Texas Agriculture May 6, 2016 : Page26

Emergency request granted to help farmers battle aphids By Jessica Domel News Editor There’s good news for grain sor-ghum growers across Texas. The En-vironmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved an emergency request to allow farmers to use the popular in-secticide Transform WG in the battle against prolific and damaging sugar-cane aphids. “The availability of Transform WG is crucial to helping sorghum farm-ers combat the sugarcane aphid,” Tim Lust, chief executive officer of Nation-al Sorghum Producers (NSP), said. “We thank the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their approval of this important crop protection tool, which augments industry efforts to develop better management practices and resources to meet this unprec-edented challenge.” Transform, or sulfoxaflor, is pro-duced by Dow Agrosciences LLC. EPA cancelled registration for sulf-oxaflor in November after the Ninth Court of Appeals ruled there wasn’t enough information in the insecti-cide’s packet regarding the potential impact on honeybees. Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) and the sorghum organizations fought for the right to again use Transform to pro-tect crops. TFB submitted supportive com-ments to EPA about members’ need for Transform to help control the sug-arcane aphid. “If our members were unable to use Transform, they would suffer yield losses and a decline in profits,” Brant Wilbourn, TFB associate director of Commodity and Regulatory Activi-ties, said. “The sugarcane aphid could have also built resistance to the other insecticide that is available to control the aphid.” TFB members also submitted com-ments to EPA through VoterVoice about the importance of Transform to their sorghum operation and how they could be affected by the inability to use the insecticide. “This Section 18 Emergency Ex-emption is important because it gives sorghum growers another tool in the toolbox to fight the sugarcane aphid,” Wilbourn said. The letter granting Texas a Sec-tion 18 exemption for use under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act includes several mod-ifications and restrictions on the use of Transform, including a new restric-tion designed to prevent exposure to honeybees. Use of the spray is now prohibited within three days or less of pre-bloom until after seed set. Other restrictions include the use of no more than two applications per acre per year, a restricted entry inter-val of 24 hours, a minimum treatment interval and a preharvest interval. The label asks farmers to refrain from applying Transform within 14 days of grain or straw harvest or with-in a week of grazing, forage, fodder or hay harvest. It also restricts the application in-terval to 14 days. The exemption remains in effect for one full year. “We’re really excited,” Wayne Cleveland, executive director of Texas Sorghum Producers, said in an inter-view with the TFB Radio Network. “I think the odds were against us.” Cleveland explains that when bat-tling a pest like the sugarcane aphid, which reproduces and spreads very quickly, more than one insecticide is needed for control. Transform is joined on the market by Sivanto, which is made by Bayer CropScience. Both insecticides work at the same active site to fight the aphids, but are different classes of chemicals. Texas sorghum farmer Charles Ray Huddleston of Collin County says both are needed to protect sorghum. “It’s good to have more than one chemical to use so we don’t take a chance on the insect developing a re-sistance to one of them,” Huddleston said. “It’s good to have a variety of products you can use.” A sugarcane aphid population can go from a few bugs to hundreds, if not thousands, in a matter of days. The aphids feed on grain sorghum sap, damaging the plant and leave sticky “honeydew” on the plant that can gunk up machinery and halt har-vest altogether. Entomologists encourage farmers to scout their fields often for the pests as early detection is key to controlling the aphids and reducing yield loss. “When I first heard about them, the year before I had them, I had a mechanic tell me how it plugged up the combine inside,” Huddleston said. “The year before last, when I had them so bad, I made sure I scouted them and made sure I kept them out as best I could.” Last year, Huddleston wasn’t so lucky. “I let them get away from me, and they really damaged the crop. They 26 stunted heads, and I didn’t really get a grain fill,” Huddleston said. Untreated, sugarcane aphids can lead to loss of an entire crop or render it unharvestable. Last year, when EPA cancelled the registration for Transform, sorghum growers worried their crops would be left vulnerable to the aphids with just one insecticide—Sivanto. “In looking at how the sugarcane aphid has spread across the U.S. sor-ghum belt, we’d need to treat millions of acres of grain sorghum,” Dr. Charles Allen, entomologist with Texas A&M AgriLife, said at the time. “If we only have one product, we’re prone to de-velop resistance. We do not have a backup.” Although the exemption was grant-ed, some farmers opted to plant less sorghum or went to other crops entire-ly for fear of not being able to control the aphids. “They didn’t want to take the chance of messing with it,” Hud-dleston said. Most of the sorghum grown in Texas is used as animal feed. As a drought-tolerant crop, it’s attractive to dryland farmers in areas that don’t receive much rainfall. Being able to use products like Transform to control aphids from de-stroying the crop is essential to ensur-ing the future of Texas sorghum while researchers work on a variety that is resistant to the pest, according to Huddleston. In the meantime, Texas growers can get the Section 18 label specif-ics for Transform at http://bitly.com/ TransformLabel2 or http://bitly.com/ TransformLabel. M AY 6 , 2016 Photo courtesy Dow AgroSciences

Emergency Request Granted to Help Farmers Battle Aphids

Jessica Domel

There’s good news for grain sorghum growers across Texas. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved an emergency request to allow farmers to use the popular insecticide Transform WG in the battle against prolific and damaging sugarcane aphids.

“The availability of Transform WG is crucial to helping sorghum farmers combat the sugarcane aphid,” Tim Lust, chief executive officer of National Sorghum Producers (NSP), said. “We thank the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their approval of this important crop protection tool, which augments industry efforts to develop better management practices and resources to meet this unprecedented challenge.”

Transform, or sulfoxaflor, is produced by Dow Agrosciences LLC.

EPA cancelled registration for sulfoxaflor in November after the Ninth Court of Appeals ruled there wasn’t enough information in the insecticide’s packet regarding the potential impact on honeybees.

Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) and the sorghum organizations fought for the right to again use Transform to protect crops.

TFB submitted supportive comments to EPA about members’ need for Transform to help control the sugarcane aphid.

“If our members were unable to use Transform, they would suffer yield losses and a decline in profits,” Brant Wilbourn, TFB associate director of Commodity and Regulatory Activities, said. “The sugarcane aphid could have also built resistance to the other insecticide that is available to control the aphid.”

TFB members also submitted comments to EPA through VoterVoice about the importance of Transform to their sorghum operation and how they could be affected by the inability to use the insecticide.

“This Section 18 Emergency Exemption is important because it gives sorghum growers another tool in the toolbox to fight the sugarcane aphid,” Wilbourn said.

The letter granting Texas a Section 18 exemption for use under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act includes several modifications and restrictions on the use of Transform, including a new restriction designed to prevent exposure to honeybees.

Use of the spray is now prohibited within three days or less of pre-bloom until after seed set.

Other restrictions include the use of no more than two applications per acre per year, a restricted entry interval of 24 hours, a minimum treatment interval and a preharvest interval.

The label asks farmers to refrain from applying Transform within 14 days of grain or straw harvest or within a week of grazing, forage, fodder or hay harvest.

It also restricts the application interval to 14 days.

The exemption remains in effect for one full year.

“We’re really excited,” Wayne Cleveland, executive director of Texas Sorghum Producers, said in an interview with the TFB Radio Network. “I think the odds were against us.”

Cleveland explains that when battling a pest like the sugarcane aphid, which reproduces and spreads very quickly, more than one insecticide is needed for control.

Transform is joined on the market by Sivanto, which is made by Bayer CropScience.

Both insecticides work at the same active site to fight the aphids, but are different classes of chemicals.

Texas sorghum farmer Charles Ray Huddleston of Collin County says both are needed to protect sorghum.

“It’s good to have more than one chemical to use so we don’t take a chance on the insect developing a resistance to one of them,” Huddleston said. “It’s good to have a variety of products you can use.”

A sugarcane aphid population can go from a few bugs to hundreds, if not thousands, in a matter of days.

The aphids feed on grain sorghum sap, damaging the plant and leave sticky “honeydew” on the plant that can gunk up machinery and halt harvest altogether.

Entomologists encourage farmers to scout their fields often for the pests as early detection is key to controlling the aphids and reducing yield loss.

“When I first heard about them, the year before I had them, I had a mechanic tell me how it plugged up the combine inside,” Huddleston said. “The year before last, when I had them so bad, I made sure I scouted them and made sure I kept them out as best I could.”

Last year, Huddleston wasn’t so lucky.

“I let them get away from me, and they really damaged the crop. They stunted heads, and I didn’t really get a grain fill,” Huddleston said.

Untreated, sugarcane aphids can lead to loss of an entire crop or render it unharvestable.

Last year, when EPA cancelled the registration for Transform, sorghum growers worried their crops would be left vulnerable to the aphids with just one insecticide—Sivanto.

“In looking at how the sugarcane aphid has spread across the U.S. sorghum belt, we’d need to treat millions of acres of grain sorghum,” Dr. Charles Allen, entomologist with Texas A&M AgriLife, said at the time. “If we only have one product, we’re prone to develop resistance. We do not have a backup.”

Although the exemption was granted, some farmers opted to plant less sorghum or went to other crops entirely for fear of not being able to control the aphids.

“They didn’t want to take the chance of messing with it,” Huddleston said.

Most of the sorghum grown in Texas is used as animal feed. As a drought-tolerant crop, it’s attractive to dryland farmers in areas that don’t receive much rainfall.

Being able to use products like Transform to control aphids from destroying the crop is essential to ensuring the future of Texas sorghum while researchers work on a variety that is resistant to the pest, according to Huddleston.

In the meantime, Texas growers can get the Section 18 label specifics for Transform at http://bitly.com/TransformLabel2 or http://bitly.com/TransformLabel.

Read the full article at http://texasagriculture.texasfarmbureau.org/article/Emergency+Request+Granted+to+Help+Farmers+Battle+Aphids/2473840/300782/article.html.

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