Sorghum leaves with a heavy infestation of sugarcane aphids

Sorghum leaves with a heavy infestation of sugarcane aphids.

EPA grants Section 18 to combat sorghum aphid in Ariz.

The state of Arizona has received a Section 18 emergency exemption from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the use of Transform WG insecticide (Dow AgroSciences) to combat sugarcane aphid in Arizona sorghum.

The state of Arizona has received a Section 18 emergency exemption from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the use of Transform WG insecticide (Dow AgroSciences) to control sugarcane aphid in sorghum.

According to Ayman Mostafa, University of Arizona (UA) Cooperative Extension area agent in central Arizona, the sugarcane aphid is a new pest that’s highly invasive and hard to control in sorghum with many older insecticide chemistries.

Due to the eminent economic harm the pest poses to sorghum producers and dairies, Arizona sorghum growers can now apply for a permit from the Arizona Department of Agriculture and use Transform WG immediately to control sugarcane aphid.

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According to Dow, Transform is a fast-acting insecticide from a proprietary class of chemistry introduced commercially in 2013 in cotton, potatoes, canola, soybeans and other crops. Last year, Section 18 exemptions were granted in many states for control of sugarcane aphids in sorghum.

Mostafa urges Arizona growers to follow and comply with all instructions provided by ADA and on the Section 18 label for Transform WG. The permit request is available online at https://agriculture.az.gov/sites/default/files/Transform%20Use%20Application.pdf. The completed form can be e-mailed to ADA at [email protected].

In turn, ADA will provide a Section 18 label which the producer must keep on hand when using Transform WG under the exemption.

In Arizona, the sugarcane aphid has been found in Pinal, Maricopa, and Pima counties. The pest has also targeted sorghum fields in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

“Sugarcane aphids continue to be a problem and sorghum growers in affected states need an effective control option like Transform to combat this devastating pest,” says Todd Pilcher, Dow product manager.

Section 18 approvals for use on sorghum have also been issued in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia for 2016.

Telltale signs of sugarcane aphid include black sooty mold on sorghum leaves after sufficient levels of honeydew – the sugary substance excreted by the sugarcane aphid – are present. The mold prohibits the leaf’s ability to collect sunlight, robbing the plant of essential photosynthesis essential for growth. 

Further damage is caused when aphid feeding causes the plant to dry out which reduces moisture levels below the amount needed for fermentation as silage. Plants stressed by the pest also have a reduced ability to fill the grain head.

Ayman credits several people and groups for their leadership and work to gain the Section 18 exemption, including: ADA Director Mark Killian who formally requested the emergency declaration; Mike Buben and Ken Narramore, independent pest control advisers who wrote letters to EPA on the product need; Arizona dairyman KC Gingg for his letter of support; UA Arizona Pest Management Center; the Arizona Farm Bureau; and Dow.

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