Aphids can suck it

thanks to Dow AgroSciences’ Closer™


Sap-feeding insects, no matter how tiny, can cause a huge amount of damage to potato crops when feasting on the juicy green potato leaves. "The damage may not be visible immediately”, says Barend Van Greunen of George, “but aphids open the way for other pests and viruses".

The Van Greunen brothers are widely known as dairy farmers, but their 4 Brothers Potato Shed just outside George is also a landmark in the area. The potatoes are grown under irrigation, mainly for seed production to other commercial farmers, but also for table potatoes, which are distributed in the region.

Barend says that aphids occur sporadically; last year they had a major infestation and urgent action was needed to prevent severe damage to the produce. "The aphids suck the juice from the leaves, the leaves begin to curl and the plant is placed under enormous pressure. We needed help but since we are extremely conscious of the environment, we were looking for a treatment that would not have a harmful effect on the ecosystem or the environment," he says.

Vernon Finger of Nulandis introduced 4 Brothers to Closer™. Developed by Dow AgroSciences and registered for use on potatoes, Closer ™ dissolves quickly and easily, making management simple and keeping spray costs low. "It works like a dream!" says Barend.

Vernon Finger explains that Closer™ is a systemic insecticide, which penetrates the leaf's juice and causes the aphids to fall off within hours of application. The active ingredient is Isoclast™, winner of an AGROW award in 2014 for Best New Crop Protection Product. Isoclast™ uses a revolutionary mechanism to prevent resistance among parasites. Gone are the days when pests could simply build up resistance to a pesticide—sap-feeding insects such as mealybugs, leaf hoppers, aphids and stink bugs will “meet their maker” when they come into contact with Closer™.

How it works:

  • The systemic property of the formula causes it to be absorbed by the leaf to immediately kill the insect pest on ingestion.
  • The translaminar properties cause it to spread over the surface of the leaves to kill the insect on contact.
  • The residual effect and special resistance to rainwater and UV rays make Closer™ effective for up to 14 days after administration. The product has also been tested in water at various pH levels to ensure that it remains stable even if the properties of the solvent change.

Dirty water, however, is undesirable. As a general rule, if it’s not good for a farmer's spray, it’s not good for use with Closer™.

The impact of Closer™ on the rest of the agricultural ecosystem is minimal. Beneficial and predatory insects are not affected and neither are animals.

Vernon says it’s always a good idea to alternate any chemical remedies to ensure that the pests are not able to build resistance but potato, citrus and grape farmers cannot go wrong by including Closer ™ in their spray programmes when they are faced with an infestation of sucking insects. Nulandis can help farmers work out a full application programme for the season and assess when it’s necessary to act against sucking insects.

Barend says he trusts the experts at Nulandis to give him the right advice for controlling any pest. "We’ve relied on them for years. Vernon visits regularly to check whether everything is under control so that we can act quickly to address any issues as they arise."

For more information on Closer™ or any of Dow AgroSciences' crop protection products, visit www.dowagro.co.za or contact Johan Janse Van Rensburg on 021 860 3620, or at JanseVanRensburg@dow.com.

Thanks to ProAgri for the use of the article.


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Issue 45


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