12 September 2022, AU: The cost of not controlling banana weevil borer for growers in north Queensland is significant, with the damage caused by the pest having the ability to reduce bunch size and yields, and cause plant loss.
The end result can be less production and less profit for banana growers like Fred Cauchi, who runs Oakumgold at Pin Gin Hill, near Innisfail in far north Queensland.
“Banana weevil borer is a problem for us because it causes damage in the stools and causes them to fall over and then we lose production, which costs us money,” Fred explains.
According to Fred’s agronomist James Dunn, the industry has welcomed the registration of the new generation insecticide Vayego® Forte from Bayer, for control of banana weevil borer.
The Group 28 insecticide is a 480 g/L tetraniliprole suspension concentrate formulation which works by moving through the plant after application to target banana weevil borer larvae in the corm.
Vayego Forte is different to the current options due to its low application dose rate and high selectivity to banana weevil borer. The low dose rate means that a larger area can be treated before refilling, plus it’s safer to the plant as it reduces the risk of stem splitting.
Using a highly selective product ensures no other beneficial insects are inadvertently affected. Vayego Forte introduces a new insecticide group to bananas, meaning there is a low chance of resistance in existing pest populations.
Vayego Forte also does not cause mite flare, which is significant for growers as some common insecticides inadvertently disrupt beneficial species that help to control mites, and also increase mite egg-lay. Vayego Forte is highly specific, targeting just banana weevil borers which means only strategic mite control sprays will be required in most cases.
James has been trialling Vayego Forte across his region, including at the Cauchi’s, with great success.
“In the early trial work we did, Vayego Forte really had a great impact and produced visually outstanding results. The grower, Fred, said that he hadn’t seen anything better that he’d ever used,” James reports.
“The main results we’ve had here at Fred’s, is we’ve had a real rejuvenation of old ratoon banana blocks. We’ve had significantly less roll out caused by weevil borer, which adds to increased plant populations, so increased yield. And Fred likes that very much.
“The other results we’re seeing is just an amazing visual effect from the following plants, or suckers. They just look really strong and really pink and flourishing.”
The good results have not just been limited to the Cauchi’s Pin Gin Hill property, with other trial work James has conducted also delivering results.
“Not just on this farm here, but down at Upper Daradgee and other farms where we’ve trialled it, Vayego Forte has just rejuvenated blocks,” he says.
“Old ratoons, third and fourth ratoon banana blocks, Vayego Forte really has improved production and the look of the bananas, perhaps giving them another three or four cycles, whereas traditional chemicals may not have been able to do that.”
James believes Vayego Forte will be used best when growers are traditionally applying Movento®; Energy in a program in bananas.
“The fact that you are using such low levels of chemical also means you’re able to cover a lot more ground a lot faster, and compared to older chemicals, you’re achieving a lot more with a better result,” he says.
Vayego Forte is applied with an injection gun with a spear point into followers from one meter up. Fred Cauchi says after starting to use the product in 2022, he’s been pleased with how easy it’s been to incorporate into his program.
“Vayego Forte is brilliant. Simple, easy to mix, very good to apply and you can treat a lot of trees with a small amount,” Fred says.
“I’m starting to see some good results coming back from treating old ratoons. The trees are looking healthy and I’ve had no fallout, and the followers are looking nice and strong as well.
“It means more production, so more fruit comes to the shed, and we make more money. Our plan is to incorporate Vayego Forte into our program and keep moving along.”
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