EPA has granted Section 18 emergency exemption requests for the application of Transform WG insecticide on plant bugs in cotton in the Mid-South states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee.
The granting of the request comes as many farmers and consultants are spraying for thrips and are scouting small cotton for tarnished plant bugs and cotton aphids on the increased number of cotton acres in the five-state region.
Transform had become the foundation of many cotton growers’ pest management programs because of its control of tarnished plant bugs and cotton aphids, but the product’s registration was vacated as a result of an order by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in response to lawsuits filed by environmental activists.
“Tarnished plant bug represents a real threat to cotton producers in the Mid-South,” says Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension entomologist. “Since its introduction, Transform has reduced overall tarnished plant bug applications and provided significant yield increases and return in gross revenues.
“Transform has been used on more than 3 million acres across the Midsouth region with zero reported incidents of adverse effects on bees or other pollinators,” said Lorenz, a member of the Mid-South Entomologists Working Group.
Transform® WG insecticide was federally registered in 2013 for use in cotton, but that registration was vacated as a result of the Ninth Circuit Court order. The recently-approved Section 18s will allow producers in the Mid-South states to use Transform to control tarnished plant bug populations in the 2016 season.
The length of time EPA took for reviewing the Section 18 requests had become a source of concern for many growers, consultants and university entomologists. Mississippi’s U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker wrote to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in early May asking the agency to expedite the process.
EPA had already granted Section 18 emergency exemption requests for the use of Transform WG on sugarcane aphids in grain sorghum in multiple states.
“Documentation of plant bugs resistant to multiple insecticides created extreme concern that, without Transform, producers would not have sufficient modes of action to manage damaging plant bug populations,” said Jeff Gore, entomologist with the Delta Research and Extension Center at Stoneville, Miss. “We are grateful that growers in Mississippi have this tool back in their arsenal this season.”
For more on the use of Transform, visit www.TransformMyCotton.com.