Temik has been widely used in crops in the Southeast since the early 1980s, and though maligned by both farmers and environmental activists because of its safety liabilities, there is no doubt the product has contributed significantly to the growth in agricultural productivity around the world.

Farmers in the Southeast knew going into the 2011 spring planting season that Temik was being taken off the market — gradually up to 2016. They didn’t count on a lawsuit in West Virginia stopping production and significantly restricting the amount of Temik available for the 2011 cropping season.

The fallout from shortages in Temik supply has already been significant in determining what crops farmers do and don’t plant. However, having been on the market and so widely used for so many years, the use of old, lesser used, chemistry to replace Temik could have some far-reaching affects.

The toughest replacement questions are facing growers who have a cotton and peanut rotation.

Cotton acreage, for example, is expected to be up significantly in 2011. Temik at 5-8 pounds per acre, applied at planting, has been a standard for cotton growers for as long as most Southeast growers have been growing cotton.

The same is even truer for peanuts, another staple crop of the Southeast. Peanut farmers may have fewer options for Temik replacements than cotton growers. 

Long-time Virginia Tech Plant Pathologist Pat Phipps says in some areas of the upper Southeast he recommends using existing Temik on peanuts rather than on cotton.

“Especially in Virginia and in some parts of North Carolina, peanut growers just don’t have many options, especially in fields with a history of high nematode populations and soil-borne diseases,” Phipps says.

North Carolina State Entomologist Jack Bachelor, who has studied the use of Temik for thrips control in cotton for many years, says the options for Temik alternatives are relatively few when it comes to managing both early season insects and nematodes.

“For thrips control and cotton yield, in our replicated tests, Temik 15G at the 5.0 product rate  has been a little better from an economic standpoint than any one of the seed treatments (Gaucho Grade, Cruiser, Avicta Complete or Aeris) plus a foliar spray (typically acephate) at the first true leaf stage,” he says.

“According to our latest survey of independent consultants, last year Temik alone was used on 54 percent of the consulted acreage; an additional 17.5 percent of this acreage was planted to Temik (most often 5 pounds) plus a seed treatment.”

According to North Carolina State University Plant Pathologist, Steve Koenning, Aeris and Avicta Complete, which contain different nematicides  (thiodicarb and abemectin) in addition to the thrips-active insecticide, are roughly equivalent to 4-5 pounds of Temik 15G for nematodes. For higher populations of nematodes, growers have routinely used 7 pounds of Temik per acre or inject the soil sterilant Telone II.

Acceleron seed treatment will be offered to cotton growers buying Deltapine seed in 2011. This seed coat should perform comparable to Aeris, Gaucho Grande or Avicta Complete for thrips control because Acceleron shares the same active ingredients and amounts used in Gaucho Grande (thrips only) and in their thrips plus nematode versions similar to Aeris (imidacloprid plus thiodicarb) and another similar to Avicta Complete (thiamethoxam plus abemectin).