Don’t Let Pests Steal Your Yield

(Sponsored) Regardless of the year or the winter temperatures that precede spring planting, it’s not a matter of if the Colorado potato beetle will emerge with warm spring temperatures. It’s a matter of when pest pressure will build to threshold levels. 

Pacific Northwest potato growers know they must have a plan to minimize crop damage this destructive pest causes. 

A Colorado potato beetle nymph in potatoes.

“Colorado potato beetle is our No. 1 pest. We expect pressure to be somewhat down from normal this year, but they are certainly still out there,” says Washington potato farmer Jordan Reed. “Temperatures dropped below zero this winter, but we need at least five days of freezing soil temperatures, at least 8 inches deep, to get rid of volunteer potato plants.” 

Because non-potato rotational crops are rarely, if ever, treated with an insecticide targeting Colorado potato beetle, the pest can thrive on volunteer potato plants in these non-potato fields. 

With staggered potato plantings, farmers face multiple generations of Colorado potato beetle and other pests in one cropping season. 

Reed and fellow Washington potato grower Grant Morris also are monitoring for green peach aphids, mites, psyllids and potato tuberworm. 

They also monitor their fields for lygus infestations. “While they are likely out there, they may not be present at populations large enough to be financially damaging,” Morris says. 

At planting in early March, Morris and Reed both treat with Vydate® C-LV insecticide/nematicide to improve control of root-knot, stubby and lesion nematodes and to capture the plant health benefits the product offers. 

“We will apply Vydate at planting and again beginning when accumulated degree days reach 1440, which marks the first nematode hatch,” Morris says. “Degree days in Washington are determined by ambient temperatures and soil temperatures 8 to 10 inches deep.” 

That application will be repeated every two weeks for the remainder of the season, as needed. 

In some years, an insecticide is applied for aphid control. “We use Transform WG insecticide and it does its job,” says Morris. 

Later in the season, often beginning sometime in June, a tank mix that includes Delegate® WG insecticide with Jemvelva™ active (spinetoram) will target in-season pests, including the Colorado potato beetle. Product selection and timing are based on defoliation and pest count thresholds. 

With the targeted control and residual activity Delegate offers, potato growers can effectively control problematic pests. 

“Delegate holds them back for a while,” Reed says. “The residual activity Delegate provides allows us to space out insecticide applications. That minimizes the number of sprays we need to make and limits the amount of active ingredient we’re using.” 

Morris adds, “The less active ingredient we put out there the better it is from an environmental and sustainability standpoint.” 

With limited miticide options, Delegate also helps Reed and Morris avoid flaring mites, whereas some competing treatments tend to flare mite populations. 

“If you go out with an insecticide that kills everything out there, the mites will be the first pest back,” Morris says. 

Another advantage Delegate offers is a short preharvest interval. 

“Short preharvest intervals are key, and that’s a big advantage for Delegate,” Reed says. “It becomes an even bigger deal as you get closer to harvest, and it is something that keeps Delegate at the top of our list.” 

Visit DelegateWG.Corteva.US to find out what Delegate can do for your potato operation. 

 ™ ® Trademarks of Corteva Agriscience and its affiliated companies. Vydate® C-LV is a Restricted Use Pesticide. Transform® WG and Vydate C-LV are not registered for sale or use in all states. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your state. Jemvelva™ is a registered active ingredient. 

Always read and follow label directions. 

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