Two new seed treatments offer significant potential for corn producers, according to LSU AgCenter entomologist Jack Baldwin. Baldwin said the development of these neonicotinoid insecticides has been a significant advancement in seed-treatment technology.
“Corn producers are aware of the importance of planting early and establishing a healthy, vigorous corn stand,” Baldwin said, explaining producers often must use some form of insecticide to protect corn seedlings from soil insects and other early-season pests such as cutworms and chinch bugs.
The insecticide protection can be in the form of liquid and granular soil insecticides, pre-emergence sprays or seed treatments, Baldwin said.
But treated seeds have distinct advantages, and the new treatments offer even more advantages.
“Commercial seed treatments offer the advantage of application ease, since the seed come pretreated and no additional application equipment is needed,” Baldwin said, adding, “The neonicotinoid seed treatments offer the potential for broad spectrum insect control and extended residual.”
As a result of the neonicotinoid developments, two new seed treatments will be among those recommended by the LSU AgCenter to Louisiana growers this year. Those new treatments on the recommendation lists are Poncho and Cruiser.
“Poncho is a broad-spectrum insecticide, but the degree of control and the pests which will be controlled depend on the rate of application,” Baldwin said. “That is, a high seed treatment rate will provide a broader spectrum of effective control than a lower seed treatment rate.”
Poncho will be available only on pretreated seed and only at two rates. These seed treatments will be sold as Poncho 250 and Poncho 1250.
“It is important that producers understand the limitations of the low rate, as well as the advantages of the high rate,” Baldwin stressed.
The Poncho 250 seed treatment is labeled for control of chinch bugs, black cutworms, seed corn maggot, southern green stink bug and several other pests that are not common problems in Louisiana, such as white grub and wireworm.
LSU AgCenter research confirms the chinch bug control but indicates the Poncho 250 product may be a little weak on cutworms and brown stink bugs, Baldwin said. Effective control of those two pests was obtained with an experimental rate slightly higher than that of Poncho 250, he said.
Poncho 1250 is a seed treatment rate five-times higher than Poncho 250. It will control all the pests mentioned above plus southern corn rootworm. There are no in-between rates available on commercially treated seed this year.
“Poncho is an advanced neonicotinoid seed treatment from the same company that sold Gaucho and Prescribe seed treatments for corn,” Baldwin said, adding, “It is my understanding that Gaucho and Prescribe will not be offered in 2004, except on pre-existing seed stocks.”
Poncho 250 and/or Poncho 1250 will be offered by more than 75 seed companies, including DeKalb, Garst, Golden Acres, Pioneer, Terral and Dyna-Gro.
Cruiser is the second neonicotinoid seed treatment that will be recommended for the 2004 season.
Cruiser is labeled at wide rate range (0.125 to 1.25 milligrams active ingredient per seed kernel) for a variety of soil and early-season insects such as wireworm, seed corn maggot, white grub, chinch bugs, cutworm suppression and rootworms.
“Cruiser is similar to Poncho in that the higher seed treatment rates will provide better control for a broader spectrum of insect pests and that Cruiser will be available only on pre-treated seed,” Baldwin explained, adding, “It is my understanding that most Cruiser-treated corn seed will be at a rate of 0.125 pound active ingredient per seed, although one regional seed company may provide seed treated at 0.25 pound active ingredient per seed.”
LSU AgCenter research indicates that the lower rate will give adequate chinch bug control but is not effective for cutworms, Baldwin said, adding that the product label says neither of these two rates will control rootworms.
Cruiser seed treatment will be offered by more than 30 seed companies, including Terral, Pioneer, NK Brand and Genesis.
“Producers also can achieve effective early-season control with the standard recommended soil insecticides — Counter 15G, Lorsban 15G, Force 3G, Thimet 20G Aztec 2.1G, Regent 4SC, Capture 2 and Furadan 4F,” Baldwin said.
Liquid and granular soil insecticides can be applied at planting, either in-furrow or in a T-band. In some cases it may be necessary to band a recommended liquid cutworm insecticide behind the planter, the LSU AgCenter entomologist said.
Contact: Jack Baldwin at (225) 578-2180 or [email protected] 
Tom Merrill is News Editor for LSU AgCenter Communications. (225-578-5896 or [email protected] )