CEREAL crops in parts of South Australia’s Murraylands region were given a lifeline last season, with the aid of a new insecticide from Dow AgroSciences.
Platinum Ag Services Agronomist Steve Hein, Murraylands, said due to the conditions in the area last season, a number of growers found themselves in “dire straits’’ due to persistent insect infestations.
“We were struggling with alpha cypermethrin and dimethoate to control insects. Some years that’s all we need, but last year we were struggling under the pressure,” Steve said.
“Last season, our Dow (AgroSciences) representative spoke to us about Cobalt Advanced and it made me think it would be a good fit here if we have a heavy infestation year, which we ended up having.
“As a result, we had no hesitation in bringing Cobalt AdvancedTM into the program and it performed sensationally.”
Cobalt Advanced is a new insecticide with two modes of action, chlorpyrifos (1B) and L-cyhalothrin (3A), for controlling earth mites, lucerne flea, cutworms, caterpillars, aphids, weevils and bugs in broadacre crops.
It is approved for use in winter cereals, canola, pulses, lucerne and legume-based or grass pastures.
Cobalt Advanced kills pests through contact as well as ingestion, resulting in a fast knockdown effect visible within 24-48 hours.
Steve said he had five growers who used Cobalt Advanced in cereal crops last season, after an initial application of alpha cypermethrin was unsuccessful.
One grower in particular, near Palmer, had sown early and crops had germinated well, but the warm conditions made for a perfect breeding ground for insects, specifically earth mite and aphids.
“One morning he was driving past a barley paddock through to another farm and he could see the rows had germinated and was happy with it,” Steve said.
“A few days later he was driving past that same paddock and he struggled to find the crop – it had been decimated by earth mites and aphids.
“He called us and we inspected the crop with him and recommended Cobalt Advanced, because of the combination of actives and no resistance issues that we were aware of. I was pretty confident going in with Cobalt (Advanced), knowing that it would target a broad range of insects.”
He said they applied it at a rate of 200 millilitres per hectare in the paddock, which was sown into pea stubble.
“Two days later you could see the plants recovering and getting back on track.’’
“However, on re-inspecting that paddock, we noticed adjacent paddocks were also starting to go backwards under pressure from insects.
“The client grabbed some more Cobalt Advanced and sprayed that whole farm, totalling 200ha.
“The fast knockdown effect on the insects was really pleasing, as well as having a good residual.”
Steve supports farmers throughout the entire Murraylands region, which includes a diverse agricultural mix of broadacre cropping, horticulture and livestock production, with rainfall ranging from 200-600mm.
Considering the success of Cobalt Advanced last season, he said Platinum Ag Services had ordered a lot more of the product this year, expecting more demand from growers over a broader area, particularly if conditions were conducive for insect infestations.
“I haven’t trialled the product in irrigated lucerne or pastures yet, but I think it will have a real fit there,” Steve said.
“As far as the cereal component goes, we know it targets Blackheaded pasture cockchafer and other insects, so it’s a product we can have on the shelf that we know is going to fit a whole range of insects and climate conditions, which is exactly what we need in this area.”