Transforming cotton with IPM principles

The aim of any good Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program is to limit pest populations to levels that do not cause economic damage to the crop. Integrated pest management aims to use all tools in the ‘control option tool-box’ by implementing well thought out strategies that maintain beneficial populations, keep pest populations below a threshold level and ensure the continuing usefulness of chemical control options. Well timed, targeted, beneficial-friendly insecticides have a strong role to play in IPM.

When selecting an insecticide, there are three key features to consider: the insecticides resistance status, its effectiveness and its impact on beneficial populations. When using an insecticide for mirid control, research has shown that using low rates of some insecticides mixed with salt, can achieve similar results to those given by the full rate alone. The differential benefit of doing this is that the impact on beneficials* is often reduced. (It is however, important to note that the majority of insecticides used on this pest are not currently registered for use with salt).

Transform™ WG Isoclast™ active insecticide from Dow AgroSciences, is an effective insecticide for sap-feeding pests that is safe to most beneficial insects and spiders. Transform will control mirids, greenhouse whiteflies, and aphids (including green peach aphid, cotton aphid and cowpea aphid). It offers rapid knockdown of aphids with first symptoms often observed approximately 20 minutes after application. Transform is soft on beneficials and does not flare mites. This makes it perfect for use in IPM programs and a great option for use early in the season and in systems which rely on beneficial insects to help control pests.

Transform also offers suppression of silver leaf whitefly (SLWF). Several seasons of commercial use suggests that the suppression of Transform on SLWF in combination with the preservation of beneficials, means growers often don’t have to spray for silver leaf whitefly late in the season. John Barbour, a cotton consultant in St George QLD, says “We applied Transform to control mirids in January and found it gave excellent suppression of silver leaf whiteflies so that no specific whitefly spray was necessary.” Stuart Doyle an agronomist in Moree NSW, experienced a similar effect; “The suppression effects are significant enough to make me hope to get through the season without spraying against whitefly on fields where I’ve applied Transform.” “I liked the quick knockdown of mirids and the good residual effect against them.”