The June 21, 1997 issue of "California-Arizona Farm Press" contains
a story by Dan Bryant entitled "Biological dependence too risky -- Systemics
buffer lygus threat in cotton crop" (page 11). The story is based on a
presentation made by a Kings County (California) farm advisor, Bruce
Roberts. Mr. Roberts, a public employee, was "speaking at a seminar on
sidedressing Temik (aldicarb) insecticide sponsored by Rhone-Poulenc in
After making the case for using aldicarb, Mr. Roberts is quoted as
saying, "Biological control is a noble goal..." but [paraphrasing] does not
work in short-season cotton or vegetable crops. So much for the State's 30
year commitment to biological control research.
Lygus bug infestations in California cotton have led some growers to
early-season applications of OPs, carbamate or synthetic pyrethroid
insecticides -- often triggering other, more serious secondary pest problems
later in the season. Losses in 1995 were large despite 7 to 10 applications
of insecticides in the mid- and late season (for more history on secondary
pest outbreaks triggered by insecticide use in California cotton, see
Chapter 2 in "Pest Management at the Crossroads"). Ongoing lygus problems
have apparently set the stage for another comeback for aldicarb. Elsewhere
in cotton country, other growers are moving in a more biological direction.
I think that organic cotton acreage is continuing to expand in California
and Texas. Can anyone confirm this?
The ongoing struggle with lygus has been reported fully in
"California Farmer" and the "California-Arizona Farm Press" over the last
three years. Most stories in "California Farmer" have quoted a wide range
of experts, including some on both sides of the "nuke'em" versus "manage'em"
debate. Some pest management advisors are recommending a re-evaluation of
lygus thresholds, and new methods to manage populations early in the season
when spraying can cause the most serious problems later in the season.
I wonder what SANETers involved in the California cotton industry
feel about today's options for managing early-season lygus, and about county
farm advisors promoting aldicarb sales at registrant sponsored meetings in
Pismo Beach. Is it really necessary for growers to increase reliance on a
material like aldicarb?
Charles Benbrook 202-546-5089 (voice)
Benbrook Consulting Services 202-546-5028 (fax)
409 First Street S.E. firstname.lastname@example.org [e-mail]
Washington, D.C. 20003 http://www.pmac.net