Growers urged to use new insecticide responsibly

As part of the Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) Minor Crops Programme (supported by several product groups including TomatoesNZ), Dow AgroSciences has registered the new insecticide Transform™ for use in a wide range of vegetable crops, including indoor tomatoes to control whitefly and aphids.

Ben Smith, national technical manager for T&G Covered Crops and member of the SFF Minor Crops Programme working group, says: “Transform works well, but I strongly urge growers to act responsibly to minimise resistance build-up. We don’t want to have a good tool in year one and have it ruined by over-use use in year two.”

Transform contains a new active ingredient called Isoclast™ which belongs to the sulfoxamine insecticide group (group 4C), does not show cross resistance to any other insecticide. The registration of Transform is significant for covered crops as it’s been many years since any new chemistry was registered for greenhouse use, an issue exacerbated as access to older chemistry diminishes. Several years’ work, led by Nikki Johnson of Market Access Solutionz, has gone in to identifying appropriate new chemistry from overseas and working with the chemical companies to gain registration.

Ben suggests options to manage the development of insecticide resistance, including the use of Encarsia parasitic wasps where possible to do so, physical sprays such as Eco Oil or PS1, yellow sticky traps in large numbers as a control, and rotating Transform with insecticides with different modes of action.

Bernard Harris, Dow AgroSciences’ R&D manager supports Ben’s comments. “We advise growers to apply Transform strictly according to label – specifically no more than four applications per crop per season applied at full label rates and ensuring thorough coverage of all treated foliage. We recommend greenhouse growers develop robust insecticide resistance management strategies for each crop and adhering to them. We remember all too well how overuse of previously registered insecticides, such as Applaud®, quickly resulted in ineffective whitefly control! If you aren’t certain of the mode of action of any insecticide, your Fruitfed Supplies technical horticultural representative can assist.”