Brandenburg V-C Peanut News Article Peanut Notes No. 180 2023

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Changes in Latitudes, Change in Attitudes

Rick Brandenburg

Entomology Extension Specialist

North Carolina State University

Jimmy Buffet wrote a song many years ago with the title of “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes.”  Basically it was about how a change of scenery can change how you look at things. Or something like that. In farming, we have a strong tendency to look at things the same year after year. Sometimes, that makes us a bit resistant to change because we see everything from the same perspective year after year since we rarely get to enjoy that change in latitude.

Often, our changes in attitude are forced upon us and we have to change because we have no choice. In peanut insect management the Environmental Protection Agency canceled all crop uses of chlorpyrifos (Lorsban) and changes were quickly forced upon us. While we had a little insight into the fact that this was going to happen, we did not have the time nor resources to develop alternative strategies. In addition, while Lorsban was still available and had the market captured, companies were not too interested in spending funds to develop a replacement. While we have made some recent advances on getting closer to some answers to replace Lorsban, we are not there yet.

Many decades ago, I wrote an article for the VC Peanut News and the title was something like “Everything Changes, Nothing Stays the Same” from a book I used to read to my kids. My point was that no matter how well a practice or a product worked, you needed to be looking ahead because things were going to change. Over the years, in peanut pest management, we have seen a lot of products come and go and our approaches to insect management have changed.

When synthetic pyrethroid insecticides came out long, long ago, we thought we had our answers for caterpillar or worm control in peanuts, cotton, and soybeans. Low use rates, low mammalian toxicity, and very effective. Over time the cost went down and we liked that too. But also over time, we began to see other pests that pyrethroids didn’t control sort of crawl out from under the rug. We also saw insecticide resistance begin to show up in corn earworm/bollworms and over time, we had to consider making changes. Fortunately, there were new, non-pyrethroid products with broad spectrums, great effectiveness, and a bigger price tag. But they got us on to the next step.

Now we are starting to see some issues in our thrips control early in the season. Way back in the day. Temik (aldicarb) was the standard and other products filled in the gaps. Then tomato spotted wilt virus hit and we became even more concerned about a high standard of thrips control. The next thing we know the manufacturer of Temik decided to quit selling it. Everyone was taking a second look at Thimet (phorate), and Admire Pro and acephate in furrow and as a post emerge foliar spray. Then another version of aldicarb came back as Ag Logic. So there were a lot options and it seemed like everyone had their own opinion as to what worked best for them. David Jordan and I also collected a lot of data that confirmed there was value in a foliar spray of acephate at 3 weeks post plant.

Lately, however, we heard report of thrips becoming resistant to some of these most common insecticides for thrips control. Over the past ten years, David Jordan and I have recorded a drop in the performance of Admire Pro over the years. Not a failure, but slowly declining control. This is consistent with what has been seen in other crops using imidacloprid and the trend for neonicotinoids and thrips control. However, we’ve also seen a modest trend that phorate may be losing some of its punch. We will continue to monitor its performance. Finally, there have been reports of thrips resistance to acephate in North Carolina. We have not observed failures in North Carolina peanuts in 2023. But we need to watch this.

Based on this research and our observations, we will most likely make some adjustments to our recommendations for 2024. It’s why we are here. On your part, you will listen to us, make a wise choice based on your experiences and put the 2024 crop in the soil next spring. We all have been going through these changes and adjustments for a long time. As I add up my time as the peanut entomologist and my time in graduate school, I have 42 years of working on insect control in peanuts. Things have changed a lot on a regular basis and we’ve all done what we was needed to produce a profitable and high quality crop. Those changes are not going to end any time soon.