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Potential Management of the European Corn Borer/Anthracnose Stalk Rot Pest Complex with Transgenic (Insect Resistant) Corn Hybrids for Silage Production 1997

Project Leader: Gary C. Bergstrom, Elson J. Shields, J. Keith Waldron

Objective:

Demonstrate the effects of transgenic (i.e., Bt endotoxin) corn hybrids on the development of European corn borer and associated anthracnose stalk rot, as well as on the yield and quality of silage in the presence of this pest complex.

Results:

Early evaluations detected no significant differences among hybrids in plant populations and leaf feeding from natural populations of cutworm. Significant differences among hybrids were detected for percentage of plants with European corn borer foliar damage, percentage of plants with European corn borer stalk damage, and silage yields. On all sampling dates detectable European corn borer feeding injury was near zero for all Bt hybrids. Bt hybrids also had numerically fewer plants infected with anthracnose stalk rot, although this was not statistically significant. Silage yields of Bt hybrids were numerically higher than those of their non-Bt counterparts. The larger question that now needs to be addressed is whether and where there is sufficient pressure from European corn borer populations in New York to justify economically the added seed cost of transgenic Bt hybrids.