Complacency Builds Resistance

Mix up your pesticide plan while being mindful of cost ( Farm Journal )

With today’s tight margins, Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie is fielding calls from farmers looking to cut their pesticide bill.

“Pesticide options seem unlimited with brand name manufacturers, large wholesale companies renaming and mixing brand name products and an extensive generic product lineup,” Ferrie says. “While the name might be different, there aren’t many different active ingredients.”

Take inventory of the products you plan to use to protect your crops, Ferrie suggests. Pay attention to mode of action, which is listed on the product label. If the product is a tank mix of multiple modes, they should be listed on the label as well.

Once you’ve sorted through your arsenal, review past scouting notes to refresh yourself on what fields have resistance issues and to what modes or sites of action. Chart every mode of action used on a field the previous six years. See what kind of diversity you have in your mode of action selection. After this exercise, you’ll soon know why you’re fighting resistance, Ferrie says.

“If something works, I like to keep using it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” he explains. “But when it comes to pest control, once it breaks, we can’t fix it. It’s a product that’s gone from our arsenal.”

If you use generic products, be mindful of the strength of the active ingredient. Most generics require a higher rate to get the same active ingredient per acre as the brand name. Even low rates lead to resistance.

Don’t forget to loop in your retailers to avoid resistance.

Each week, Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie shares practical agronomic insights based on his field research and observations.