Poncho, a new insecticide containing the active ingredient clothianidin, received full EPA registration. It will be marketed to corn growers by participating seed companies under the names of Poncho 250 and Poncho 1250 to indicate different application rates and protection levels.

Paul Holliday, Gustafson corn products manager, says Poncho is a new chemistry that will provide growers with entirely new levels of insect protection. “Poncho 250 protects the crop against early-season damage and stand loss caused by cutworms, wireworms, seed corn maggots, white grubs, chinch bugs, flea beetles and numerous other pests.”

“We’re seeing excellent early season activity on all of these insects on up to five-leaf corn,” says Gustafson representative Chip Graham of Grenada, Miss. “Preliminary testing has also shown some activity against the sugarcane beetle, which is becoming a significant problem in the Mid-South.”

Graham says west Tennessee farmers treated several thousand of acres of corn for the sugarcane beetle this year. “I think the adoption of conservation tillage has played a part in the sugarcane beetle becoming a more prevalent pest. At the very least, producers are recognizing it more as a problem pest in corn,” he says.

In tests comparing the performance of seed protected with Poncho 250 insecticide with seed receiving no insecticide protection, the crop protected with Poncho 250 produced an average of 8.4 bushels per acre more yield, according to Holliday.

“Based upon our current pricing expectations for Poncho 250, this sort of yield advantage would indicate a $3 to $4 return for each $1 invested. This level of return tends to quickly capture the attention of most corn producers,” he says.

Poncho 1250 is designed especially for the corn producer dealing with corn rootworms or billbugs. Delivering rootworm control comparable to traditional soil-applied insecticides, Poncho 1250 also provides protection against cutworm, wireworm, white grub, chinch bug and flea beetle.

“We expect it to be the first choice of producers needing extra protection from a ‘secondary’ pest that has become a major problem,” Holliday says. “Poncho 1250 is the ideal choice for the refuge acres required when planting a rootworm resistant hybrid. It’s also the premier alternative for use on hybrids not carrying the rootworm resistance gene. Poncho 1250 provides excellent rootworm control plus broad-spectrum protection against many other insect pests.

In research comparisons with seed receiving no insecticide protection, corn yields from seed protected with Poncho 1250 averaged 12.6 bushels per acre more than untreated seed in 471 comparisons conducted over the past three years, he says.

With both Poncho 250 and Poncho 1250, pest protection is delivered to the farm, on the seed, in the bag. “Both Poncho 250 and Poncho 1250 fit well with the new biotech rootworm hybrids,” Holliday says. “The rootworm resistant hybrids help protect against rootworm damage but don’t provide the protection against other yield-robbing insects that Poncho 250 delivers.

“Now, with Poncho 1250 alone, or with a biotech rootworm hybrid teamed with Poncho 250, there is no need to calibrate insecticide applicators or return containers.”

Because approval did not occur before most corn acres were planted, the number of locations where corn producers might observe comparisons between hybrids protected with Poncho 250 or Poncho 1250 and untreated seed will be limited, the company says.

e-mail: dmuzzi@primediabusiness.com