More farmers will be able to use Transform insecticide to control insects in their cotton and grain sorghum following the issuance of Section 18 emergency use exemptions from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
States receiving a Section 18 emergency exemption for the 2018 cotton production season as of this writing include Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas. States receiving a Section 18 emergency exemption in sorghum for 2018 include Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina and Texas.
The Section 18 emergency exemption process for 2018 began early for entomologists with the Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service, which sought the exemption to make sure their growers had the tools they needed to control insects such as sugarcane aphids in grain sorghum and plant bugs in the cotton.
“No, the sugarcane aphids haven’t gone away,” said Dr. Angus Catchot, Extension professor of entomology at Mississippi State University, in response to a question about the pests. “What’s gone away is our sorghum acreage.”
Catchot said there are reports Mississippi producers could plant more grain sorghum in 2018, but, in any event, growers need alternative chemistries to make sure they can protect their crops from severe losses. (He was interviewed at a media event at the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show in Memphis, Tenn.)
“If the (grain sorghum) price goes back up, we’ll be right back in it,” he said. “You know how it is in Mississippi. We have the ability to switch depending on what the market is telling us.”
He said Transform has proven “very effective in controlling plant bug and sugarcane aphid infestations. These pests can be extremely damaging and Transform plays a critical role in our insect pest management programs.”
“The EPA granting Section 18 emergency use exemptions for both crops underscores the importance of Transform insecticide in controlling these potentially yield-robbing pests,” said Mike Fox, insecticides product manager with Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont.
“We believe the action by EPA shows that the agency has listened to growers, consultants and university Extension experts, and continues to confirm the valuable role Transform insecticide plays in effectively controlling these devastating pests.”
Catchot said producers in the Mid-South states always have plant bugs. “It’s to what degree we’re going to have them. If you look at the Mid-South states, as a whole, they’re going to be bad every year, it’s just what version of bad? Very bad or just bad?”
In 2017, Catchot said, producers had the lowest number of plant bug sprays they’ve had in several years. “But that situation can turn so quickly. It’s just hard to predict.”
“Having a product that works quickly is really important,” says Jason Grafton, a crop consultant from Madison, Miss. “When infestations of plant bugs reach threshold numbers, it is crucial we knock them down quickly. Plus, if adverse weather is imminent, growers need to make sure that the insecticide they are using has adequate time to work.”
Equally important as the effective control provided by Transform is the minimal impact it has on beneficial insects, which can help reduce populations of plant bugs.
“Beneficial insects are extremely important, and Transform has minimal impact on them,” Grafton says. “Any time that we can limit a trip across the field and allow Mother Nature to help out on pests, it is a good thing.”