New Products for Control of Soil Insects in Corn: Buyer Beware

March 17, 2000
Within the last few months, some new products have been registered for control of several soil insect pests in corn, including corn rootworm larvae, cutworms, white grubs, wireworms, and seedcorn maggots. The new products registered for control of these pests (read the product labels to determine which insects are included on each) are Capture 2EC, a liquid pyrethroid from FMC; Gaucho 600 Flowable, a seed treatment from Gustafson; and ProShield with Force ST, a seed treatment from Novartis/Zeneca.

We won't go into detail about the rates, methods of application, and other specific attributes of these products. The intent of this article is to offer a broad statement about what to expect from these newly registered products. The truth of the matter is that we don't know what to expect because we have seen very little efficacy data supporting these registrations. In the past, we often spent years evaluating experimental products before they were registered and ready for sale. We usually had a good "feel" for the expected effectiveness of the product against the pests listed on the labels. Unfortunately, that is not the case with the aforementioned products. We have not conducted research with these products for very long and under different environmental circumstances. Therefore the only data we have seen have been generated from the companies manufacturing or marketing the products. Although some of the data have originated from other land-grant universities, the data are few and far between.

In today's highly competitive crop-protection market, newly registered products may not have undergone the rigorous testing that makes us and you more comfortable with our expectations. We suspect that the scrutiny of several of the granular organophosphate insecticides for the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) and the anticipated registration of Bt corn for rootworm control in the future are creating a flurry of product registrations to take advantage of new market niches. Therefore we offer this advice: buyer beware. We cannot offer an unconditional recommendation for insecticides about which we know very little.--Kevin Steffey and Mike Gray

Author: Kevin Steffey Mike Gray