Advances in Seed Treatment Technology for Insect Control: Our Reaction

October 4, 1999
During the upcoming fall and winter, we anticipate many questions concerning the ProShield™ seed-treatment technology that Novartis Seeds, Inc., has patented and anticipates marketing in 2000 with Force ST (Zeneca) for broad-spectrum insect control. Insects likely to be included on the label include corn rootworms, cutworms, wireworms, seedcorn maggots, and white grubs. Force ST is labeled for use on field corn, popcorn, seed corn, and sweet corn. For the 2000 growing season, Novartis Seeds, Inc., will be the only company marketing seed treated with Force ST. When Force ST is delivered as a seed treatment (30,000 seeds per acre, 30-inch rows) with ProShield™ technology, a 60 percent reduction in the rate of tefluthrin will occur, compared with the standard Force 3G application at planting (4 to 5 ounces of product per 1,000 feet of row). At this point, although we've seen some encouraging data from Novartis, we remain somewhat skeptical that a seed treatment can provide adequate rootworm protection when infestations are severe. We believe that the seed treatment approach offers producers a convenient approach to insect control; however, convenience is not the primary factor when it comes to selecting the best rootworm management approach. Efficacy and economics will continue to drive a producer's decision when selecting the most appropriate rootworm control option. Before recommending the ProShield™ seed treatment approach for insect management, particularly for corn rootworm control, we will continue to evaluate the results from our research trials and those conducted at other land-grant institutions.--Mike Gray, Kevin Steffey

Author: Kevin Steffey Mike Gray