A NEW seed treatment for sugar beet has been approved, offering growers an alternative to the industry standard Gaucho (imidacloprid) for 2005.

Poncho Beta, from Bayer CropScience, gives comparable results to Gaucho but with a third less active ingredient, giving it a greener edge.

It contains beta-cyfluthrin, offering crops protection against the soil borne pest complex (mainly millipedes, symphylids and springtails) and a new active ingredient clothianidin.

This provides systemic protection against foliar pests like aphids for up to 10 weeks after drilling, said Bayer.

Extensive Bayer and independent trials have shown Poncho Beta has no interactions with herbicides, even with lenacil-based pre-emergence treatments.