Interaction among planting dates, transgenic maize, seed treatment, corn rootworm damage and grain yield


Motshwari Obopile (corresponding author), Department of Crop Science and Production, Botswana College of Agriculture, Private Bag 0027, Gaborone, Botswana. E-mails:,


A study was conducted from 2006 to 2008 at South Charleston and Wooster, Ohio, USA, to evaluate the potential use of planting dates in combination with Bacillus thuringiensis transgenic maize and insecticidal seed treatments to manage the root feeding of western corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera, Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Three planting dates (early, middle and late), targeting late April/early, mid-May and early June, respectively, were used. We planted six hybrid treatments consisting of two seed-treated hybrids with seed treatment, two transgenic hybrids and two untreated hybrids, each set represented by one short and one full season maturity hybrid. When root injury was high, significant lodging and stunted growth were observed on untreated maize and declined when planting was delayed. Root injury by rootworm larval feeding was significantly reduced by later planting maize, that is, early June. The use of transgenic maize and seed treatment also significantly reduced root injury by rootworm larvae. The influence of planting date on grain yield was inconsistent from year to year. Grain yields from short season hybrids were comparable to full season hybrids especially on later plantings. These results showed that the use of a seed treatment and transgenic maize might be beneficial only when rootworm population is high and planting is early.