No. 8 Article 3/May 14, 2004

Insuring "Insect Insurance"

We recently learned that enterprising salespeople in some areas of Illinois have encouraged corn growers to apply Pounce 3.2EC preemergence to cornfields in which seeds treated with Poncho 250 have been planted. As you are aware, the label for Poncho 250 indicates that cutworms will be controlled by this insecticidal seed treatment. You have read some of our articles in which we have stated that data for control of secondary insect pests of corn, including cutworms, are not abundant. That having been said, however, we have not indicated that Poncho 250 would not control cutworms. Apparently there are those who question whether Poncho 250 will work.

We seriously doubt that Gustafson salespeople are recommending the use of Pounce 3.2EC (or other preventive insecticides for cutworm control) in fields in which Poncho-treated seed has been planted. Such a recommendation from Gustafson representatives would suggest they have little faith in their own product. Representatives from other companies thus must be making the recommendation.

It is a fact that most cornfields in Illinois are not attacked by black cutworms during any given year, especially when planting occurs early. Consequently, the use of an insecticidal seed treatment, such as Poncho, is not necessary for control of cutworms in most fields. Nonetheless, some corn growers like the peace of mind they obtain from "insect insurance" in the form of insecticidal seed treatments or soil insecticides. But now, some people are recommending that the insurance of an insecticidal seed treatment should also be insured. How much money are growers willing to shell out for these irresponsible recommendations? If growers are operating on such tight margins, why would an unnecessary expenditure be so easy to accept? Such recommendations fly in the face of IPM principles.

We urge readers of the Bulletin to communicate with us regarding such recommendations. Do you believe they are justified? If your answer is yes, can you defend it? We are willing to listen, but on the surface, an insecticidal seed treatment plus another preventive insecticide seems like an imprudent waste of money.--Kevin Steffey, Mike Gray, and Kelly Cook

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