On June 2, officials of Gustafson LLC announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had approved the registration for Poncho 600 seed-applied insecticide for corn. The insecticide will be marketed to corn growers by participating seed companies under the names of Poncho 250 and Poncho 1250, representing different application rates and protection levels. Poncho 250 is labeled to protect corn from early-season injury caused by cutworms, flea beetles, seedcorn maggot, white grubs, wireworms, and a few other pests that usually are not relevant in Illinois. Poncho 1250 is labeled to protect corn from the same pests, as well as billbugs and corn rootworms.
The active ingredient of Poncho is clothianidin, another insecticide in the nicotinoid family that was introduced for corn production with the seed treatments Gaucho and Prescribe (active ingredient imidacloprid) and Cruiser (active ingredient thiamethoxam). These seed treatments offer an alternative to granular and liquid insecticides for control of several soil-inhabiting insect pests. The use of these insecticidal seed treatments with transgenic corn for rootworm control, as well as in the required nontransgenic refuge, is expected to increase during the next few years.
Poncho-treated corn seed will be available on many hybrids that can be purchased by corn growers in 2004. In the meantime, check all of your trusted sources for information about the efficacy of these seed treatments, as well as their potential fit in specific cropping systems.--Kevin Steffey