New York State IPM Program

Teaching Growers About IPM for Sweet Corn

Many growers practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM), but a refresher is always welcome. And of course, there are others that need a little convincing to try IPM.

This year we’re providing on-farm IPM demonstrations at three sweet corn farms throughout NY. Growers have agreed to set portions of their fields aside and let IPM practices decide when and how to best manage pests. If IPM goals are realized, fewer sprays should be needed for the same or even better quality corn.

Here’s how it works. First, we set up pheromone traps at each site. These traps are monitored weekly to detect sweet corn pests. When the sweet corn reaches a certain stage, scouting begins. This is when you look at the corn plants for any signs of eggs, worms or damage. This is done systematically so that the entire field is covered but without having to search each individual plant. After scouting the field, we tell the grower what we’ve found and recommend whether a spray is necessary or not.

To determine if IPM practices were an improvement to the growers’ standard practices, corn from the IPM managed field will be compared to corn from the grower managed field at harvest. Ideally the level of worms will be the same but the number of spray application will have decreased or the timing of the sprays will have improved making them more effective.

For more information on scouting see: How to Scout Fresh Market Sweet Corn

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