Higher Commodity prices have brought increased attention and sales of insecticide products for corn and soybeans. “With the increased value of commodities, and people striving to get more out of every acre, producers are willing to pay more to protect their investment,” says Kevin Steffey, extension specialist and professor of agricultural entomology at the University of Illinois. “The economic thresholds of pests decrease when market prices increase.”

“Foliar insecticides are not typically a major focus for corn producers,” says Adam Prestegord, product manager with FMC Corporation. “But we're seeing renewed interest as producers realize the benefits of improved plant health and protecting their yields in both corn and soybeans.”

Cobalt from Dow

Dow AgroSciences has introduced Cobalt insecticide, a mixture of the active ingredients chlorpyrifos and gamma-cyhalothrin, combining fast knockdown with residual activity to control a wide variety of pests. “Cobalt has two different modes of action that deliver unsurpassed broad-spectrum control of a wide variety of insects across multiple crops,” says Brian Timmerman, Dow product manager for U.S. insecticides.

Pests controlled include aphids, beetles, grasshoppers, mites, worms and weevils. Cobalt is registered for use in alfalfa, field corn, soybeans, wheat and several other crops. It is tankmix compatible with most commonly used crop protection products, nutrients and adjuvants.

Colbalt was approved for use late last year. Dow says it showed excellent results in soybean aphids and spider mites. “With soybean aphids, a fast knockdown is important, but you also need residual control because aphids can repopulate quickly,” Timmerman says. “Cobalt offers both.”

Rates vary, depending on crop and pest.

FMC's Hero, Mustang Max

Hero insecticide from FMC Corporation received EPA registration in field corn and cotton, as well as other crops, in 2007. FMC claims the product offers fast knockdown and excellent residual control of foliar pests.

“Our preliminary data show a yield enhancement when using Hero as part of an insect-control program,” Prestegord says.

Hero is approved for control of a broad spectrum of pests, including mites, aphids, bean leaf beetles, corn rootworm adults, corn earworms, corn borers, Western bean cutworms and Japanese beetles.

Hero can be tank mixed, allowing convenience and flexibility of application. “Foliar insecticides have not been something commonly used in corn, but with corn prices up, producers are looking at products like Hero,” Prestegord says.

FMC Corporation also is working with the EPA to expand the use of Hero for 2008.

Mustang Max has received EPA approval for use on pasture and range grasses to control a variety of insect pests, making it the first pyrethroid federally registered for insect control in pasture and rangeland. It is labeled for control of true and fall armyworms and grasshoppers in mixed and solid grass pastures, as well as other crops such as alfalfa, wheat, corn, cotton, sunflowers and soybeans.

Force CS from Syngenta

Force CS, a new liquid, corn insecticide option from Syngenta, was tested during the 2007 growing season. This soil-applied insecticide is currently being sold for use with John Deere's Central Insecticide System. The fully enclosed insecticide delivery system is integrated into the John Deere planter. Growers no longer have to deal with granular boxes or application equipment and can control their insecticide rate and the number of rows treated from inside the tractor. This is especially useful when applying insecticide to refuge rows.

“As a result of this collaboration with John Deere, growers are able to achieve the same high level of control that they have come to expect from Force 3G granular soil insecticide, through a more convenient and efficient application method,” says Jeff Cecil, Syngenta brand manager for insecticides. “Force CS provides protection from a broad spectrum of tough-to-control pests, including corn rootworm, cutworms, wireworms, white grubs and other early-season insects. This early-season root protection gets the corn crop off to a healthy start and helps assure the highest yield potential.”

Syngenta's latest stacked trait

Agrisure 3000GT, a four-way stack that protects against both corn borer and corn rootworm, while providing tolerance to both glyphosate and glufosinate herbicides, will be available this year.

“Growers can plant this quad stack knowing that they have built-in insect protection and herbicide tolerance and a hybrid that is still going to perform to its highest potential,” says Tracy Mader, Agrisure brand manager, Syngenta Seeds.

Syngenta will reimburse producers who adhere to Syngenta's AgriEdge Corn program, and who plant a hybrid containing Agrisure 3000GT but do not use the glyphosate or Liberty Link trait, for the full value of the unused trait, allowing for additional weed-control flexibility.

Agrisure 3000GT will be available on elite genetics from Garst, Golden Harvest, NK and more than 150 other seed brands.

Bayer CropScience launches Vortex

Vortex seed-applied fungicide, from Bayer CropScience, is for use in field corn, sweet corn, popcorn and sorghum plants. The company says that, when partnered with Poncho 250 insecticide, Vortex delivers the broadest spectrum of disease control.

Specifically, Vortex's systemic activity gives more complete protection from diseases caused by Fusarium, Rhizoctonia, Rhizopus, Penicillium, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Alternaria and Mucor.

“In addition to disease protection, Vortex offers excellent seed safety and a healthier root system for growers' corn,” says Kerry Grossweiler, product manager, Bayer CropScience.

Vortex has the added benefit of low use rate technology.

“Vortex is compatible with seed-applied fungicides such as Allegiance FL and Trilex FL, in addition to insecticides such as Poncho 250 or Poncho 1250,” Grossweiler says.

Currently, Vortex is registered for sale and use in sorghum, and Vortex 2.5 grams is pending registration for sale and use in corn.