Planting corn, Zea mays L., in row spacings less than the conventional width of 76 cm has been shown to increase grain yields. This study was conducted to determine if row spacing and plant density affected corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte and D. barberi Smith & Lawrence, adult emergence, larval injury to the roots, and plant tolerance to injury. Field experiments were conducted at Ames and Nashua, IA, in 1998, 1999, and 2000. Treatments were row spacings of 38 and 76 cm, and plant populations of 64,500 and 79,600 plants per hectare. Adult emergence was 31% greater in 38 cm compared with 76-cm rows. However, root injury was not significantly different between row spacings or plant populations. Row spacing alone did not significantly influence tolerance to injury, measured as root size and the amount of root regrowth. However, at one environment where precipitation was low, plants in 38-cm rows produced 25% more regrowth compared with plants in 76-cm rows. Root dry weight and regrowth were suppressed by 16 and 32%, respectively, at the high plant population. Although lodging was 51% lower in the 38-cm rows compared with the 76-cm rows, grain yields were not significantly different between row spacings. Reducing the row spacing of field corn from 76–38 cm should not increase the potential for injury from corn rootworm larvae.
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Vol. 95 • No. 3