Smart chemistry puts paid to caterpillar pests

30 October 2017

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Farmers sowing forage brassica and fodder beet crops this spring are being urged to keep watch for a soil-dwelling caterpillar pest that can quickly make a meal of newly emerged seedlings.

Greasy cutworm are the larvae of a moth called Agrotis ipsilon and live in the top few centimetres of the soil surface. They’re largely nocturnal feeders, so the first sign of damage is usually not the pest itself but its leftovers.

For those who haven’t seen what cutworm can do to brassica or beet seedlings, Nufarm product manager Duncan Ibbotson says the damage often looks just like someone has cut the stem off at ground level with a sharp pair of scissors. “They also can completely eat newly emerged seedlings, leaving just the stalks,” says Duncan.

At a passing glance it might seem as if seed has simply not yet germinated, so it’s important to scout newly planted crops carefully, he says.

Fodder beet is very vulnerable to cutworm early in the life of the crop because it has fewer plants per hectare (ha) and takes so much longer to establish than brassicas.

But brassica crops are also at risk. High cutworm pressure can wipe out large areas of brassica seedlings.

Duncan says unlike older organo-phosphate chemistry, such as chlorpyrifos, the new synthetic pyrethroid (SP) insecticide, Kaiso® 50WG, remains active on the soil for a longer period after application thus providing more robust control of cutworm.

That means it can be sprayed at any time of the day and does not have to be applied in the evening when the caterpillars are thought to be most active.

Kaiso 50WG contains the active ingredient lambda-cyhalothrin and is the only SP insecticide registered for control of cutworm in fodder beet. It is also registered for cutworm control in forage brassicas.

Fast-acting and persistent, it comes in a unique user-friendly Sorbie Technology formulation which is stable, easy to measure and non-flammable with no dust, no splash and is easy to clean up with no need for triple rinsing the container.

“It looks and handles like a wettable granule (WG), but once added to water, it behaves like an emulsion concentrate (EC) and mixes to a stable solution extremely quickly,” says Duncan.

The novel formulation also provides other benefits. Approved Handler (AH) status is not required for purchase or transport of Kaiso 50WG, nor does the product have to be tracked.

Kaiso is registered to control a wide range of pests in many crops, including the caterpillars of white butterfly and diamond back moth in forage brassicas.

®Kaiso is a registered trademark of Nufarm Limited.

For more information on Kaiso 50WG, talk to your local Technical Sales Rep or visit your local Fonterra Farm Source store.

Article supplied by Nufarm