Voices of Experience: Head Moth Control Strategies
“Growers can’t get by without spraying for sunflower head moth here,” says crop consultant Jon Hooton, Plainview, Texas. Hooton helps his clients protect quality and yields from head moth on about 4,000 acres.
“In the past, our program has included two or more applications of a pyrethroid and Lorsban tank mix, starting at 1 percent bloom. A second application was made six to seven days later, followed by third or fourth applications as necessary. Without treatment, this perennial threat can quickly decimate sunflower heads and shrink grower profits.”
“In 2013, I tried DuPont™ Prevathon® insect control on several fields to determine the most effective rates and timing. We found that two applications of Prevathon® at 14 ounces per acre, made 10 days apart, prevented head moth damage and kept head moths under control all summer.
“When I saw how well it worked, I switched my entire head moth control program to Prevathon®, making the first 14-ounce application as soon as the first natural blooms appeared and then closely monitoring to see when the second application was needed, typically around 10 days later. This program has provided excellent control and clean heads.”
“The long-lasting residual properties of Prevathon® play a big role in keeping sunflower heads clean over an extended period of time, reducing the number of applications needed to control head moth.
“This year’s cool, wet weather caused erratic sunflower emergence, which spread blooming over five weeks. With our former program, we would have needed five insecticide applications to control head moth.
Due to the application flexibility we had with Prevathon®, we were able to keep late-emerging heads clean without extra applications. I also appreciated being able to get back into the field quicker than I could with my previous program. That makes my job much easier.”
Increased Pollination and Yields
“We have been observing increased honeybee activity in sunflower fields compared to previous years. We’ve had yield increases ranging from 10 to 25 percent, which I feel were due to increased pollination and clean moth heads. Normally, in a good year, sunflower yields are around 2,000 to 2,500 pounds per acre; however, we had one grower on the Prevathon® program who averaged more than 3,000 pounds per acre and another who harvested more than 4,000 pounds per acre.”
DuPont™ Prevathon® is not registered for sale or use in all states. Contact your DuPont representative for details and availability in your state.
In line with integrated pest management and good agricultural practices, insecticide applications should be made when pollinators are not foraging to avoid unnecessary exposure.