Rapid Response to Emerging Agricultural Threats-White Sugarcane Aphid

Aphid infestation in sorghum in Columbia County.

Aphid infestation in sorghum in Columbia County.

I am proud to announce the US Environmental Protection Agency has approved a Section 18 Exemption for the use of Transform WG Insecticide for control of White Sugarcane Aphid (WSA) in forage sorghum grown in Florida.  This exemption is valid until 12/31/14 and allows rescue treatments for late planted sorghum.  We have unfortunately been seeing area crops decline rapidly with the poor  WSA control offered by alternative control methods.

Following the identification of Sugarcane Aphid infestations in Forage Sorghum in Columbia County on August 21, 2014 we have been working to obtain this Section 18 Exemption for Florida farmers.  This was a unique situation because there had not been a documented incidence of the pest attacking sorghum in Florida prior to this finding.  The rapid turn-around for the exemption is a result of many professionals treating this with the urgency it deserves.  Agencies involved included University of Florida/IFAS, Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services, DOW Chemical, National Sorghum Producers, and several local farmers.  Land Grant Universities in several other states also assisted.  I can’t emphasize enough the professionalism and sense of urgency shown by all in expediting this arduous process.

The recommended application rate is 1 to 1.5 oz. per acre, with a maximum seasonal application rate of 3.0 oz./acre.  Research in Mississippi indicated multiple applications were required for complete control. We have already had some local discussions about applications beginning.

I hope our efforts were timely to prevent crop failure of many fields. We at the University of Florida/IFAS with the Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services have our work cut out for us to have a supplemental label approved for the 2015 sorghum crop.

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