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Trials for the Evaluation of IPM Procedures to Control Insects on Early Season Sweet Corn 2003

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Project Leader: John Mishanec, Area Vegetable IPM Educator, CCE

Cooperators: Albert Sheldon, Sheldon Farms, Salem, NY and Tim Stanton, Feura Farms Feura Bush, NY

Type of grant: Pheromones; biorationals; microbials; conventional pesticides

Project locations: Washington and Albany Counties, applicable throughout the Northeast.


A common technique in cold climates to speed maturity in sweet corn is to start the corn under plastic or floating row cover. Once the corn is from one to two feet tall, the plastic or row cover is removed. Because it is so much farther advanced than sweet corn planted on bare ground the crop attracts early season european corn borer (ECB). Scouting for insect damage is difficult or impossible because the larvae are deep in the plant. Working with two large-scale growers of row cover sweet corn, a successful technique for insect control was identified. Pheromone traps next to the fields are used to monitor early season flight patterns. At flight peaks, the grower waits 3 to 4 days, than applies an insecticide spray. After another 3-4 days, a second insecticide application, if needed, is made. No further applications are necessary. After three years of informal observation, a formal trial was set up in 2002. With 2003 data collection, our confidence in the process is strengthened. Growers have developed the growers conducting the trial have confidence in using this technique and have achieved both high quality early sweet corn and minimal pesticide applications

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