Impact of Thiamethoxam Seed Treatment on Growth and Yield of Rice, Oryza sativa

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© The Authors 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com. Neonicotinoid seed treatments are widely used in agriculture. In rice, Oryza sativa L., in the southern United States, neonicotinoid seed treatments are used to manage early-season populations of the rice water weevil, Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus Kuschel. In addition to their effects on pests, neonicotinoid seed treatments may benefit crop plants directly by increasing plant growth or altering plant responses to stresses. As part of an effort to assess the overall benefits of thiamethoxam seed treatment in rice, rice emergence, growth, and yield were evaluated. In a growth chamber, rice emergence from the soil was 1-2 d more rapid from treated than untreated seeds. These laboratory results were supported by field experiments that revealed higher stand counts from thiamethoxam-treated plots than from untreated plots. Yields from thiamethoxam treatments were no higher than those from untreated plots under conditions in which weevil larvae were absent, a result inconsistent with the hypothesis that thiamethoxam imparts direct yield benefits. In a series of field experiments conducted to compare the relationship between weevil larval densities and rice yields in plots treated with several rates of thiamethoxam or chlorantraniliprole (another widely used seed treatment insecticide), the relationship between weevil density and yield did not differ markedly among both seed treatments. Overall yields from both seed treatments did not differ significantly, despite more effective control in chlorantraniliprole-treated plots. These results provide strong support for effect of thiamethoxam on early-season growth of rice, but only weak support for its direct effect on rice yields.

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Journal of economic entomology

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