ST. LOUIS – August 3, 2023 – While America has sharks on its mind, there’s another tiny ravenous predator causing damage of their own on our farms — the corn rootworm. These “sharks of the Midwest” attack underground and their sheer numbers make them difficult to control. These pests cause up to $2 billion dollars1 of damage annually to the nation’s corn crop. That’s taking money away from farmers and, ultimately, food from our plate. On the tail end of the week-long TV block dedicated to the iconic ocean species, Bayer will kick off “Rootworm Week” to raise awareness of the significant threat corn rootworm poses.
From August 7 – 11, Bayer will raise awareness of rootworm and show how its experts are working to create solutions designed to help farmers limit the damage caused by one of the most destructive species for U.S. corn farmers. Bayer will share this content on its Twitter and Facebook channels, as well as RootwormWeek.com.
“Corn Rootworm continues to be at the top of the list when it comes to creating economic damage for farmers,” said Erica Strittmatter, Corn Traits Launch and Marketing Lead at Bayer. “Paired with increasingly volatile and unpredictable weather conditions, these pint-sized pests create big problems for growers. It’s critical that we help raise awareness around rootworm and provide farmers the tools and information they need to help battle this vicious pest.”
When rootworm is present, it can cause up to 45% yield loss. Just like sharks adapt to fluctuating water temperatures, corn rootworm often adapts to pest management strategies, making it a challenge farmers must plan for each year.
For “Rootworm Week,” Bayer will release series of educational videos and stories that both educate and entertain viewers, similar to the globally televised shark series. Those who “tune” into “Rootworm Week” will learn what corn rootworm is, why it feasts on corn plants and its roots and what’s being done to keep rootworms in check.
“In any part of their lifecycle, from the larval worm stage to when they become adult beetles, rootworms attack corn. Last year’s mild winter followed by the dry and windy spring conditions have the Bayer team and many farmers monitoring corn fields closely to keep rootworm in check,” said Strittmatter.
Bayer’s Crop Science division has been working on solutions for growers to battle these destructive insects. One of the latest is SmartStax® PRO with RNAi Technology. The RNAi-based technologies are developed from a naturally occurring process in the targeted plant or pest to stop or decrease the production of a specific protein and can be used to target specific pests, like the corn rootworm.
For more information on Rootworm Week, visit RootwormWeek.com.