, Lundgren questioned the need for insecticide treatment on soybean seed to control soybean aphids. According to the USDA scientist, the protection provided by the seed treatment breaks down quickly after germination of the seed- and by the time that the aphids could potentially be a problem- there is no protection left from the seed treatment. Lundgren contends that producers would be better served to save the ten to fifteen dollars per acre of cost for the seed treatment- then watch their soybeans mid summer when aphids could be a threat and respond with a spray treatment as needed. Lundgren says the savings for soybean producers could be substantial.
As mentioned above, we talked with Jonathan Lundgren about whether or not farmers are getting any bang for their buck in these situations. Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear our visit with Lundgren at the Winter Conference of the 2012 No Till on the Plains.
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