Bayer Helping Farmers Defend Sorghum Crops from Damage Threatened by Sugarcane AphidsMon, 06 Mar 2017 13:19:18 CST
Sorghum farmers in Oklahoma are facing a new threat these days, from the Sugarcane Aphid populations that have started to encroach across many of the Southern states. Although these pests originally were of little economic consequence when they preferred to munch on sugarcane, they have suddenly and inexplicably switched hosts, now targeting sorghum. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Associate Farm Director Carson Horn had the chance to speak with Bayer chemical marketing insider Frank Ritteman, about these pests and what producers should do to keep from getting an infestation in their crop, during the Bayer AgVocacy Forum this week in San Antonio. You can hear the conversation that Horn had with Ritteman by clicking on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this story.
According to Ritterman sugarcane aphids can double their population size in a given field within two days. At this rate of reproduction, these insects are capable of wiping out an entire crop. Ritteman says he has seen some cases where aphids have caused losses of 60 to 100 percent. The good news though, says Ritteman, is that the pest can be managed.
“If you don’t treat for it, it will be an economic loss for you,” he said. “When you budget for your crop, we recommend every grower budget for a treatment and then be prepared for it rather than the upset of potentially not having to do it rather than having to face unexpected expenses.”
Ritteman adds that farmers should scout their fields regularly to spot early signs of infestation, reiterating that populations can double in size in only two days. He says, too, that farmers may consider planting early if they can, noting that sugarcane aphids tend to appear late in the growing season. You can also consult your seed supplier on available resistant and hybrid varieties. One tool to help combat infestations, suggests Ritteman, is Bayer’s Sivanto insecticide.
“That’s our latest insecticide innovation,” he said, “conceived more as a specialty crop product but it’s that effective on aphids and has a full sorghum label.”
Ritteman says for now, it looks as though the aphid is here to stay for the foreseeable future and producers should have a plan in place to deter them from their fields. He recommends that if you do end up with a consistent aphid problem, you should interchange your insecticide each year with another, to keep aphids from building a resistance.
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