Readying For War

 Product  Company  Active Ingredient(s)
Belt SC Bayer CropScience flubendiamide
Endigo Syngenta Crop Protection lambda-cyhalothrin + thiamethoxam
Entrust (organic) Dow AgroSciences spinosad
Leverage Bayer CropScience imidacloprid + cyfluthrin
Tracer Naturalyte Dow AgroSciences spinosad
Warrior II with Zeon Technology Syngenta Crop Protection lambda-cyhalothrin

The 2008 growing season was supposed to be an “easier” one for our resident insect expert, Bugsy B. Gohn: It was an even-numbered year, a year when the soybean aphid eases into local outbreaks.

Not this time. The aphids broke their major/local outbreak pattern for the first time since they burst on the scene in 2000. Top that with some other insects having breakout years, and Bugsy was as busy as ever. Still, he kept up with the newer insecticide products entering the market.

Our fictional but competent in-house insecticide advisor also called some well-respected Extension experts to get the lowdown for you.

Dear Bugsy: What new insecticides and seed treatments can I look forward to in 2009?

You’ll have a couple of new choices for your soybean and corn growers to use. Keep in mind that just like with herbicides, we’re basically seeing existing active ingredients (a.i.s) in new combinations. You’re probably more familiar with these than you realize.

For example, Warrior II with Zeon Technology (lambda-cyhalothrin) from Syngenta Crop Protection is a more concentrated formulation of Warrior with Zeon Technology. The new version will replace the original in most corn, soybean, and cotton fields this year.

Syngenta’s Endigo combines lambda-cyhalothrin and thiamethoxam, which you know as Cruiser. Endigo has been approved for soybeans, protecting against key soybean foliar insect pests. While sales of this restricted use pesticide began in the South in 2008, Syngenta will roll Endigo out in a limited launch this season and a full launch in 2010.

Insecticide Label Changes
Alias 4F MANA Supplemental registration for control of soybean aphids in sobyeans
Hero FMC Corp. Added use in soybeans to control tough foliar pests
Orthene AMVAC Product line acquired from Valent U.S.A.
Phorate AMVAC Product line acquired from Aceto Agricultural Chemicals Corp.

There is a brand new corn product, Belt SC from Bayer CropScience, approved last August for Lepidopteran worm control. Its new a.i. (flubendiamide), new mode of action, and extended residual control can be a key part of your growers’ resistance management programs.

Dear Bugsy: I’m hearing more about two-spotted spider mites. Will any of the newer products help with this pest?

There are some areas where this pest is cropping up more and more, mainly in soybeans. Ron Hammond of Ohio State tells me that any area in the Midwest dealing with drought conditions will likely deal with this mite. And now that bifenthrin has been approved for soybeans (it already had been available for corn), Ron’s excited that you’ll have three pyrethroid products — Bifenture, Brigade, and Hero — for controlling this pest.

Dear Bugsy: What can we expect from the soybean aphid this year?

In general, the pattern has been widespread outbreaks in odd number years and more localized outbreaks in even number years. But in 2008, the cycle was broken by an extremely widespread outbreak. Those soybean aphids really came back with a vengeance.

Marlin Rice of Iowa State University says everyone was caught off-guard by the intensity of the outbreak. He and other entomologists have discussed the situation at length and have pieced together some logical reasons for the unexpected outbreak:

Soybean aphids reproduce better in cool weather, and many soybean-growing areas experienced a cool August. For some, most of the summer was cooler than normal.

Seed Treatments
Poncho 500 Bayer CropScience clothianidin
Enhance AW Chemtura captan + carboxin + imidacloprid

More and more growers are mixing “cocktails” of herbicides and insecticides to reduce passes in June across the field in the application rigs, even in the absence of economically damaging insects. This “cleans the field,” killing all the beneficial insects and creating a clean slate for the aphids when they do appear.

The potential of more growers spraying fungicides to improve crop vigor also kills some of the fungi that kills aphids.

Many soybean fields were planted late because of the wet spring, so the plants matured late.

So, says Rice, in August, the perfect storm of immature fields, cool weather, and reduced beneficials allowed the soybean aphid populations to explode.

Spraying insecticides and fungicides as a preventive practice before a known pest population has surfaced isn’t the only practice that concerns some Extension experts. While Kevin Steffey of the University of Illinois recommends spraying when aphid thresholds warrant it, he recognizes that corn hybrids and now more soybean seeds already have seed treatments on them prior to planting. Because seed treatments utilize the same chemical family, he and Hammond say, they could potentially lead to insect resistance concerns in the future.

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