Crop rotation for portions of east central Illinois and northern Indiana no longer adequately protects corn (Zea mays L.) roots from western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte. Seventeen growers in east central Illinois monitored western corn rootworm adults in soybean (Glycine max L.) fields with unbaited Pherocon AM traps during 1996 and 1997. In the following years (1997 and 1998), growers left untreated strips (no insecticide applied) when these fields were planted with corn. Damage to rotated corn by rootworms was more severe in untreated than in treated strips of rotated corn, ranging from minor root scarring to a full node of roots pruned. Densities of western corn rootworms in soybean fields from 1996 were significantly correlated with root injury to rotated corn the following season. Adult densities from 1997 were not significantly correlated with root injury in 1998, due to heavy precipitation throughout the spring of 1998 and extensive larval mortality. Twenty-eight additional growers volunteered in 1998 to monitor rootworm adults in soybean fields with Pherocon AM traps based on recommendations that resulted from our research efforts in 1996 and 1997. In 1999, these 28 fields were rotated to corn, and rootworm larval injury was measured in untreated strips. Based on 1996–1997 and 1998–1999 data, a regression analysis revealed that 27% of the variation in root injury to rotated corn could be explained by adult density in soybeans the previous season. We propose a sampling plan for soybean fields and a threshold for predicting western corn rootworm larval injury to rotated corn.
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Vol. 94 • No. 1