Borer Resistant Corn

Glen H. Stringfield, of Wooster, in the 1950s developed techniques for hybridizing corn that doubled the yield, and made corn resistant to the European corn borer. He did that work at the Ohio Agricultural Research Station.

European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis) in corn. Image source:  Image Number: 1234158 by Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, is licensed under CC BY 3.0 US

In the decade following the introduction of Stingfield's hybrids (1954), annual corn borer damage in Ohio diminished from $8.5 million to only $600,000. Stringfield's development of hybrid corn ranks as one of the most important achievements of the nation's agricultural experiment stations

About the Corn Borer

Healthy European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis. Image source:  United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Image Number K7834-3, by Keith Weller is licensed under Public Domain Mark 1.0

The European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner), attacks corn and many other crops including cotton, sorghum, and several vegetables. It gets its name from its method of attack - boring a hole through the husk of an ear.  Damage is significant once European corn borers have invaded a field.  It first appeared in U.S. fields in the early 1900s and has spread westward in the U.S. to the Rocky Mountains and has also invaded Canada.  Some believe the first borers arrived with broom corn that was imported from Hungary and Italy for broom manufacture.

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