The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce has declared a crisis exemption for the use of carbofuran (Furadan 4F and Furadan LFR) on cotton aphids. The exemption allows growers to apply either formulation through Aug. 3.

The Department said dry weather and increased aphid tolerance to currently registered insecticides has made it difficult for growers to reduce aphids below threshold treatment levels in some portions of the state.

“We took this step to prevent aphid populations from having an adverse economic impact,” said Dr. Lester Spell, Mississippi agricultural commissioner. “Producers now have an additional tool to control these pests.”

Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act allows a state to declare a crisis exemption on a non-registered use of a pesticide for a 15-day period if a need is immediate. The state notifies the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of this action before issuing the exemption.

Farmers have been reporting increased incidents of failure of federally labeled insecticides to provide needed levels of control of the insect pest, said Angus Catchot, Extension entomologist with Mississippi State University.

“The request for the crisis exemption was in response to lab bioassays that show a change in susceptibility to cotton aphids in the neonicotinoid class of chemistry and the extremely hot, dry conditions leading to unsatisfactory control in some areas,” Catchot said.

“In most areas we are still getting acceptable control with Intruder, Centric and Trimax PRO, and this is still the first choice for growers.”

Carbine, another insecticide that was registered for the 2006 season by FMC Corp., has also performed well on aphids, he said. “But supplies of this product have been extremely limited.”

Growers may only apply the Furadan formulations in areas where they previously applied the neonicotinoid insecticides and did not achieve acceptable control, according to Catchot. The number of acres that may be treated is limited.

The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce administers the provisions of crisis exemptions through the Bureau of Plant Industry. Cotton producers can call the Bureau toll-free at 1-888-257-1285 or (662) 325-3390 for more information.

Growers must be in possession of the Section 18 emergency exemption label for Furadan and follow the guidelines listed.

Earlier this summer, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry earlier received a Section 18 emergency exemption for the use of Furadan on cotton aphids after growers experienced similar control problems. The exemption has since expired.

EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs is reviewing the benefits of Furadan 4L as part of the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act requirements that all pesticide tolerances be reassessed by Sept. 1, 2006.

The National Cotton Council has written EPA on numerous occasions to communicate its scientifically-grounded support for crop protection products used by cotton growers.

In a recent letter, NCC Chairman Allen Helms emphasized the benefits of Furadan to cotton, especially for aphid control, and asked the agency to consider the low dietary risk and minimal ecological impact of Furadan used in cotton.

Helms added that Louisiana’s and Mississippi’s recent petitions to EPA for Section 18 emergency exemptions to control aphid pressure in certain counties “exemplify the need for Furadan to remain on the market.”