Apr 14, 2020
Multiple crop pests targeted with Vestaron’s Spear-Lep product

Vestaron Corp.’s Spear-Lep product is targeted for use on a number of specialty crops, according to a Daniel Peck, a field development biologist for the company.

“In 2019, we coalesced to determine this is going to have a real role in the management of leps (lepidopterans) for fruit and vegetable production.”

“Some of the crops beyond tree fruits and such have been cabbage, broccoli, collards and other crucifers and brassicas. It’s also been evaluated in tomato systems, and for fall armyworm in corn.”

Data from melon worm in cantaloupe and squash is where we’ve got some other positive results,” Peck said. “And hops, as well. In the Pacific Northwest, where they have a salmon-sensitive area, some of the traditional chemical options were not available, so with a caterpillar worm outbreak there Lep had really good results.”

A revised label from the EPA due out in April will include hemp and tobacco, Peck said.

“We will have some researchers working on mite control in hemp and also for control of caterpillar in outdoor hemp this season,” he said.

As for in field trials for all applications of Spear-Lep, “We’ve had tests in Arizona, California, New York state, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Michigan and Georgia,” Peck said.

“We’re excited about the work in diamondback moth systems. Last year we had a study conducted where Corrigan, a commonly used synthetic in diamondback moth control, the population of diamondback moth at that site was completely resistant to Corrigan applications. We were able to demonstrate that Spear-Lep was able to control the populations because it was not resistant to the Spear-Lep, whereas Corrigan populations were just as bad as the treated check.”

There also are outdoor applications for fruit and vegetables for the Spear-T.

“This where the product is used at a higher rate and not with the Bt. For instance, by itself in the greenhouse we have good data for thrips, whiteflies and spider mites. Outdoors, we’re learning that we have good control in pecan and cantaloupe trials against broad mites. We’ve also learned that alone, without the Bt, it has a role for spotted wing drosophila management as well. That’s another system where new modes of action are required. We’re trying to learn more opportunities outdoors with just the Spear-T product.”

“Down the road we will have more opportunities to combine the Spear-T with a beetle-active Bt. We have proof of concept showing that with Novodor or Javelin bt, combined with Spear, now Colorado potato beetle is susceptible to spear.

“The lepidopteran -active Bt’s are a lot broader spectrum than the coleopteran ones are now. Down the road, it’s opening up opportunities for use of other bt’s or other gut disrupters.

Vestaron products are available in limited distribution from Nutrien, Wilbur-Ellis and through partnerships with other regional distributors across the country, Peck said.

The company’s research and development currently takes place in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Peck said a new manufacturing site is in development in the Chicago area.

Gary Pullano, VGN managing editor

Vestaron revs up commercial production of Spear products





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