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November 2012 Archive for Syngenta Field Report

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The Syngenta Field Report features information and experts from Syngenta sharing observations about issues growers are dealing with in the fields.

Palmer amaranth, a new weed for the North

Nov 28, 2012

By Gordon Vail, PhD, technical product lead

As if there wasn’t already enough to worry about with glyphosate-resistant weeds like waterhemp, marestail and giant ragweed expanding, there is a new weed making its presence known in the North. If what Palmer amaranth (or Palmer pigweed) has done to agricultural production in the South is any indication, many Northern farmers may soon long for the day when all they had to control in their fields was waterhemp, marestail or ragweed.

palmer amaranth young
Young Palmer amaranth plant

There are a few key things that you need to know about Palmer amaranth. First and foremost, researchers agree that it is the most aggressive of all pigweed species with respect to growth rate and can grow from 1-2 inches per day during its peak growth. Because of its impressive growth rate, it is also the most competitive of the pigweed species. It has been said that if you want to get rid of your waterhemp problem, plant Palmer amaranth close by and you won’t have to worry about waterhemp ever again.

Like waterhemp, Palmer amaranth has both male and female plants and is a prolific pollen and seed producer, which makes the spread more rapid. Essentially all of the Palmer amaranth in the Southern U.S. is resistant to glyphosate, so it is highly likely that the plants showing up in the North are already resistant to glyphosate.

The management and control of Palmer amaranth must be aggressive and proactive. Because of its aggressive growth pattern, relying on only post-emergence herbicides to control this weed is not a viable option. Making timely post-emergence applications to a weed that grows 1-2 inches per day and needs to be controlled before it reaches four inches in height is impractical. The lesson that was painfully learned in Southern cotton and soybean fields was that if glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth wasn’t controlled before it was 2-4 inches tall, it could not be controlled other than by hand weeding. In several instances, entire fields were abandoned because the Palmer pigweed took over the field. The good news is that the Southern U.S. fields have far less visible Palmer amaranth this year than 2-3 years ago because growers aggressively adopted residual herbicides to control this weed.

palmer amaranth
Palmer Amaranth plant

The key to controlling Palmer amaranth is to start clean and stay clean by utilizing a two-pass weed control program. This means applying a pre-emergence herbicide such as Lumax® EZ or Lexar® EZ in corn and follow with a post-emergence herbicide such as Halex® GT. Similarly, for soybean production, apply pre-emergence herbicides such as Boundary® and follow with a post-emergence application of Flexstar® GT 3.5.

Palmer amaranth is an aggressive weed but can be managed and controlled if the approach is proactive, aggressive and diligent. Everyone has seen the photos of the Palmer amaranth horror stories from the South. Don’t let your field be the next Palmer amaranth story.

©2012 Syngenta. Important: Always read and follow all bag tag and label instructions before buying or using Syngenta products. The instructions contain important conditions of sale, including limitations of warranty and remedy. Some products may not be registered for sale or use in all states or counties. Please check with your state or local extension service before buying or using Syngenta products. Lexar EZ and Lumax EZ are Restricted Use Pesticides. Flexstar GT 3.5 is not currently registered for sale or use in all states. Boundary®, Flexstar®, Halex®, Lexar®, Lumax®, the Alliance frame, the Purpose icon and the Syngenta logo are trademarks of a Syngenta Group Company.

The Kudzu Bug Invasion

Nov 16, 2012

This past season, the South had an unwelcome visitor. Coming in the form of insect pests, the intruder decided to stay all season long. It’s easy to say that kudzu bugs received little hospitality from their newfound landlords – soybean growers.

As the name would suggest, kudzu is this insect pest’s meal of choice. But the kudzu bug demonstrated an extended appetite in 2012. The new meal to spice up their diet? You guessed it: soybeans. Hailing all the way from Asia, the kudzu bug was first spotted in Georgia in the fall of 2009, according to researchers from Clemson University Extension. The pests took little time to invade more of the South, spreading through South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Virginia and Tennessee, leaving behind a trail of damaged soybeans.

Kudzu bug adults

According to researchers at North Carolina State University, the kudzu bug moves from kudzu patches and other legume hosts in the spring to soybeans in July and August. It feeds by sucking nutrients from leaves and stems, causing stress in the plant. Large, uncontrolled populations of these nutrient-robbing pests have the potential to significantly reduce yields. Average yield loss for untreated soybeans due to kudzu bugs has been observed at 20 percent in South Carolina and Georgia, but could be as high as 50 percent, as reported by researchers at Clemson University.

How do we stop this unwanted visitor from destroying our soybean yield? Growers are encouraged to begin scouting for the pest in the spring and continue scouting for future generations throughout the season. (Scouters beware: the kudzu bug emits a foul odor when disturbed, similar to its stinkbug cousins.) Without a doubt, proactive management of this prolific invasive pest will minimize damage and preserve yield.

To ensure effective kudzu management for next season, researchers throughout the Southeast are working hard to help growers by determining proper scouting methods, precise economic thresholds and the best control measures for the insect. This work has clearly indicated that among registered options there is a short list of insecticides that provide the most effective control. Among the short list is a Syngenta offer. Endigo® ZC insecticide quickly helps combat kudzu bugs and provides extended residual control of these and other soybean insect pests. To maximize your opportunity for a profitable harvest next season, be sure to take advantage of industry-leading pest control from Syngenta.

For more information about Endigo ZC and other products in the Syngenta portfolio, please visit the www.FarmAssist.com. And be sure to follow Syngenta on Twitter or Facebook.


©2012 Syngenta. Important: Always read and follow all bag tag and label instructions before buying or using Syngenta products. The instructions contain important conditions of sale, including limitations of warranty and remedy. Some crop protection products and seed treatments may not be registered for sale or use in all states or counties. Please check with your state or local extension service before buying or using these products. Endigo ZC is a Restricted Use Pesticide. Endigo ZC is highly toxic to bees exposed to direct treatment on blooming crops and weeds. Do not apply this product or allow it to drift onto blooming plants while bees are foraging adjacent to the treatment area. Endigo® and the Syngenta logo are registered trademarks of a Syngenta Group Company.

Stop Rhizoctonia in your sugarbeet crop

Nov 02, 2012
For sugarbeet growers, Rhizoctonia is a common foe of their sugarbeet crops. Rhizoctonia is a fungus that favors hot temperatures and often overwinters in the soil and on plant tissue before beginning a new season of infection in the spring. Different types of Rhizoctonia called anastomosis groups (AGs) cause a number of diseases like crown and root rot, damping off and foliar blight. Rhizoctonia penetrates the beet through leaf petioles, the crown or the root and can cause up to a 50 percent loss in yield.
 
Rhizoctonia damaged leaf
 
Prevention of Rhizoctonia is critical. Management practices begin in the fall with post-harvest field work and careful varietal selection. Oliver T. Neher, University of Idaho extension plant pathologist emphasized the importance of taking time after harvest to minimize inoculum for following years. "It is important to manage plant residues. Plan crop rotation to break up infection cycles and to reduce inoculum buildup. Minimize areas with standing water, hard pans or soil compaction, as they favor the development of Rhizoctonia."
 
A proactive approach of planting tolerant varieties is especially important in fields with a chronic history of the disease. Corn and dry beans are alternate host crops for Rhizoctonia, which means that different crops should be considered for rotation with sugarbeets.  With all crop rotations, it is important to maintain a clean field as Rhizoctonia has many alternate hosts in weed species, too. "Growers should use all the tools available to maintain a healthy crop and prevent Rhizoctonia. Plant a tolerant variety and apply a seed treatment. Make a fungicide application and watch irrigation amounts and schedule," Neher explained.
 
Choose wisely
Because Rhizoctonia is soil borne and has an effect on many crops, sugarbeets are at risk even before they are planted. Experts recommend planting tolerant seed varieties like Hilleshog® brand varieties to help the crop stand up to the disease.
 
"I strongly recommend that my growers use tolerant varieties. Planting tolerant or highly tolerant varieties is the most important tool we have. As part of an integrated pest management (IPM) program, the use of a tolerant variety is the first step that should be taken as they are effective in minimizing losses due to Rhizoctonia later in the season," Neher said.
 
Treat your crop twice
Because the Rhizoctonia trait kicks in later in the season, it’s crucial to protect the crop from the moment the seed hits the soil. Syngenta Agronomic Service Representative Jim Johnson of Michigan urges growers to use a seed treatment when planting. As the crop emerges in spring, scouting becomes essential. Neher cautioned, "If you see a lot of wilted plants in the field with dried up brown and black petioles around them, it is a really good indication that you have Rhizoctonia." To positively identify Rhizoctonia, Neher said, "Dig up those beets! It’s not a good idea to go with foliar indicators alone. Take a shovel and dig it up. Then take a knife and cut the beet in half to find the margin of healthy and diseased tissue of the beet." 
 
Neher warned that Rhizoctonia is not going away and growers need to embrace management practices to reduce the risk of infection. "Sadly, we are going to see an increase in this disease," Neher stated. "Our crop rotation gets closer and closer with fewer non-host crops being planted on the same acres as sugarbeets. I tell my growers and crop consultants that they need to start keeping a log of fields with Rhizoctonia, so that when they come back to plant in that field, they can make a sound decision by using a tolerant variety and seed treatment."
 
Important: Always read and follow all bag tag and label instructions before buying or using Syngenta products. The instructions contain important conditions of sale, including limitations of warranty and remedy. Some crop protection products and seed treatments may not be registered for sale or use in all states or counties. Please check with your state or local extension service before buying or using Syngenta products. CruiserMaxx Sugarbeets is a treater-applied combination of separately registered products containing Cruiser 5FS insecticide and three fungicides: Apron XL, Maxim 4FS and Dynasty. Apron XL®, CruiserMaxx®, Cruiser®, Dynasty®, Hilleshog®, Maxim®, Quadris® and the Syngenta logo are registered trademarks of a Syngenta Group Company. Hilleshog is a business unit of Syngenta Seeds, Inc.
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