Sometimes, growers are reluctant to change to new products because it takes time and effort to research each chemical, conduct trials and design an effective spray program. However, spray programs should be reviewed regularly to remove old chemistries that may not be performing well or to add new products.
Here are eight tips growers should follow when including a new product into a spray program.
The first thing to consider is the crops you are growing, because if the crop changes, so too should the program. Researching the most common issues and the most prevalent pests on crops at certain times of the year is a foundational step for designing a spray program.
It is essential to know the pest life cycle to determine the best timing to apply chemicals that target the right development stage.
Knowing the mode of action is important for determining proper chemical rotation and mitigating chemical resistance. It also helps determine the time the chemical takes to start working, and if an additional application is necessary. Applying more chemicals too early or too late can be wasteful and ineffective.
Both physical and chemical compatibilities should be taken into consideration. There are three simple tests to determine whether products are compatible or not:
Read products’ labels carefully. Labels provide guidance on the pest life stage. Because not all chemicals work in all life stages, applying them during an incorrect life stage is a waste of time and effort. Labels also provide information about the application techniques and schedules.
Ultimately, once the compatibility issue is addressed and the right mode of action is selected for particular pests and life stages, new products can be added to the spray program.
If you plan to sell your plants soon, the product used needs to be safe, fast-acting and have a short Restricted Entry Interval (REI). However, if you are at the beginning of the growing season, when pests are at their lowest, biopesticides and biological control methods can be easily started and maintained.
Proper chemical rotation is key in reducing the chance of pest resistance and achieving successful pest control.
Careful monitoring over time is key to determine if a new product included in the spray program is helpful or not. Be aware that one application does not show how useful the product is. Multiple applications will be needed to see the full benefits of a product.