Will planting Bt corn pay off in recommended time plantings in Georgia? In certain situations, says University of Georgia entomologist David Buntin.

“Most corn in Georgia is planted at the recommended planting time of March through mid-May depending on the region for the state,” says Buntin.

“In most years, this corn avoids serious insect damage. However, the main target pest in recommended plantings throughout the state is corn earworm, which often exceeds 50-percent infested ears.”

Fall armyworm damage to whorls usually is avoided in early plantings, but it can be significant in outbreak years, he adds.

“In most years, the risk of damage by fall armyworm in recommended plantings is greatest in the southernmost tier of counties and in the southwest corner of Georgia. Growers must weigh the added cost of the Bt trait(s) being considered against the historical risk of serious whorl defoliation or ear damage by insects in on-time plantings.”

There are three situations, says Buntin, where planting hybrids containing Bt traits provides a clear benefit:

Situation 1.Corn statewide that will be planted after the recommended planting date. The risk of damage by fall armyworms, corn earworms and stalk borers increases the later you plant.