Bug Scout 1981
Less Tillage Changes Pest Problems
(Tom Turpin, Entomologist, Purdue University)
Of course I know what no-tillage is - I've watched Zeke work for years!
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March 7, 1981

Reduced tillage in corn production can influence pest problems.  Higher levels of residue can provide habitat for some insect pests.  For instance, cutworm moths prefer to lay eggs in crop debris on the soil surface.

Some pests which may show up under reduced tillage seldom cause problems under conventional systems.  Slugs and mice prefer fields with residue on the soil surface.

In addition, the crop residue makes control procedures for weeds and insects more difficult.  Rootworm control is most effective when applied as a 7-in. band in front of a presswheel.  However, in reduced or no-tillage the insecticide is frequently placed in the seed furrow.  This placement can reduce effectiveness and also kill corn plants if the insecticide is phytotoxic.

Remember, killing the corn plant while attempting insect control is like tossing the baby out with the bath water.

by Tom Turpin, Entomologist, Purdue University

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