Published online: Dec 19, 2011
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HERMISTON, Ore.-An independent researcher in a presentation in Hermiston, Ore., Nov. 30 challenged potato growers to stop relying on neonicotinoid and pyrethroid insecticides.

Almost all potato acres in the Columbia Basin are treated with neonicotinoids, said Alan Schreiber of Agricultural Development Group of Eltopia, Wash. And most also are treated with pyrethroids.
Evidence shows that overuse will uproot their efficacy, he said.

Neonicotinoid pesticides include products containing imidacloprid and thiamethoxam. Pyrethroids are found in a wide range of products, including Capture, Ambush and Permethrin.

In six years of over-reliance on neonicotinoids in the Midwest, "they blew through that chemistry," Schreiber said.

"If resistance happens, you can't go back," he said.

Schreiber challenged growers to limit use of neonicotinoids to one at-plant application. And he cautioned growers against using pyrethroids between June 15 and two weeks before harvest.

Use of the chemistry between those dates can flare up aphid, psyllid and mite populations, he said.
Schreiber also called on growers to limit use of neonicotinoids to no more than 80 percent of their potato acres.

Schreiber said several products are available that provide good control of aphids, thrips, mites, tuberworms, leaf hoppers and other pests that can play havoc on Northwest potato acres.

"There are a lot of products out there that have a fit in our industry that we are not using," Schreiber said.

Products in the pipeline also show promise, Schreiber said.

Among others, Schreiber identified sulfoxaflor, a Dow chemistry with a new mode of action, and Movento, a Bayer insecticide with broad-spectrum control.

"(Movento) is going to be expensive," Schreiber said. "But if you have the right combination of pests, it's going to be a bargain."

Both products could be available for potatoes next year, Schreiber said.

SOURCE: Mitch Lies,
Capital Press