3 Ways China Could Reduce Pest Pressure, Resistance

China, the top cotton-producing country in the world at 16 billion pounds per year, first introduced Bt cotton in 1997. For the first decade, Bt cotton was highly effective against both cotton bollworm and pink bollworm. Recently, however, early signs of resistance to Bt cotton have been detected in caterpillars collected from the field, and growers may have to increase the use of insecticides if resistance evolves further, perpetuating a dangerous cycle, according to the University of Arizona (UA).

“We are seeing warning signs,” said Xianchun Li, a Chinese native and associate professor of entomology at UA’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “We want to transfer the successful technology that we have here to China to help them prevent further development of resistance.”

Bruce Tabashnik, head of the department of entomology at UA, agreed, saying, “What I would love to see is China able to sustain control of these major pests with Bt cotton so it can reduce its use of insecticides.”

In order to achieve this goal, Li, Tabashnik, and Kongming Wu, a top researcher with the Institute of Plant Protection at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing, have joined forces and obtained a $475,000 grant from China’s National Science Foundation to study resistance in pink bollworm in China and to develop strategies against it.

The team is collaborating with growers, biotechnology companies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to manage resistance and eliminate insecticide sprays against pink bollworm in Arizona. And, thanks to the effort, Tabashnik reports that Arizona is now a poster child for resistance management in Bt crops. “Pink bollworm is rare now in Arizona. We have very strong evidence that there is no resistance in the field,” he said.

In order to mirror these results in China, samples of pink bollworm larvae in Chinese fields are being collected and studied at the DNA level.

“We will track changes in the frequency of resistance genes in the field and use computer simulations to help determine the best strategies for delaying resistance,” Tabashnik said.

It is likely strategies that have worked well in Arizona will benefit Chinese growers.

Three of these strategies are:

1)  Refuges: This method, which consists of planting standard cotton plants that do not make a Bt toxin, enables survival of insects that are susceptible to the toxin. According to the team, refuges are planted near Bt crops with the goal of producing enough susceptible insects to make it unlikely two resistant insects will mate with each other. This method, used from 1996 to 2005 in Arizona, is considered to have made a sizable difference in pest pressure and resistance levels.

2)Sterilization: A highly successful multi-pronged attack on pink bollworm was launched in 2006 in Arizona. Several times each week, airplanes released billions of sterilized pink bollworm moths over all cotton fields in Arizona. Matings between these sterile moths and wild pink bollworm moths do not yield fertile offspring.  Because Bt cotton kills nearly all pink bollworm caterpillars, the rare resistant moths are most likely to mate with the abundant sterile moths – an evolutionary dead end. Although the sterile insect release technique is not new, this is the first time it’s been used jointly with a Bt crop. According to UA, this multi-faceted strategy continues today.

3) Dual Toxin Bt: Bt cotton engineered to make two distinct toxins is successfully used in Arizona. This way, pests arising with resistance to one toxin are killed by the other toxin. According to the researchers, switching to two-toxin Bt cotton could help to stall resistance in China.

The goal of the team’s research, according to Li, is to prevent the return of the resistance crisis in China that occurred in the 1990s. “So much pesticide was used that the pests became resistant. You could actually throw a caterpillar into the pesticide and they would swim around. It wouldn’t kill them. Farmers couldn’t grow cotton and it really hurt the economy,” Li said. “We hope to catch this in the early stages.”

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Insect Control Stories
Insect Control

Watch Emerging Cotton Closely for Signs of Thrips

May 7, 2015

With cotton now in the ground and starting to emerge, it’s time to watch closely to see if pre-plant thrips treatments are holding.

Insect Control

Dates Confirmed for Tennessee and Arkansas Scout Schools

May 18, 2015

The University of Tennessee and the University of Arkansas have confirmed dates for each state’s upcoming cotton scout schools.

Insect Control

Dates Set for Georgia Cotton Scout Schools

May 11, 2015

The University of Georgia will conduct two cotton insect scouting schools in early June.

Insect Control

Mississippi Scout School Schedule Set

April 16, 2015

Mississippi State University has scheduled five scout schools in late May and early June.

Disease Control / Nematodes

Velum Total Approved for Cotton, Peanuts in 2015

February 12, 2015

Bayer CropScience has received registration for Velum Total, a new insecticide/nematicide for use in cotton and peanuts in 2015.

thrips
Insect Control

Search for Thrips Control Options Continues

February 3, 2015

Thrips control in 2014 proved challenging for many growers. And the findings from field studies conducted last year may not provide many happy answers for this season.

Insect Control

New Mid-South Insect Control Guides Now Available

January 22, 2015

Insect control guides for 2015 are now available from the University of Tennessee and from Mississippi State University.

Around The Gin
Product News

Deltapine NPE Program Begins Eighth Year of On-Farm Variety Evaluation

April 28, 2015

Nearly 200 farmers will be part of the Deltapine New Product Evaluator program this year to help evaluate cotton variety candidates for the Deltapine Class of 16.

Product News

EPA Approves Enlist Duo Herbicide for Use in Additional States

April 2, 2015

The EPA has approved Enlist Duo herbicide for use in nine additional states, including four in the Cotton Belt.

Product News

New 2015 CROPLAN Cotton Varieties Feature Bollgard II XtendFlex Technology

March 19, 2015

WinField is adding Monsanto’s new Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton trait to two new CROPLAN cotton varieties for 2015.

Precision Technology

New Features for TeeJet Aeros 9040 Field Computer

March 18, 2015

TeeJet has added new features to its Aeros 9040 Field Computer for 2015.

Precision Technology

TeeJet Launches New DynaJet Flex Nozzle Control System

March 17, 2015

The new DynaJet Flex 7120 nozzle control system from TeeJet Technologies helps growers manage spray quality across a variety of operating speeds and application rates.

Product News

New Cheminova Chemistry to Help Control Herbicide Resistant Weeds

February 23, 2015

Cheminova plans to register pethoxamid, a new herbicide active ingredient, to help growers manage herbicide-resistant weeds.

Product News

Brake Herbicide Receives Section 18 Approvals in Six States

February 18, 2015

Brake Herbicide has received Section 18 emergency use exemptions for control of glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth in six cotton producing states.

Precision Technology

TeeJet Matrix 430 Provides Simple, Easy-to-Use Guidance

February 18, 2015

TeeJet Technologies’ new Matrix 430 GNSS guidance system is ideal for a wide range of field applications.

Latest News
Insect Control

Dates Confirmed for Tennessee and Arkansas Scout Schools

May 18, 2015

The University of Tennessee and the University of Arkansas have confirmed dates for each state’s upcoming cotton scout schools.

Insect Control

Dates Set for Georgia Cotton Scout Schools

May 11, 2015

The University of Georgia will conduct two cotton insect scouting schools in early June.

Insect Control

Watch Emerging Cotton Closely for Signs of Thrips

May 7, 2015

With cotton now in the ground and starting to emerge, it’s time to watch closely to see if pre-plant thrips treatments are holding.

Insect Control

Mississippi Scout School Schedule Set

April 16, 2015

Mississippi State University has scheduled five scout schools in late May and early June.

Insect Control

Georgia Scientists Seek Public’s Help in Tracking New Stink Bug

April 14, 2015

University of Georgia entomologists are asking Georgians to help track an insect that loves to stow away in homes and could potentially hurt the state’s crops, including cotton.

Insect Control

Plan Now for Plant Bug Management

March 6, 2015

Mississippi State University entomologists have developed Best Management Practices to help growers make plant bug management in cotton more economical, without sacrificing yield.

Insect Control

Search for Thrips Control Options Continues

February 3, 2015

Thrips control in 2014 proved challenging for many growers. And the findings from field studies conducted last year may not provide many happy answers for this season.

Insect Control

New Mid-South Insect Control Guides Now Available

January 22, 2015

Insect control guides for 2015 are now available from the University of Tennessee and from Mississippi State University.

Insect Control

Genome Mapping Signals Brighter Days for U.S. Cotton

December 6, 2014

At a time when growers rely increasingly more on genetic advancements in yield and fiber quality to keep cotton economically viable, cotton breeders and researchers are excited about the possibilities that genome mapping brings to variety and trait development.

Crop Inputs

Managing Bollworms in Dual Gene Bt Cotton

August 15, 2014

Specialists at Mississippi State University have been monitoring recent bollworm activity, which is beginning to threaten cotton containing dual gene Bt traits. They offer guidelines for determining when – or if – additional treatments may be needed.

Crop Inputs

Record Cutout Dates, Save Insect Treatments

August 7, 2014

Scott Stewart, University of Tennessee Extension entomologist, says that growers who record the date of cutout can start counting down the days until treatments for some insect pests can be ended.

Crop Inputs

Crunch Time for Cotton Insect Management

July 28, 2014

According to Tennessee Extension Entomologist Scott Stewart, cotton growers are entering a critical window for managing insect pests in cotton, as immature plant bugs, stink bug and bollworm infestations may all coincide during the mid-flowering period.

Crop Inputs

Options Available for Plant Bug Management

July 10, 2014

With plant bug season in full force in many areas of the Southern Cotton Belt, Extension entomologists in the Mid-South have developed a list of products and treatment options for cotton growers to consider.

Crop Inputs

Monitor Square Retention in Young Cotton

June 20, 2014

Now that plant bug season has arrived, Extension specialists suggest taking square retention counts along with sweep net counts prior to bloom to help with treatment decisions.

Crop Inputs

Plant Bugs Off to an Early Start in Tennessee

June 18, 2014

Scott Stewart, University of Tennessee Extension entomologist, says the phone has been ringing about plant bugs – including immatures – in West Tennessee cotton.