Cotton growers in Mississippi will soon be able to use the pesticide Denim (emamectin benzoate) for the control of beet armyworms and resistant tobacco budworms, under a Section 18 exemption approved April 17 by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The emergency exemption permit for Denim, a Novartis product, expires Sept. 30, 2001, and allows the use of the product on up to 750,000 of the state's cotton acres.

According to Tommy McDaniel, branch director for the Mississippi Bureau of Plant Industry, the state made the request on behalf of cotton growers earlier this year.

Under the Section 18 permit, Denim 0.16EC may be applied by either ground or aerial applicator at a rate of 0.0075- to 0.01 pound of active ingredient per acre. This rate translates to 6 to 8 ounces of Denim product per acre.

No more than three applications of the pesticide may be made, for a maximum of 24 ounces of product per acre per season. This limit includes the combined product used for both beet armyworm and tobacco budworm treatments.

“Applications must be made in a minimum of 5 gallons of finished spray per acre for aerial application and 10 gallons for ground. A five-day application interval and a 21-day pre-harvest interval must be observed. Denim may not be applied through any type of irrigation system and livestock may not be grazed in treated areas,” the EPA permit says.

Following on the heels of Mississippi, state officials in Texas submitted their request to EPA for a Section 18 exemption for Denim on March 5. The Texas Department of Agriculture says it, too, submitted a Section 18 request for Denim earlier than usual to insure adequate supplies of pesticides for the control of beet armyworm outbreaks. Other states, including Arkansas, are expected to follow suit with similar exemption requests for the pesticide product.