Bayer CropScience will stop manufacturing Temik insecticide in 2014, will stop sales in 2016 and farmers must stop using the soil-applied insecticide by 2018, leaving cotton and peanut farmers at a loss on how to manage nematodes and early-season insects.

“This means pressure on scientists to see how to manage better while industry improves seed treatments or comes up with alternatives,” says Megha Parajulee, Texas AgriLife entomologist at the Lubbock Research and Extension Center.

Terry wheeler, Texas AgriLife research plant pathologist at the Research and Extension Center says nematode control without Temik will be reduced by half.

“I don’t see any new chemistry coming to replace Temik,” Wheeler said. “We’ll probably lose more products. We will have to learn to do with less control.”

Fumigants expensive

She said cotton farmers may use fumigants but expense may be prohibitive. “Fumigation runs about $60 per acre, just for the product,” she said. She said fumigants also may be pulled from the market.

“We have no substitute yet,” Parajulee says. Seed treatments offer an option but they “don’t last as long as Temik, maybe a week less. We get from two to three weeks of protection with seed treatments now; we get three to four weeks with Temik.”

He’s more concerned about thrips infestations than nematodes. “We expect significant stress for thrips control in cotton.”

Temik may not be as widely used for thrips management in other cotton-producing areas, “but it is important in West Texas and we now produce 25 percent of the country’s cotton in the High Plains. Loss of Temik will be crucial.”

Farmers have used Temik at 3 to 3.5 pounds per acre to control thrips. “They may bump that up to 5 pounds for nematodes.”

Nobel Laminack, Bayer CropScience sales representative, says Temik has been a valuable product for High Plains cotton farmers. “Ten years of data show a 100 pound to 110 pound yield increase with Temik,” he says.

Options available

Parajulee says farmers have options, just none as effective as Temik. He says crop rotation and tillage management –switching to a reduced tillage system—are possibilities for improved thrips control in cotton.

“Tillage systems can have a significant effect on thrips,” he says.

He also says time is on the side of farmers. “We have eight years until farmers can no longer use Temik,” he says. “That gives the industry six to seven years to re-adjust, do more research and identify ways to get the same level of management for thrips.”

He says Texas AgriLife cotton breeders and other researchers are looking for thrips tolerance, improved varieties and better seed treatments. “All those are possibilities.”

In the meantime, he says the system “will have to reset. Our systems change over time.”

Peanut effect

The situation may be even more critical in peanuts.

“Without Temik we may be in a world of hurt,” said John Damicone, Oklahoma State University Extension plant pathologist, at a recent peanut field day at the Caddo Research Station in Fort Cobb. “We really don’t have another nematicide for peanuts.”

Damicone said farmers in Caddo County, a major peanut producing county, “rotate well. But they still use Temik on most of the acreage to control Northern Rootknot nematode.”

He said Vydate might help but that several other nematicides once available “have been pulled. And now Temik will be gone.”

The best option, he said, will be rotation, particularly with cotton.”With two years out of peanuts and one in we shouldn’t have to treat for nematodes,” Damicone said. “Three years out of peanuts would be better but farmers should stay out for two years at a minimum.”

Plant resistance likely will improve. Several cotton and two peanut varieties currently have nematode resistance but need tweaking. “The resistant cotton varieties are too loose for West Texas,” Wheeler says. “We need research into resistant varieties that are adapted to this area.”

COAN and NemaTAM (both Texas A&M peanut varieties) are resistant to some nematodes but not the Northern Rootknot that troubles Oklahoma and some New Mexico growers. “We don’t have resistance for those,” she said. “But for peanut and javanica nematodes we have pretty good resistance.”

Damicone said Oklahoma peanut farmers had “pretty good resistance to the Northern Rootknot nematode at one time. But with variety crosses we lost that resistance. We have potential to breed for nematode resistance. In the meantime, losing Temik will be a problem.”

Wheeler says Temik has been a highly effective in-furrow treatment for nematode control because it reduces the first generation of nematodes. “That’s the most important generation.”

Seed treatments

Seed treatments help but the insecticide applied to the seed doesn’t offer the distribution farmers get with Temik applied in the furrow, Wheeler says.

Vydate may offer some in-season nematode control. “We can apply Vydate around pin head square but we don’t get that first generation of nematodes,” she says.

Wheeler says new chemistry being developed does not have the efficacy farmers will lose with Temik.

“Nematode control will be much harder without Temik.”