5 Questions With…

It seems that every year, a new pest emerges as a serious threat to one — or sometimes many — fruit crops in the U.S. In 2009, the spotted wing drosophila struck berries and cherries out west, and in 2010, the brown marmorated stink bug wreaked havoc on crops throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. This year, growers from coast to coast are bracing for infestations, and crop protection companies are working diligently to help growers keep pests at bay. We talked with Tim Damico, executive vice president NAFTA for Certis USA, Hub Miller, portfolio marketing leader for Dow AgroSciences, and John Koenig, insecticide brand manager for Syngenta, about the challenges growers face when it comes to insect control, and what’s on the crop protection horizon:

Q: What is the biggest battle growers have with insect control?

DAMICO: I think one of the biggest challenges they have today is resistance management. It seems like some of the newer compounds, and actually some of the older compounds, seem to be prone to resistance — they develop that much sooner than we’ve seen in the past. The pace has quickened.

In addition, preserving beneficial and predatory species, especially within an orchard or grove, is becoming more and more important and a vital part of the IPM program.

The other part would be that if they are exporting their crop to Japan, Europe, and other places where residues (MRLs) are a concern. That’s been an increasing concern, especially over the last two or three years.

MILLER: Recently introduced insect pests have become very problematic for both fruit and vegetable producers. The spotted wing drosophila (SWD) is the source of headaches for many producers of cherries, blueberries, and raspberries. It is a new pest and management programs have yet to be fully developed. The bagrada bug has been a significant challenge in cole crops, leading to damaged plants and increased prices.

KOENIG: In general, the biggest challenge facing growers is selecting the right tool to do the job in a cost-effective manner while meeting federal and local regulations. Increasingly, growers must also consider regulations of the countries to which they might export, specifically considering MRLs. In addition, a few pests continue to be particularly problematic, due to their ability to either: 1) cause serious damage, 2) transmit plant pathogens, or 3) develop insecticide resistance.

Q: What are you doing to address some of the newer insect pressures, such as brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) and spotted wing drosophila?

DAMICO: We’re looking at a microfungicide we refer to as PFR 97 (Paecilomyces fumosoroseus). This is a fungus that controls several stages of the insect, and we’re looking at this particular microfungicide for the control of stink bugs. Since stink bugs have a tendency to aggregate together, we think a biological control product, such as PFR 97, may be a part of the control program. We don’t necessarily see it being a stand alone effort, but it may be part of an integrated program.

MILLER: Dow AgroSciences has been heavily evaluating its current products, and Delegate insecticide (spinetoram) is one of our best hopes for the control of SWD. GF-120 NF Naturalyte fruit fly bait (spinosad) is being evaluated, as well. It has shown great potential as a product that can augment Delegate for the control of SWD. Entrust insecticide (spinosad) provides an effective option for organic producers.

KOENIG: Syngenta recently obtained registration of Endigo ZC insecticide (lambda-cyhalothrin; thiamethoxam) on pome fruit, stone fruit, and vegetables, and it is expected to be very effective against the BMSB. Warrior II with Zeon Technology insecticide (lambda-cyhalothrin) is effective against SWD, and in fact, Syngenta has just issued a 2(ee) recommendation for its control in California sweet and tart cherries.

Q: What do growers need to do to minimize resistance issues?

DAMICO: Working a biological product into your rotation has a tendency to prolong the life of your traditional chemistries. That’s because the biological products offer different and often multiple modes of action.

MILLER: Rotating products with different chemical classes is vital to minimizing resistance. A second, but less effective strategy, is tank-mixing products from different classes. Growers should always consult the resistance management guidelines found on product labels. Extension specialists and university researchers are valuable resources who also can help curtail resistance issues.

KOENIG: Growers need to follow the resistance-management guidelines that are found on insecticide labels. Most importantly, this means not relying repeatedly on one class of chemistry but instead routinely rotating to other modes of action.

Q: What role does sustainability play in crop protection?

DAMICO: I believe that a grower is looking for solutions that are going to meet multiple needs for an extended period of time. They need to offer them a resistance management strategy. They need to offer them export and harvest flexibility, and most importantly, they need to offer cost-effective control. I am not necessarily saying the solution has to be renewable (if so, all the better), but the solution needs to provide multiple and repeatable benefits.

MILLER: A multitude of conversations with producers have taught us that growers require products that are effective in both the short- and long-term, for today’s generations and tomorrow’s. Growers put their trust in us to give them the tools necessary to thrive. Sustained success on farms across the country will slowly fade over time without these tools. We need to reward their trust with products that will allow them to flourish now and in the future.

Q: Where do you see the crop protection industry headed in the future?

DAMICO: I really see a merging of the two strategies — your traditional chemistries being used in conjunction with your biological biochemical offerings.

MILLER: Products will be softer and will likely have a narrower focus compared to the broad-spectrum compounds of the past. Transgenic crops and biotech solutions will continue to progress, but the crop protection industry will play a crucial role for many years to come.

KOENIG: I think that the crop protection industry will continue to be technology driven. For instance, I believe that GMO traits will eventually be introduced in specialty crops, especially vegetables. In addition to input traits, there will be an interest in developing output traits, things like better flavor or increased nutritional value.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories

All Vegetables Stories >All Fruits Stories >All Nuts Stories >All Citrus Stories >

The Latest

LaborWestern Growers President Speaks Out About Passage Of C…
September 29, 2014
California Governor Jerry Brown recently vetoed a Senate Bill 25 and approved Assembly Bill 1897. Read More
BerriesDrought Could Impact Spring California Strawberry Crop
September 29, 2014
Ventura County expects reduction of acres planted as surface water availability takes a hit. Read More
Apples & PearsUnusual Weather Slows Michigan Apple Maturity
September 29, 2014
Fruit may have lower Brix levels, soluble solids lower than normal. Read More
BerriesFlorida Blueberry Growers Ready To Rise To The Occasion…
September 29, 2014
Florida Blueberry Growers Association president Dudley Calfee provides state of the industry insight. Read More
CitrusFlorida Announces Its 2014 Woman Of The Year In Agricul…
September 29, 2014
Longtime award recognizes women who have made outstanding contributions to the state’s farming sector. Read More
FruitsNational Security May Depend On A Healthy Diet [Opinion…
September 29, 2014
Your bottom line as well as the future of our country will depend on promoting healthy eating to the next generation. Read More
CitrusFlorida Produce Industry Embracing Progress, Confrontin…
September 29, 2014
Production pressures and politics hot topics at FFVA’s 71st Annual Convention. Read More
BerriesDon’t Let Your Guard Slip When Taking On Thrips
September 27, 2014
Tiny insect pests can present big problems for blueberry growers. Read More
CitrusFlorida Farmers Finding Ways To Cultivate An Environmen…
September 26, 2014
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam salutes producers putting their best management practices forward. Read More
CitrusGrowers Should Partner Wisely To Stay Afloat Amid WOTUS…
September 26, 2014
According to Florida Grower editor Frank Giles, the Clean Water Act is muddying waters for farmers. Read More
GrapesCalifornia Winegrape Industry Leaders Adapt To Drought
September 26, 2014
State’s players stand in good stead despite numerous challenges, surveys show. Read More
GrapesGet Ready For Unified Symposium
September 26, 2014
Registration and housing slated for industry’s biggest event to open Oct. 28, and the hotel rooms go fast. Read More
BerriesIs The Diaprepes Root Weevil An Emerging Blueberry Pes…
September 26, 2014
Reports indicate longtime citrus nuisance might be tempted by the fruit of another. Read More
PotatoesIdaho Potato Commission Appoints New Commissioners
September 26, 2014
Hardy and Blanksma to serve three-year terms; Christensen reappointed. Read More
PotatoesNorthwest Potato Crop Value Up 2% From 2012
September 26, 2014
The Idaho, Washington, and Oregon combined potato crop is valued at $1.98 billion for 2013. Read More
Farm ManagementUSDA Takes Steps To Help Farmers Manage Risk
September 25, 2014
New programs offers farmers protection against price drops and additional unforeseen risks. Read More
Insect ControlTake The Battle To Bagrada Bugs
September 25, 2014
Crops Affected The bagrada bug (Bagrada hilaris) is a type of stinkbug that can cause substantial damage to cruciferous crops Read More
BerriesBeat Blueberry Gall Midge
September 25, 2014
Due diligence required in the identification, tracking, and control of this flying fiend. Read More