MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The National Cotton Council (NCC) is grateful for EPA’s decision granting use on cotton of sulfoxaflor (commercially known as Transform©) – a uniquely designed insecticide that targets piercing/sucking insect pests such as aphids and plant bugs.
“We appreciate EPA’s decision to make sulfoxaflor available for use on cotton,” said NCC Chairman Mike Tate, an Alabama cotton producer. “EPA has been diligent in requesting new studies of sulfoxaflor use on cotton and other crops that provided additional data for the agency’s scientific review per court order. The NCC will continue to engage EPA on crop protection product registrations and other regulatory matters that affect the efficient production of cotton.”
Cotton was originally included on sulfoxaflor’s Section 3 label. However, an appellate court ruling in November 2015 vacated the registration of the product for all crops until additional studies and data review could be conducted based on an alleged risk to bees. After additional review, EPA issued a new registration for sulfoxaflor in 2016 for some earlier approved crops, but that registration did not include cotton.
Since 2016, EPA has reviewed data from additional studies of use on cotton and other crops. The NCC submitted comments to EPA’s proposed registration decision for sulfoxaflor in which it stated that sulfoxaflor was part of a new insecticide class that was safer for bees and other pollinators. Specifically, the NCC urged EPA to consider that there is no supporting documentation for the position that if cotton blooms are present, honey bees are present – especially not at enough densities to present bee colony loss.
EPA has noted that sulfoxaflor is safer for bees and other pollinators and works against pests that are becoming resistant to other classes of plant protection chemistries. The agency also noted that sulfoxaflor, with its unique mode of action, is a valuable Integrated Pest Management tool for combatting pesticide resistance, a point that the NCC made in its comment submission.