28 July 2021, Australia: Darren Rathjen, who with his family runs Delta Produce in South Australia is a 5th generation farmer growing 320 acres of onions at properties in Wall Flat and in the South East of South Australia. He is also on the Onions Australia Executive Committee as deputy chair so he has spent a long time around onions.
Darren says the battle against onion thrips is a constant one. “An infestation during the bulb enlargement phase can have a serious impact on yield, with unhealthy plant tops reducing the bulb growth period. They can also breed in bulbs that have been harvested, causing skins to pop off reducing marketability. Onion thrips are also a vector of yellow spot virus which can cause issues too.
Controlling onion thrips is made more difficult due to the lack of chemical control options available. “We have lost a number of products over the years due to health and safety concerns, residue issues or them just failing to control the pest” Darren told us “and those that are left we have been using for a long, long time which obviously raises the issue of resistance. This being the case, any new product in the shed is good news.
Success Neo, from Corteva Agriscience, has recently been registered for control of onion thrips in bulb crops. Success Neo is a group 5 pesticide which means a brand-new mode of action on onion thrips. It contains the active ingredient spinetoram, which is derived from a naturally occurring organism giving it a large margin of safety for users, consumers and the environment as well as short withholding periods. It is a highly selective product which has a powerful efficacy on thrips while leaving beneficial insects such as bugs, beetles and lacewings unharmed and able to aid in the control of thrips.Darren Rathjen
Chris Brown, Corteva Agriscience Customer Technology Specialist, said ‘Success Neo is the standard insecticide option for western flower thrip control across a wide range of horticulture crops and now bulb vegetable growers have Success Neo available to them to control both western flower thrips and onion thrips’.
The trial data is compelling. Success Neo provides excellent control of both nymph and adult onion thrips when used according to the label.
Vigilant monitoring and early control before thrip numbers build is the key to thrip management. Preventing physical damage and viral infection early will help maximise yield. Control of thrips is best achieved by applying three back-to-back applications of Success Neo at 7-day intervals. This label claim also complies with the required insecticide resistance management strategy. Thorough coverage is essential to control thrips. The addition of a wetting agent will also improve control.
Success Neo is compatible with most commonly used fungicides so can be applied in one pass in most cases. Bulb vegetable growers also have flexibility with the short 3-day harvest withholding period.
With older chemistry either no longer available or ineffective at controlling thrips, it is important that bulb vegetable growers have new insecticides to use against these damaging pests. Success Neo provides a strong option but must be used in rotation with alternative mode-of-action insecticides to remain effective for as long as possible.
In summary said Chris, Success Neo provides onion growers with a powerful new control option for thrips with a new mode of action that will kill thrips that are resistant to other chemistries. While highly efficacious on thrips it is soft on operators and other pests making it an ideal option for use in an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program.