Press Releases


State ag department gives sweet sorghum growers a new weapon against sugarcane aphid in Kentucky


Crisis exemption authorizes use of pesticide on sweet sorghum against the destructive pest


For Immediate Release
Thursday, July 28, 2016
For more information contact:
Angela Blank
(502) 573-0450


FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has provided Kentucky sweet sorghum producers a new weapon in the fight against the sugarcane aphid.

The department has issued a Declaration of Crisis authorizing the use of Sivanto Prime on sweet sorghum to control the sugarcane aphid under a Section 18 Crisis Exemption. Sivanto Prime is a product of Bayer Cropsciences.

“Kentucky is the nation’s leading producer of sweet sorghum with cash receipts to Kentucky growers of $4-12 million a year,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “Sweet sorghum is a traditional Kentucky crop that is making a comeback as a breakfast staple as well as a natural, healthful sweetener. We must give our growers every tool at our disposal to protect this crop and defeat the sugarcane aphid.”

Producers may apply Sivanto Prime to sweet sorghum following the crisis exemption and container label. The exemption covers only the use of the product on sweet sorghum to control the sugarcane aphid in Kentucky. All applications must be made by a licensed/certified pesticide applicator. Producers must keep records of applications and make them available to the KDA upon request.

David Wayne, director of the KDA’s Division of Environmental Services, said the department issued the crisis exemption after receiving reports of sugarcane aphid activity in southwestern Kentucky. Wayne said the sugarcane aphid was first detected in Kentucky in August 2015, and many sweet sorghum producers sustained a total crop loss.

Five other states have issued a Section 18 Crisis Exemption for use of Sivanto Prime on sweet sorghum to control the sugarcane aphid while awaiting action from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Sivanto and Transform, a product of Dow AgroSciences, are labeled for use on sorghum for grain, forage, or fodder, but those labels do not apply to sweet sorghum.

An estimated 1,500 acres of sweet sorghum are grown in Kentucky. Sweet sorghum primarily is grown in small fields of four acres or less, but some producers raise up to 70 acres, and a few communities raise 100 acres or more as a joint community effort.

The KDA letter issuing the Declaration of Crisis and Section 18 Crisis Exemption has been posted on the department website,, under Hot Topics. For more information on the crisis exemption, growers may contact the Kentucky Department of Agriculture or their local Extension office.