Rice farmers get more weapons to fight pests

Linda Benedict, Schultz, Bruce  |  2/16/2010 3:10:51 AM

Rice farmers soon will have two more weapons in their arsenals for fighting stink bugs and rice water weevils.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently approved gamma cyhalothrin for use in field, vegetable, tree and vine crops. It will be sold as Proaxis and in a higher-concentrated form called Prolex.Farmers should be able to buy the products in early May.

“They’re additional options for what we already have,” said Boris Castro, an LSU AgCenter entomologist.

They will help replace such chemicals as Furadan and Icon, which both were used to combat rice water weevils. Furadan was removed from the market by the EPA, and Icon is no longer being made by the BASF Corp.

The new products are labeled to control adult rice water weevils, rice stink bugs, chinch bugs, grasshoppers and leafhoppers. Both are applied to the foliage of rice plants, Castro said.

LSU AgCenter entomologist Mike Stout said the newer chemicals should be used after seeing weevils in the field or after finding signs they have been feeding on rice plants. Although the AgCenter doesn’t recommend pre-emptive treatment, many farmers use that approach, he said.

“In South Louisiana, you can almost guarantee you’ll have weevils in the fields,” Stout said.

Bruce Schultz

(This article appeared in the spring 2004 issue of Louisiana Agriculture.)

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