The development of the neonicotinoid insecticides has been a significant advancement in seed treatment technology, and two of these products will be new Extension recommendations for the coming season. Commercial seed treatments offer the advantage of application ease since the seed come pre-treated and no additional application equipment is needed. The neonicotinoid seed treatments offer the potential for broad-spectrum insect control and extended residual. The two new seed treatments recommended by Extension are Poncho and Cruiser.

Poncho is a broad-spectrum insecticide, but the degree of control and the pests which will be controlled are dependent on the rate of application. That is, a high seed treatment rate will provide a broader spectrum of effective control than a lower seed treatment rate. Poncho will be available only on pre-treated seed, and only at two rates. These seed treatments will be sold as Poncho 250 and Poncho 1250. It is important that producers understand the limitations of the low rate, as well as the advantages of the high rate.

The Poncho 250 seed treatment is labeled for control of chinch bugs, black cutworms, seed corn maggot, southern green stink bug and several other pests, such as white grub and wireworm, that are not common problems in Louisiana. LSU AgCenter research confirms the chinch bug control, but indicates that the product may be a little weak on cutworms and brown stink bugs. Effective control of these two pests was obtained with an experimental rate slightly higher than that of Poncho 250. Poncho 1250 is a seed treatment rate 5X higher than Poncho 250. It will control all the pests mentioned above plus southern corn rootworm. There are no in-between rates available on commercially treated seed.

Poncho is an advanced neonicotinoid seed treatment from the same company that sold Gaucho and Prescribe seed treatments for corn. It is my understanding that Gaucho and Prescribe will not be offered in 2004, except on pre-existing seed stocks. Poncho 250 and/or Poncho 1250 will be offered by over 75 seed companies including DeKalb, Garst, Golden Acres, Pioneer, Terral and Dyna-Gro.

Cruiser is the second neonicotinoid seed treatment which will be recommended for the 2004 season. Cruiser is labeled at wide rate range (0.125 to 1.25 mg active ingredient per seed kernel) for a variety of soil and early season insects such as wireworm, seed corn maggot, white grub, chinch bugs, cutworm suppression and rootworms. It is similar to Poncho in that the higher seed treatment rates will provide better control for a broader spectrum of insect pests. Cruiser will be available only on pre-treated seed. It is my understanding that most Cruiser-treated corn seed will be at a rate of 0.125-pound active ingredient per seed, although one regional seed company may provide seed treated at 0.25-pound active ingredient per seed. LSU AgCenter research indicates that the low rate will give adequate chinch bug control, but it is ineffective for cutworms. Neither of these two rates will control rootworms. Cruiser seed treatment will be offered by over 30 seed companies including Terral, Pioneer, NK Brand and Genesis.

Producers can also achieve effective early season control with the standard recommended soil insecticides. Counter 15G, Lorsban 15G, Force 3G, Thimet 20G Aztec 2.1G, Regent 4SC, Capture 2 and Furadan 4F. Liquid and granular soil insecticides can be applied at planting, either in-furrow or in a T-band. In some cases it may be necessary to band a recommended liquid cutworm insecticide behind the planter.

Jack Baldwin is an Extension entomologist with the LSU AgCenter.

e-mail: jbaldwin@agctr.lsu.edu