Recent cancellation announcements for products that have been mainstays for pest control along with increasingly large numbers of weed species and other pests developing resistance to once highly effective products emphasizes the need to practice product stewardship.

Cotton farmers have to be smart about using available tools to manage insect, weed and disease pests and to ensure that effective tools remain available into the future, say university pest management specialists.

University of Georgia scientists discussed potential for new products to help farmers manage weeds, insects and diseases and offered suggestions on keeping current chemistries effective during a Crop Consultants’ Conference, a segment of the annual Beltwide Cotton Conferences held recently in Atlanta.

R.C. Kemerait said consultants need to help growers “make the best decisions” on using seed treatments for nematode and disease control. “Ten years ago, seed treatments were primarily fungicides,” Kemerait said. “Now, we are more aggressive with seed treatments and have new chemistries that expand the pest control spectrum.”

He said in-furrow pesticides may be more effective but growers “appreciate the convenience of seed treatments.”

Also, the most popular in-furrow product, Temik, will be off the market in a few years. “Seed treatments will sustain the stand,” he said. “There is nothing like Temik and I don’t think we will have anything like it again.”

Losing that product has generated interest in controlling nematodes, he said. “So, how do we use existing technology to get necessary control of nematodes?”

He said Telone II is one possibility but is expensive. “Risk management zones may be one practical approach.” Nematodes are distributed according to soil type. Southern root-knot nematodes tend to populate sandier soils, for instance.

Kemerait said identifying soil types and targeting those areas with treatments improve efficacy and economy of Telone applications.

He also recommended choosing cotton varieties with nematode tolerance when possible. He also noted three fungicides labeled for cotton—Topsin-M, Headline and Quadris.

“Don’t take nematodes or diseases for granted,” Kemerait said. “We do have tools to control them.”