Impact of Lepidoptera (Crambidae, Noctuidae, and Pyralidae) Pests on Corn Containing Pyramided Bt Traits and a Blended Refuge in the Southern United States
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Blended refuge for transgenic plants expressing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxins has been approved in the northern United States as a resistance management strategy alternative to a structured refuge. A three-year study (2012-2014) was conducted with 54 trials across nine states in the southern United States to evaluate plant injury from lepidopteran pests of corn and yield in a corn hybrid expressing Cry1F × Cry1Ab × Vip3Aa20 (Pioneer Brand Optimum Leptra) planted as a pure stand and in refuge blends of 5, 10, and 20% in both early and late plantings. Injury by corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea Boddie (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), and fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), was generally proportional to the percentage of non-Bt corn within each refuge blend. Across locations, ear injury in plots with 100% Cry1F × Cry1Ab × Vip3Aa20 (Optimum Leptra) corn ranged from no injury to a maximum of 0.42 cm(2) per ear in Mississippi in 2013. Leaf injury ratings in 100% non-Bt plots in early and late planted trials in 2014 were 86- and 70-fold greater than in 100% Cry1F × Cry1Ab × Vip3Aa20 (Optimum Leptra) plots. Plants in plots with blended refuges had significantly greater leaf injury in 2012 (5, 10, and 20% refuge blends), in the early-planted corn in 2013 (10 and 20% only), and in both early- and late-planted corn in 2014 (20% only) as compared with leaf injury in a pure stand of Cry1F × Cry1Ab × Vip3Aa20 (Optimum Leptra) seen during these years. Corn ears in plots with blended refuges also had significantly greater area of kernels injured in 2012 (5, 10, and 20%), in early- and late-planted corn in 2013 (5, 10, and 20%), and in early (10 and 20% only)- and late-planted corn (5, 10, and 20%) in 2014 as compared with ear injury in a pure stand of Cry1F × Cry1Ab × Vip3Aa20 (Optimum Leptra) seen during these years. Infestations of southwestern corn borer, Diatraea grandiosella Dyar (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), were also significantly reduced by Cry1F × Cry1Ab × Vip3Aa20 (Optimum Leptra). Despite these differences in injury, yield averaged across locations varied among refuge blends only in the late-planted trials in 2013, with greater yields in the 0% refuge blend than in the 20% blend; however, when examining yield separately by location, only two of nine locations had higher yields in the 100% Bt plots than in any of the blended refuge plots. As a complement to studying the contribution of blended refuge to delaying resistance, quantifying injury and yield in a range of refuge blends is a necessary step to provide management information on the range of lepidopteran pests that occur in the southern United States.
author list (cited authors)
Reay-Jones, F., Bessin, R. T., Brewer, M. J., Buntin, D. G., Catchot, A. L., Cook, D. R., ... Rice, M. E.