Sebe Brown, Extension Entomologist
Selecting corn seed treatments can be a challenging and expensive undertaking faced by many producers across Louisiana. Corn seed treatments target three spectrums of pests: nematodes, fungal seedling diseases and insects. This article will address insecticide seed treatment options available for corn.
Insecticide seed treatments are usually the main component of a seed treatment package. Most corn seed available today comes with a base package that includes a fungicide and insecticide. The insecticide options for seed treatments include Poncho (clothianidin), Cruiser/Cruiser Extreme (thiamethoxam) and Gaucho (Imidacloprid). All three of these products are neonicotinoid chemistries. Cruiser and Poncho at the 250 (.25 mg AI/seed) rate are the most common base options available for corn. These insecticides are a good foundation; however, do not expect these treatments to give you extended protection from all below ground pests. If sugarcane beetles have been a problem in the past, Cruiser at the 250 or 500 rate will not provide adequate control; consider using Poncho at the 500 rate with 1250 providing better protection. None of these products provide adequate control of cutworms. Each company offers treatments that provide differing levels of early season insect protection, outlined below are some options available to producers with regards to insecticide seed treatments.
Pioneer’s base insecticide seed treatment package consists of Cruiser 250 with Poncho/Votivo 1250 available upon request. Votivo is a biological agent that protects against nematodes.
Monsanto’s products including corn, soybeans and cotton fall under the Acceleron treatment umbrella. Dekalb corn seed comes standard with Poncho 250. Producers also have the option to upgrade to Poncho/Votivo, with Poncho applied at the 500 rate.
Agrisure, Golden Harvest and Garst have a base package with a fungicide and Cruiser 250. Avicta complete corn is also available; this includes Cruiser 500, fungicide, and nematode protection.
Another option is to buy the minimum insecticide treatment available, and have a dealer treat the seed downstream.
Avipel was re-issued a section 18 for field and sweet corn seed in Louisiana. The exemption is effective from February 24, 2012 through February 24, 2013. Avipel can only be applied at the dealer and is used as a humane bird repellent.
It is important to note that below ground Bt traits available for western corn rootworm will not work on our strain of root worm in Louisiana. Look at using in-furrow applications of Counter (organophosphate) or Force (pyrethroid) to help keep rootworms under control. If an ALS herbicide was used in burndown applications or is anticipated, organophosphate insecticides should not be used.
Insecticide seed treatments are a valuable tool that allows producers a head start on early season protection from a variety of pests. Minimizing damage below ground will help get this year’s corn crop off to a promising start.