Online tool helps forecast insect pressure

Above and below ground insects are continual challenges for farms across the Corn Belt. The Insect Forecast Tool is a website that forecasts the daily migration of crop damaging insects up to five days in advance May through September. The tool can help farmers understand their current pest pressures and make more accurate predictions for the following year.

By logging onto, you can learn when corn rootworm larvae are hatching, and track the migration and moth flights of two damaging above-ground insects, corn earworm and western bean cutworm, throughout the growing season.  The Insect Forecast tool analyzes this trapping data and weather patterns to issue one, two and three-to-five day forecasts for corn earworm and western bean cutworm. Farmers in the Corn Belt can also sign up to receive email alerts from May through September to learn when these insects pose a rick in their area. In 2012, more than 5,000 farmers visited the Insect Forecast site to identify when damage may occur to their corn crop and to make vital decisions for the following year.

Five day forecasts can predict insect hatching, migration and damage.
Five day forecasts can predict insect hatching, migration and damage.

Monsanto Corn Insect Traits Manager Luke Samuel says the tool is both simple and effective, “Scouting and understanding pest pressure is critical to maximizing yield potential. Using the Insect Forecast tool is a convenient way for farmers to understand the insect pressure in their areas and help know when to scout their fields.” Samuel adds that scouting this year, can help maximize yield potential in next year’s crop, “Each field experiences different insect pressure, and to get more corn per acre, farmers need to have a solid understand of the level of pressure and type of pests they are dealing with in order to choose the best corn traits to address those challenges.”

Climatologist and meteorologist Mike Sandstrom developed the Insect Forecast Tool. The corn rootworm hatch is updated weekly and is based on soil temperature and growing degree-days across the Corn Belt. The Insect Forecast tool is being sponsored for the fourth year by Monsanto and offered to farmers by its Genuity® brand.

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