Long awaited systemic insecticide thiamethoxam from Syngenta is to be available first in the UK to sugar beet growers as part of a novel seed treatment, CruiserForce.

Combining newly approved broad-spectrum Cruiser SB (thiamethoxam) and soil pyrethroid tefluthrin (as in Force T), the product provides at least 10 weeks’ control of a wide range of foliar and soil pests including all aphid strains, said the firm’s Garth Bretherton.

Such pests cause significant seedling losses and aphids spread yield-robbing viruses, he noted.

“CruiserForce sugar beet seed will be the key to strong crop establishment in the drive to reach the British Sugar 70t/ha initiative.”

The product is already being used in Germany, Austria and Belgium.

“The unique partnership of actives, created specifically for the sugar beet market, provides first class efficacy across the widest range of soil types and conditions.”

It provides a “total zone of protection” around the plants, above and below soil level, he explained.

According to colleague Michael Tait the new treatment also gives growers a chance to tackle resistant virus-carrying aphids.

Trials show it controls all strains, including those resistant to carbamate and pyrethroid insecticides.

 “Its persistence will ensure high levels of aphid vector control right through the susceptible growing period.

“Beet Mild Yellows Virus has become an increasing problem across the country. No growers should underestimate the losses that can be caused, and the benefits to be derived by always having protection in place by sowing CruiserForce sugar beet seed.”

The new product will be “competitively priced” against Bayer’s Poncho Beta (beta-cyfluthrin + clothianidin), said Mr Bretherton.