Creating an Effective Pest Management Program for Potatoes

Published online: Jun 03, 2019 Articles, Insecticide
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Source: Syngenta 

Pest control is a significant part of a grower’s job, and a thorough integrated pest management (IPM) program can help control key insects that attack potatoes.

A main concern for potato growers is the Colorado potato beetle, a chewing pest that feeds on potato plant leaves, causing serious yield and quality losses and slowly killing the plant. Another challenging pest to control is the potato psyllid, exclusive vector of the costly zebra chip disease. Even though the insects are tiny, the effect they have on the potato industry is large —Oregon State University Extension estimated that potato psyllids and zebra chip were responsible for millions of dollars in losses to the southwestern U.S. potato industry.

Potato growers looking for an IPM program should consider the following course of action:

  • Start with a neonic application in the beginning of the season. Starting with a seed treatment within the neonicotinoids chemical class is recommended, as this chemistry is the most effective fighting against pests. CruiserMaxx® Potato seed treatment combines 2 active ingredients to protect against harmful insects and ensure quality crop yields.
  • Use a different insecticide when the neonic application wears down. The Journal of Integrated Pest Management advises that if a second insecticide is needed, use one without neonicotinoids to handle mid-season pressures. Minecto® Pro insecticide combines 2 modes of action to give broad-spectrum control over pests that overlap or happen at the same time.

End your program with a strong non-neonic foliar application. Ensure you harvest a large potato crop yield by protecting against those late-season pests. Besiege® insecticide is targeted to defend against insects that show up in spurts, and has a strong knockdown effect, making it a good fit for the end of the season. Prevention is key when growing potatoes, and having a strategic insecticide program can be the strongest protection for your crops. Watch the Spud Doctor video below to hear Kiran Shetty, Ph.D., technical development lead for Syngenta, explain how to design a program that actively manages pests, ensuring high-quality and high-yield potato crops.