Rootworm Feeding Tolerance in Single-Cross Maize Hybrids from Different Eras
- Walter E. Riedell and
- Paul D. Evenson
Insect-tolerant plants provide farmers with alternatives to insecticide use for limiting crop losses. This study was conducted to evaluate western corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte) larval feeding tolerance of single-cross maize (Zea mays L.) hybrids representing three successive 10-yr eras. A 2-yr study was conducted as a split-split plot with plant density (37, 50, or 74 thousand kernels ha−1) as main plot treatments, rootworm infestation level (0, 2200, or 6600 eggs m−1 of row) as subplot treatments, and plant genotype (11 genotypes from the 1980, 1970, and 1960 eras) as sub-subplot treatments. There was no significant interaction between genotype and infestation level for root damage ratings, suggesting that genotypes used in our study did not exhibit antibiosis to rootworm larvae. Vertical root pull resistance values for 1980- and 1970-era genotypes were significantly greater than those seen for 1960-era genotypes. At the low plant density, the lodging percentage of all genotypes gradually became greater in response to increased rootworm infestation level. At higher plant densities, however, the 1960-era genotypes suffered significantly more lodging than the 1970- and 1980-era genotypes in the presence of moderate rootworm damage. Our results suggest that large root system size and decreased plant lodging are the rootwormtolerance traits present in 1980 maize genotypes. Even with this level of tolerance in 1980-era hybrids, however, substantial grain yield loss occurred when plants sustained moderate to heavy rootworm larval damage when these genotypes were grown at low and moderate plant densities.
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