Stories | January 9, 2019 | Read Time: 2 minutes
GM Cotton Seed Can Help Manage Serious and Challenging Insect Pests
Plant bugs and thrips are two of the most economically damaging insect pest groups impacting cotton production in the United States of America (USA) today. Chemical insecticides are typically required to protect cotton from these pests. In the midsouthern and southeastern USA, Lygus, a type of plant bug, can cause severe losses. In this region growers spend up to $100 per acre on insecticide applications to achieve adequate control.a Thrips are the second most damaging pest for cotton growers and could cost an average of $6.48 per acre for crop protection.b These high treatment costs along with emerging resistance to key insecticidal chemistries in these pests are creating challenges for growers. Consequently, there is an increasing need for new technologies to be incorporated into management systems.
Extensive research has lead to the development of a new genetically modified (GM) cotton variety which can protect the plant against these pests. Studies conducted at multiple field locations throughout the U.S. Cotton Belt during 2012-2015 demonstrated significant protection from thrips injury, reduction in Lygus populations and a subsequent increase in yield potential. The level of efficacy demonstrated suggests that this new trait should become a valuable option for the management of these pests. The full journal article can be accessed at https://bit.ly/2Rxfifk
“I am proud to be part of the team developing this first ever technology, which will help farmers reduce reliance on insecticides and manage plant bugs and thrips more sustainably. This research has been enabled by a close collaboration between industry and academic experts.”