Promote IPM In Potato Production

Colorado potato beetle pressure is often determined by location and can vary widely.  Photo credit: Tom Kuhar, Virginia Tech
Colorado potato beetle pressure is often determined by location and can vary widely.
Photo credit: Tom Kuhar, Virginia Tech

Colorado potato beetle, potato leafhopper, and wireworms remain some of the most important insect pests of potatoes. In 1996, the first neonicotinoid insecticide, imidacloprid (Admire, Bayer CropScience) was registered for use on potatoes in the U.S., and a few years later, other neonicotinoids, including thiamethoxam, acetamiprid, dinotefuran, and clothianidin would
be registered.

Since that period, neonicotinoids have been the most commonly-used insecticides on potatoes for control of Colorado potato beetle (CPB) as well as other pests such as potato leafhoppers, aphids, and flea beetles. Although they are effective as contact foliar insecticides, it is the ability of these chemicals to translocate from the soil into leaves as systemic insecticides that has been one of the primary reasons for their popularity.

Most potato growers apply these chemicals at planting (Admire Pro, Bayer CropScience; Platinum, Syngenta Crop Protection; Belay and Venom, Valent U.S.A.; Scorpion, Gowan Co.; or Brigadier, FMC Corp.) or as a pre-planting treatment to seed pieces (such as Cruiser, Syngenta Crop Protection; Gaucho, Bayer CropScience; or Admire Pro). Both application methods have been shown to provide long-term (more than 60 days) systemic protection to the potato plant against CPB and potato leafhopper. Most neonicotinoids also provide significant suppression of wireworms that attack the potato seed pieces.

Overcome Resistance
These products have worked well, but insecticide resistance to neonicotinoids has appeared in numerous populations of CPB from the Northeast and Midwest. Managing neonicotinoid resistance in CPB through IPM practices and rotation of insecticide active ingredients is key to sustaining the long-term efficacy of these compounds for potato producers.

Fortunately there are a wide range of registered insecticides today that provide excellent control of CPB and other pests, including Radiant and Blackhawk from Dow AgroSciences; Coragen from DuPont Crop Sciences, and the newly labeled Verimark for soil applications and Exirel for foliar applications both also from DuPont; Voliam Xpress and Agri-Mek from Syngenta Crop Protection; and Rimon from Chemtura Corp.

Many of the alternative chemicals are more IPM-friendly control options that are safer to use around beneficials than the more traditional broad-spectrum organophosphates, carbamates, or pyrethroids.

Embracing IPM
In the true sense of IPM, however, potato growers would not use a preventive control, such as a treatment on seed pieces at planting or spray application. Instead, they would wait until confirming the pest’s presence in the field.

Even though many growers do not want to wait until they see CPB in their fields, there are growers in Virginia who are beginning to adopt IPM tactics and are scouting first and applying a control measure once they see signs of the pest.

What some growers fail to fully understand, though, is that potato plants can withstand some level of defoliation and applying an insecticide immediately may not be necessary. This fact often is a hard sell as most growers simply do not want any sign of CPB in their fields.

Insect Pressure Challenges
CPB pressure is often determined by location and can vary widely. For example, growers in New England and the Pacific Northwest have some CPB pressure but not like the pressure levels in the Mid-Atlantic and Southern states, especially when the temperature begins to rise.

As a result the New England and Pacific Northwest growers may have better success employing IPM tactics. For example, one IPM practice is to only treat potato field perimeters with a crop protectant. The expected outcome is that the beetles will be killed as they walk along field edges, unable to harm the potato plants inside the perimeter.

What isn’t taken into consideration, however, is that as the temperature climbs to 80°F and above, in Southern states rising temperature is conducive for the beetles to take flight. The bottom line: They aren’t walking through the perimeter of the field to get to the potato plants. They are flying in, making the perimeter sprays moot.

In the end, growers need to determine what will work best for them based on their location in the country. They must consider neonicotinoids as one tool in the tool box, and opt to rotate with other chemistries to avoid resistance issues.

Editor’s Note: The information for this article was contributed by Tom Kuhar ([email protected]), a professor in the Department of Entomology at Virgina Tech and is based on a presentation he gave at the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Fruit & Vegetable Convention.

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

Integrated Pest Management Stories
The Latest
Biocontrols Conference
September 13, 2017
Get Better Results From Your Biopesticid…
Softer crop protection programs are becoming a must in specialty crop production. Growers who aren’t learning more about their options Read More
Biocontrols Conference
September 11, 2017
The Grower’s Take: Citrus, HLB, and Biol…
Uncle Matt’s Organic orange juice brand has enjoyed steady growth since its 2002 inception. The brand’s success is due to Read More
Biocontrols Conference
September 1, 2017
Dispelling the Rumors: Using Biologicals…
Whether you’re a grower, packer, processor, or retailer, you have experienced the dramatic shift in consumer preference for sustainable practices Read More
Biocontrols Conference
September 1, 2017
Silicon: a Biocontrol Agent that Boosts …
Quality and profitability are two important factors that drive our agricultural markets. We have fine-tuned our cultivation processes over centuries Read More
Biocontrols Conference
July 31, 2017
11 New Biocontrol Products You Need to K…
One of the highlights of the Biocontrols Conference & Expo Series is getting an early look at some of the Read More
April 17, 2017
Natural Enemies for Asian Citrus Psyllid
The eventual spread of Huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening, to commercial groves in California seems inevitable. But the devastation seen Read More
Crop Protection
April 5, 2017
Potato Psyllids are Gaining Resistance t…
Neonicotionoids, a key weapon in the grower’s arsenal against potato psyllids, is becoming less effective, a team of researchers from Texas Read More
Biocontrols Conference
April 3, 2017
5 Graphics that Show How Biocontrols are…
American Vegetable Grower was curious about how biocontrols are impacting the industry. So we took a look at our State of the Vegetable Industry Survey to see what patterns may emerge. Read More
Biocontrols Conference
April 3, 2017
Silicon: Plant Nutrient and Biocontrol A…
Editor’s note: Wendy Zellner made an in-depth presentation on silicon and its use as a biocontrol agent in vegetable crops Read More
Crop Protection
March 11, 2017
How to Stop Plant Diseases Before They G…
These smart strategies play off the science behind infestations, instead of merely treating symptoms. Read More
Crop Protection
August 30, 2016
New Biopesticide Available From BioWorks
Mycoinsecticide has quick knockdown effect and multiple modes of action. Read More
May 26, 2016
Consider Fumigating For Nematodes Before…
Stone fruit and almond growers looking to replant orchards might want to invest in soil samples to assess nematode populations Read More
Disease Control
May 19, 2016
Native Plants Reduce Need For Vineyard W…
Scientists in eastern Washington are finding drought-tolerant alternatives to roses at the end of vineyard rows that not only save Read More
Insect Control
May 16, 2016
Tips For Balancing Almond Mites And Pred…
Almond growers need to do a delicate dance to keep spider mite populations down, but not so far that beneficial Read More
May 3, 2016
How To Build A Better Beetle Trap
UF/IFAS study on luring, snaring the notorious redbay ambrosia beetle earns prestigious award. Read More
Crop Protection
April 7, 2016
6 Steps To Increase Efficiencies On The …
Embracing industry changes, New York’s Turek Farms looks to find better ways to get the job done. Read More
Integrated Pest Management
February 16, 2016
Florida Extension Agent Honored For His …
Gene McAvoy named a member of Syngenta’s Resistance Fighter Leadership Program. Read More
Biocontrols Conference
February 9, 2016
Biopesticides And IPM
Dr. Surendra Dara, Strawberry and Vegetable Crops Advisor and Affiliated IPM Advisor with University of California Cooperative Extension, has long Read More