Tight Market Standards For Sweet Corn Necessitate Insecticide Sprays

Bugs in corn

Worms in sweet corn

Consumer surveys show that the lack of insect damage is the most important factor when deciding which sweet corn to buy. Processors and stores require larval infestations to be < 5-10% of sweet corn ears. To meet those standards, sweet corn growers throughout the U.S. must use insecticides.

[1]
”Minnesota is the second largest producer of processing sweet corn, Zea mays L., in the United States with an annual production of >53,000 ha; the state also produces ≈4,000 ha for fresh market. The European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner), and corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea (Boddie), continue to be the most important insect pests of sweet corn in the upper Midwest. To minimize economic risks associated with insect damage in sweet corn, most growers rely on insecticides to manage these pests.

Most processors and fresh market growers require larval infestations and brown kernel incidence to be <5-10% of harvested ears.”

[2]
”Sweet corn is the most commonly grown vegetable crop in Pennsylvania. Most is grown for fresh-market. Stringent control is required to meet market standards and most acreage (~80%) is sprayed to control corn earworm, fall armyworm, and European corn borer.”

[1]
Authors: O’Rourke, P. K., and W. D. Hutchison.
Affiliation: Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota.
Title: Binomial sequential sampling plans for late instars of European corn borer (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), corn earworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), and damaged kernels in sweet corn ears.
Source: J. Econ. Entomol. 2004. 97[3]:1003-1008.

[2]
Author: Fleischer, S.
Affiliation: Department of Entomology, Penn State University.
Title: Regional patterns in corn borer and fall armyworm populations: implications for management.
Source: 58th New Jersey Agricultural Convention and Trade Show. 2013 Proceedings. February 5-7. Pgs. 118-119.

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