A sophisticated online tool that forecasts corn insect migration has been enhanced for the 2011 growing season to increase farmer awareness about above-ground pests that can threaten their fields.

Knowing insect migration patterns can help farmers in the Corn Belt make strategic decisions about better timing their pesticide applications or choosing traited hybrids that can help protect against insect damage in the future.

Developed by climatologist and meteorologist Mike Sandstrom, the Insect Migration Risk Forecast (IMRF) monitors the daily migration of damaging pests, such as corn earworm, from May through September. It analyzes moth trapping data and weather patterns to issue one, two and three-to-five day forecasts.

The IMRF is being sponsored again this season by Monsanto Company and offered to farmers as a tool of its Genuity trait brand. For 2011, the program features two enhancements:

Last year's program focused on tracking the annual migration of corn earworms from the South to Midwestern corn fields. For 2011, the IMRF will also track black cutworm and western bean cutworm pressure in the Midwest.

Farmers can sign-up online at beginning April 29, to receive e-mail alerts when these insects pose a risk in their areas.

Corn earworms and western bean cutworms can cause significant yield damage by feeding on corn ears. Losing an average of just three kernels per ear can cause a famer to lose about one bushel per acre. Black cutworms, an early season pest, cut off plants just above the soil surface.

For more information, farmers can contact their seed representative or visit www.genuity.com.

Source: Monsanto Company