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Veteran Contributor

Neonicotinoid seed treatments

All,

I just got done doing a story that will run in our Mid-March issue (out around 3/20) about neonicotinoid insecticide seed treatments. Brand names include Gaucho, Poncho, and Cruiser. The consensus among entomologists I talked with is that on corn, they pay to protect against early-season insets like grubs and wireworms. That's because no rescue treatments exist and the only option for a field ravaged by insects is an expensive replant.

 

On soybeans, though, there's a split opinion. Midwestern entomologists think automatic blanket applications aren't worth the money. They also worry about resistance developing from repeated use of a single mode of action with no pest pressure.

Quite a few entomologists in the South and Mid-South, disagree, though, saying there is a consistent yield response because those early insects are often present.

 

Do any of you have any opinions on this? Use consistently or not at all or in between?

Thanks,

Gil Gullickson

Crops Technology Editor

Successful Farming 

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12 Replies
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Senior Advisor

Re: Neonicotinoid seed treatments

My question would be in regard to -- "Quite a few entomologists in the South and Mid-South, disagree, though, saying there is a consistent yield response because those early insects are often present." 

 

How much is the consistent yield response of the seed treatment alone?  What is the general economic beneift to the grower of this early yield response, versus the cost/benefit or net return of only a later "rescue" treatment? And, do those who forgo the seed treatment then apply a later spray application regardless, or only if needed based on crop scouting?

 

While I have assumed that much soybean early-stage leaf damage will be overcome by later growth, I also assume there would be some yield benefit to minimizing this damage in the early growth stages.  Where do we go to find side-by-side controlled independent research study information/results to formulate our own opinions?  All in one plot at repeated locations (southern US, middle, north, east, west) --

 

Soybean control -- no treatments

Soybean test -- seed treatment only

Soybean test -- seed treatment, plus in-season spray

Soybean test -- no seed treatment, in-season spray only 

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Advisor

Re: Neonicotinoid seed treatments

In north iowa, i could and do live without the neonic's. Our big pest contolled by seed treatments is bean leaf beetle, which we rarely see and can be sprayed as a rescue very economically.

 

On corn, there is alot of new developments in talc planter box treatments that minimize the spread from the nic seed treatment. I'm told it is the "cloud" of tainted talc that is spreading the seed treatment to bees.  It seems incomprehensible to me that the "tainted" talc used at planting time would be the source of bee poisoning. There just aren't alot of active bees this early, but i'm not an entomologist.

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Senior Advisor

Re: Neonicotinoid seed treatments

Ida - I'm not an  entomologist either - But have been to a program put on by Christian Krupke - If I remember right - the talc dust settles - depending on the wind - - it gets on the dandelions in the side ditchs - then the bee's land on them to do there deal - About the same here - not much bee activity in the last of April , but it's the residual that gets them - what ? weeks afterwords .

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Neonicotinoid seed treatments

Gil, IMO insecticide seed treatments on soybeans have their place but should not be used on every field. Seed applied insecticide should be used in no-till fields and fields that have had manure applied. On my farm, my biggest soybean pest is white grub and asiatic garden beetle grub, and neither pest is controlled by seed applied insecticide. Recently I had an interesting conversation with a local NRCS soil conservationist about neonicotinoids and honey bee deaths. He didn't really place the blame on neonicotinoids but rather poor stewardship of farms accross the country. Hay ground, grassland, fence rows, and whole woods have been removed over the last 10 years on a large scale in order to plant more row crops. To add to this, something I have noticed myself over the past few years is how many homeowners spray or spread herbicides to kill dandilions or clover, just to have a perfect lawn to mow. Man is making a green desert for our honey bees, and neonicotinoids are just a small part of the overall problem.

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Advisor

Re: Neonicotinoid seed treatments

There are several new talc substitution products that are made to minimze the contamination. I always used talc, but never mixed it very well. the new products need good mixing. I can do that, but suggest just doing away with the neo-nics. then see if the bee population recovers. One would think the recovery would be very quick if the neonics were banned. should know in 2 years.

 

I north iowa , since 2003, tens of thousands of acres of soybeans get sprayed EVERY year for soybean aphids. (early august) I can only remember a year or 2 of not spraying my beans for aphids. Sometimes all the soybeans in the top 2 tiers of counties and all of southern minnesota get it. No one ever mentions bee kills. How does that work?

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Senior Advisor

Re: Neonicotinoid seed treatments

Your right Ida - We need o paint with a broader brush - Not only spraying beans , but even the proteins in the BT corn gets in the pollen = it's like a thousand time what it would take to kill a bee - - then as you said - throw in some insectidies for corn , beans - its a wonder that there is even any bees or other insects - This year - after to spray your beans - if you need to or watch a neighbors field that has been sprayed - drive by at night time - its amazing - it will be totally dark over the field , what your missing is the lighting bugs - then look at a non sprayed field - you will see what I'm talking about .

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Senior Advisor

Re: Neonicotinoid seed treatments

ECIN -These comments have pretty much summed it up - how interesting ---   

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Frequent Contributor

Re: Neonicotinoid seed treatments

All,

 

Here's the link to the story Gil mentioned.

 

 

 

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Senior Advisor

Re: Neonicotinoid seed treatments

Thanks Kacey for posting up Gil's Article , But to me its funny - here you have Land Grant schools saying one thing - yet Bayer and others say different - Personally I think Bayer and the others are -- well for laack of better words --- FULL of it ! Bayer says farmers need better training and it's the talc's fault - IF they seed treatment was not so sticky - then !!!! Then -- we would NOT need to use talc- with out talc and there crappy seed treatment - stands would be a disaster . 

 

BTW Tell Gil good good !

 

Ken

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