UNL Scientists Receive Grant Money to Research Rootworm Management


A million dollar grant will help University of Nebraska scientists research one of corn's most pernicious pests.

Three teams of UNL entomologists were awarded more than $1.1 million in three-year grants from Monsanto to research rootworm management for western Nebraska corn crops.

Rootworms can leave corn plants weak and reduce yields. The loss of roots can also cause plants to fall over during strong wind and rain, making harvest difficult.

According to the university's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, it's estimated that rootworms cost growers $1 billion a year in yield loss and control costs.

Monsanto established the Corn Rootworm Knowledge Research Program in 2012 to increase understanding of corn rootworm biology and to provide solutions for farmers.

The latest grants have been awarded as signs point to rootworms becoming resistant to some traits in genetically modified corn in Nebraska and elsewhere in the Corn Belt.

This is the second year UNL researchers have received this funding.

Scientists from UNL's Department of Agronomy and Horticulture as well as entomologists from Iowa State, University of Missouri, and Kansas State Universities will join teams led by researchers in UNL's Department of Entomology.