Patience Is Tough When Pests Are In The Field

It’s amazing what you’ll hear just shooting the breeze with cotton growers and consultants on the turn row.

Earlier this season, while visiting with a farmer about some trials he was doing on a new early input for cotton, he told me that one of the most troublesome pests this year wasn’t insects or weeds, but whitetail deer. With the dry summer keeping natural forage to a minimum, his cotton fields look like the salad bar at Ryan’s Steakhouse to the local deer population. I knew deer would sometimes eat cotton, but what he said next was news to me: “Believe it or not, the deer like the Roundup Ready Flex best. They go straight to it and just tear it up.”

I don’t know if there have been any university studies on the nutritional content of Flex cotton, and I’m not sure if blind tasting trials are coming down the pipeline. But I can see the advertising campaign already. “Tastes great, less fretting – spray all season long.”

At Drew’s Half Acre, my cotton pests have been a little more traditional (My deer management program, which I implement Saturday mornings during the winter, probably keeps the deer at bay). I planted on May 11, and a little more than two weeks later I had a stand – but things weren’t all perfect in Dixieland. Thrips and nutsedge were trying to keep me out of the cotton business, so I have been fighting back with a solid pest management program.

On June 5, I tank mixed 16 ounces of Roundup with 0.75 ounces of a pyrethroid to give me the one-two punch I needed. About five days later, most of the weeds and grasses were turning, and I couldn’t find as many thrips on the plants – but parts of the field still looked fairly green. Everyone told me to be patient, “you have to give it time to work” – but that’s easier said than done.

Waiting for my management program to work gave me a true appreciation for what farmers endure all season long. If my Half Acre gets overrun by bugs or weeds, I’ll just tuck-tail back to the office and hang another hat on the rack of experience. But for growers, that crop is their livelihood, and I can only imagine the pressures and stress they face.

The next weekend I went down to the field, and I was a little relieved. New leaves didn’t show any thrips damage, and most of the weeds were toast. I noticed quite a few ants on a few sections of the field, and a large amount of the grass was still alive – the Roundup stunted it, but it was still hanging on.

Assuming the worst, a knot tightened in my stomach. I just knew my field had some previously undiscovered glyphosate-resistant grass that would be impossible to kill. I pulled a couple of clumps to show to John Bradley at the Agricenter International in Memphis.

My fears were quickly mollified; I wasn’t dealing with a super-grass, just a hearty growth of nutsedge. John explained that it can take a few doses of Roundup to get nutsedge, and he said even the best farmers sometimes worry about the grass. He said another application or two of glyphosate should do the trick, but emphasized that I would need to stay on top of it.

As for the ants, John explained they were beneficial insects, and I didn’t need to worry about them. On another note, growers were starting to see plant bugs, he said, and I needed to be on the look out. That I can do.

Until next month, see you in the field …

Leave a Reply

Insect Control Stories
Insect Control

Insect Traits Evolving for Ongoing Bug Battles

September 8, 2016

As Mother Nature creates new challenges, the industry’s insect technologies must adapt.

Insect Control

Don’t Relax Yet on Plant Bug Treatments

July 26, 2016

Although many cotton fields in the Mid-South are approaching cutout, it’s not yet time to back off on plant bug treatments.

Insect Control

Keeping a Watchful Eye on Plant Bugs

June 22, 2016

Plant bugs are back. Diligent scouting and careful management can help lessen their impact.

Insect Control

Growers Urged to Comment on Aldicarb Re-Registration

June 13, 2016

Cotton growers in the Mid-South have until June 22 to comment on re-registration of aldicarb for use in the region in 2017.

Insect Control

Start Putting Plant Bug Plans in Place

June 13, 2016

Early planted Mid-South cotton is beginning to square. Growers need to be on alert for plant bug activity.

Insect Control

EPA Approves Five Section 18s for Transform in Cotton

June 8, 2016

The EPA has granted Section 18 emergency use exemptions in five Mid-South states for use of Transform insecticide for control of plant bugs in cotton.

Insect Control

Monitor and Treat Early for Cotton Thrips

May 17, 2016

With cotton planting underway across the High Plains, cotton producers should be on the lookout for thrips and be prepared to treat, if needed.

Around The Gin
Product News

Valent Introduces Valor EZ Herbicide for 2017

December 1, 2016

Valent has introduced Valor EZ Herbicide as a residual herbicide partner for the new next generation seed systems in cotton and soybeans.

Product News

Wearable Cotton Sensors Developed

November 29, 2016

Conductive cotton fabrics have been developed into flexible wearable sensors, creating new options for cotton textiles.

Product News

Dow AgroSciences, U.S. Farmers Disagree with Proposal to Revoke Chlorpyrifos Tolerances

November 10, 2016

Dow AgroSciences is standing by the safety of proper use of chlorpyrifos, in the face of EPA’s release of a pre-publication copy of the Notice of Data Availability related to its assessment of human health risks associated with the insecticide.

Product News

Advanced Germplasm and Traits Help Growers Thrive in Cotton

November 7, 2016

PhytoGen offers options to improve fiber quality and control weeds, helping growers to out-best their best and thrive in cotton.

Product News

EPA Sets Comment Period for Enlist Duo Label Expansion

November 2, 2016

The U.S. EPA has set a public comment period until December 1 for proposed label amendments for Enlist Duo, which would allow use on Enlist cotton and extend product use on all Enlist crops to 19 other states.

Product News

Helping Cotton Growers Be Good Neighbors

November 1, 2016

Good fences make good neighbors. But these days, on-target herbicide applications also can help make growers good neighbors.

Product News

Americot Offers New XtendFlex Cotton Varieties for 2017

October 28, 2016

In 2017, Americot will offer three new Bollgard II XtendFlex varieties and one new XtendFlex only variety to cotton growers.

Product News

Bayer Delivers Right Combinations for Performance and Profit

October 27, 2016

The extensive economic data documenting earnings from FiberMax and Stoneville varieties helps make the Bayer lineup the first stop for variety decisions.

Latest News
Insect Control

Insect Traits Evolving for Ongoing Bug Battles

September 8, 2016

As Mother Nature creates new challenges, the industry’s insect technologies must adapt.

Insect Control

When to Terminate Insecticide Applications in Cotton

August 24, 2016

The decision to terminate insect controls in cotton can be challenging in some fields, but a few basic considerations will assist in that decision.

Insect Control

Finalizing Cotton Insect Control

August 2, 2016

As many cotton fields reach or approach cutout, it’s time for growers to start making final insect management decisions.

Insect Control

Don’t Relax Yet on Plant Bug Treatments

July 26, 2016

Although many cotton fields in the Mid-South are approaching cutout, it’s not yet time to back off on plant bug treatments.

Insect Control

Keeping a Watchful Eye on Plant Bugs

June 22, 2016

Plant bugs are back. Diligent scouting and careful management can help lessen their impact.

Insect Control

Growers Urged to Comment on Aldicarb Re-Registration

June 13, 2016

Cotton growers in the Mid-South have until June 22 to comment on re-registration of aldicarb for use in the region in 2017.

Insect Control

Start Putting Plant Bug Plans in Place

June 13, 2016

Early planted Mid-South cotton is beginning to square. Growers need to be on alert for plant bug activity.

Insect Control

EPA Approves Five Section 18s for Transform in Cotton

June 8, 2016

The EPA has granted Section 18 emergency use exemptions in five Mid-South states for use of Transform insecticide for control of plant bugs in cotton.

Insect Control

Monitor and Treat Early for Cotton Thrips

May 17, 2016

With cotton planting underway across the High Plains, cotton producers should be on the lookout for thrips and be prepared to treat, if needed.

Insect Control

Tennessee Sets Cotton Scout School

May 17, 2016

Tennessee’s annual Cotton Scout School is set for May 27 in Jackson.

Insect Control

States Seeking Transform Exemption for Plant Bugs

May 6, 2016

Three Mid-South states have requested emergency exemptions to use Transform for tarnished plant bug control in cotton.

Insect Control

New Webcast Addresses Thrips Management Strategies

May 3, 2016

A new webcast focusing on thrips management strategies for the Southeast has been added to the Focus on Cotton online series from the Plant Management Network and Cotton Incorporated.

Insect Control

Providing Sudden Impact in Worm Control

April 8, 2016

Twenty years ago, Bollgard technology came to U.S. cotton fields. Cotton production hasn’t been the same since.

Insect Control

AgriLife Extension Scout School Set for April 5

March 24, 2016

The Texas Panhandle Scout School, hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, will be held April 5 in Amarillo.

Insect Control

Thrips Continue to Drive Seed Treatment Use

March 2, 2016

With thrips present in nearly 100% of Mississippi and other Mid-South cotton fields, growers can’t afford to cut back on seed treatments to help get their crop off to a solid start.