Research Trials

Friday, April 10, 2009

Remember I promised to tell you a little more about the the hubby does? Well, his official title is the Coordinator of the Insect Management and Insecticide Evaluation Program -- a little long and hard to get out of your mouth in casual conversation.

Part of his responsibilities is to work with chemical companies to put out unbiased trials of their products. Some of these trials compare products in head-to-head evaluations and others are testing new products in the field.

What are they evaluating you might ask? They are seeing how well an insecticide or transgenic hybrid works against insects they are supposed to protect the plant against. His research focuses on corn and soybeans along with some alfalfa and sweet corn trials.

The major insects he's tracking down all summer long? Western corn rootworms and soybean aphids. Throw in some Japanese beetles, corn earworm, fall armyworm, potato leafhopper, and a few others and its quite a busy time of year.

Right now they're getting ready for planting. First trials to go out -- the standard corn rootworm trials. These trials test products for control of the western corn rootworm. The western corn rootworm larvae hatch in late May and feed on the roots of corn. Thus, its important to get the corn in the ground and planted so they insects will have something to feed on.

The products being tested are supposed to protect the plant roots against the rootworm larvae from feeding on them. When there are a lot of larvae feeding on a plant root, with no protection, it could end up looking like the root on the right...

It's no wonder that if you have that kind of injury in a field, the corn plants would have trouble standing and that is money laying on the ground.


Farming Fabulously said...

How interesting...Great Post....

Wilmoth Farms Rachel & Her Farmer said...

Very cool post! I learn something every day from my blogging buddies!