John Chartier


Education: Bachelor of Science in agronomy (December 2000)

McNair Project: Western Corn Rootworm Study (2000)

Mentor: Scott Staggenborg, Ph.D.

Western corn rootworm (WCR) is the number one pest to U.S. corn growers. In 1998, 14.4 million acres were treated with soil insecticides to control this pest, costing growers $195 million annually. It is estimated that WCW causes approximately $1 billion in damage to the U.S. corn crop each year. WCR can reduce corn yields by up to 55% in heavily infested non-treated corn. A field experiment was conducted at a site in Waterloo, NE, to evaluate the effectiveness of three seed-applied and two soil-applied insecticides to reduce WCR impact on corn roots and grain yield. The six WCR control treatments were: Force (tefluthrin) seed treatment, Force (tefluthrin) 3G T-Banded, Untreated Control, Aztec T-Banded, Gaucho seed treatment, and Other seed treatment. Seed delivered rootworm control would be beneficial to farmers and the environment. Insecticide exposure reduction and convenience are two reasons farmers like this technology. However, seed- delivered WCR control must be effective in order for farmers to adopt this practice. After initial plant emergence there was no data taken as no considerable damage from WCR occurred. It was believed that above research temperatures in the months prior to planting resulted in an early WCR larvae hatch, causing the insects to starve as a marginally late planting date allowed no corn crop to be available to serve as a food source.