New insecticide is the preferred weapon against chewing pests - Elders Rural Services
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New insecticide is the preferred weapon against chewing pests

It has taken little time for a new insecticide to become a preferred rotational partner against chewing pests in brassica as well as leafy and fruiting vegetable crops.

Plemax®, from ADAMA Australia, has introduced a new mode of action in this segment, novaluron (Group 15), in combination with the trusted strength of indoxacarb (Group 22A). It is particularly helping to combat hard-to-control diamondback moth (DBM) and helicoverpa, whilst importantly extending the life of existing chemistry against these and other key chewing pests.

Indoxacarb is a widely used knockdown insecticide and in combination with novaluron, a slower mode of action insect growth regulator (IGR), which has improved treatment efficacy and reduced the risk of resistance developing. Both have similar residual activity and rainfastness, further increasing the likelihood of target pests ingesting the active ingredients.

Local field trials impress growers

ADAMA Australia commercial manager in southern and Far North Queensland Jake Sullivan, said fantastic results with Plemax compared with other insecticides had made it the ideal option for DBM control.

“During two in-field walks in brassica crops in 2020, the reduced shot-hole from the application of Plemax was clearly evident,’’ Jake said.

Jake added that Plemax was an excellent “rotational fit’’. It would assist management strategies against Group 28-resistant DBM populations and it was effective for integrated pest management programs, based on crop monitoring, economic thresholds and beneficial insects.

Cauliflower on the menu

ADAMA Australia market development manager Alistair Crawford, who also supports the industry in Tasmania, said Victorian brassica and leafy vegetable growers can face about four generations of multiple resistant DBM each year. DBM from Victoria can also land in Tasmania.

“DBM is the main target for our broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and leafy veg growers at Werribee, Cranbourne, to the north east and over to Tassie, and we do also get helicoverpa,’’ Alistair said.

“There are mild forms of resistance to a number of actives.

“The dual mode of action knockdown and IGR with Plemax, and its residual, is becoming a key part of insecticide programs in rotation with other chemistry. Group 28 and 2B insecticides are coming under pressure.’’

Alistair said trials at Werribee in cauliflower had shown excellent results alongside other benchmark insecticides.

“You could see some of the standards weren’t working as well in comparison, showing some damage, crop losses and non-marketable product.

“The trials also highlighted some good sequencing of insecticides with Plemax in order to achieve the best results.”

Two modes of attack on helicoverpa

ADAMA Australia commercial manager central Queensland and the Northern Territory Brett Hansen, said Plemax was being used mainly to control helicoverpa in tomato, capsicum, chili and other fruiting vegetables, as well as hard-to-control DBM in some Asian vegetable crops.

“Plemax is adding to the rotation of insecticide chemistry groups with its two modes of action attacking pests from two different directions, and with good residual activity, effectively taking the pressure off other groups, especially Group 28.

“The novaluron controls younger instars of insects, but, as a co-formulated knockdown and IGR containing two different actives, Plemax controls multiple pest populations at different life cycle stages”, he added.

He said growers of Asian vegetables had enjoyed success against DBM after trialling the new insecticide.

“There are a lot of resistant DBM up here. Growers have used Plemax once and they are now spraying it again – so that’s a sign.

“It all comes back to marketable fruit and with other crops as well, like broccoli, you can see the difference with Plemax against key chewing pests compared with standard insecticides and untreated areas, where there can be bullet holes everywhere.’’

ADAMA Australia’s Queensland and NT market development manager Jim O’Connor agreed that Plemax was an excellent rotational partner to help prolong the life of existing chemistry, especially considering its strength compared with other benchmark insecticides.

Plemax is also supported in select areas by ADAMA Australia’s Trapview Predictive Pest Network. This insect monitoring system comprises a national network of more than 500 smart traps that provide real-time monitoring of populations to assist more effective and accurate applications.

Article written by ADAMA Australia for Seasons magazine. 

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