Check out two new insecticide treatments available for 2001 seed buys.

Growers visiting seed company corn plots this summer can learn about two new seed insecticide treatments called Gaucho and Prescribe. Both treatments protect against a wide variety of insects ranging from flea beetles and wireworms to cutworms and corn rootworms.

Thirty-two seed companies are testing the treatments this year on plots throughout the Midwest. Growers will have the option to buy seed treated with the insecticides for the 2001 crop.

Gustafson manufactures the new seed insecticide treatments. Gaucho, available for sorghum and other crops the past couple of years, was just approved for use on corn. Prescribe is a new label, also just approved for use on corn.

Easy planting. Seed treated with the new insecticides was used in many different planters this spring without problems, according to Ray Knake, northern product development manager for Gustafson.

Both Gaucho and Prescribe contain the active ingredient Imidacloprid, a relatively safe chemical for humans and seeds, Knake says. Bayer, part owner of Gustafson, provided the molecule for the chemical.

The seed treatments protect against a wide range of insects because Imidacloprid uses a systemic mode of action, moving throughout the plant and not relying on plant surface coverage.

Two treatment levels. Prescribe contains the highest level of the active ingredient, thereby providing a greater level of insect protection than Gaucho. Knake reports growers should select Prescribe when anticipating problems with early season cutworm, corn rootworm and wireworm. The product remains active throughout rootworm attack.

This summer, Gustafson offered Prescribe to seed companies and universities for field trials. Knake says it was used to treat seed for 5,000 acres. Last year in a limited number of university and company trials, Prescribe showed control similar to that of Lorsban and Regent.

Gaucho costs less and treats to the two-leaf stage. Knake suggests using it as a secondary insect control product. Citing trials conducted at universities, he says Gaucho is competitive with hopper box products for wireworm activity.

Both products also provide some control for seed maggot, chinch bug, corn leaf aphid, fire ants, thrips and southern corn leaf beetle. The products also are compatible with seed treatment fungicides.

Accurate application. Gustafson uses a computerized batch treatment method to apply Prescribe on the seeds. Knake says this method carefully controls the amount sprayed on each seed and then dries the insecticide to a hard coating. The coating keeps the seeds from bridging or sticking in planters, a problem with some seed treatments. Growers also do not have to contend with an irritating dust or odor from the treated seed, he adds.

When the seed is planted, the insecticide comes off and is then gradually picked up by the plant's root system, Knake explains. Because the chemical has low water solubility, it stays in the root zone for quite a while.

An advantage of the new products is how little chemical is needed for treatment. "It is a very efficient way to use the product," Knake says. Prescribe requires only 1.4 oz. of active ingredient to treat one acre of corn planted with 30,000 seeds. Gaucho requires only 5 g of active ingredient for one acre planted at the same rate.

For more information, contact Gustafson Inc., Dept. FIN, 1400 Preston Rd., Suite 400, Plano, TX 75093, 800/248-6907.