Plant Bugs Are Enemy No. 1

According to data from Mississippi State University, tarnished plant bugs are not only the No. 1 most damaging pest, they are by a wide margin. The study sponsored by the Cotton Foundation shows that across the Mid-South, plant bugs reduced yields by 115,451 bales in 2007, nearly double that of the next closest pest – the tobacco budworm/cotton bollworm complex.

In the Delta area of Mississippi, growers spent a staggering $67.50 per acre to combat plant bugs, the study says. Louisiana and Arkansas spent roughly half that. A majority of the blame was placed on plant bugs that migrated in waves out of maturing corn and into still-green cotton. Hypothetically, plant bug control could have approached 100% on Monday, and a grower could be spraying a new infestation only a few days later.

This year, an additional host crop and another pest could double the trouble. According to USDA estimates, winter wheat acreage across the Mid-South has nearly tripled since 2006 to 1.67 million acres this season. Wheat is a very good host for thrips, and when wheat begins to dry down, they could beat tarnished plant bugs to adjacent cotton fields.

“There’s not a lot of things you can do preemptively, but you need to be aware of it,” says Mississippi Extension entomologist Dr. Angus Catchot. “When cotton is in an area where there is a lot of wheat, generally we can expect thrips. It’s hard to predict what any insect is going to do, but generally we are going to have high thrips numbers with the amount of wheat we have in the state in fields that are adjacent or close to cotton.”

Catchot says essentially 100% of Mississippi’s cotton has either an on-seed treatment or Temik on it. “That does work well,” he says. “We had an increase in wheat acres last year and we had significant thrips damage. People wondered at that time if seed treatments were holding up, and they were – it was just extremely high pressure.”

The proof of that, Catchot says, was in test plots scattered through the state. “We did have a little damage on plots with seed treatments,” he explains. “But we had plots next to those that were not treated with anything for thrips and the plants were almost dead.”

Cut Out Cutworms

The higher wheat acreage also is causing producers to modify their preplant burndown herbicide applications on cotton land because of the potential for drift onto neighboring wheat fields. “Cotton growers and pesticide applicators are concerned about the non-target effects of the burndown treatments and have tried to wait for days when wind is not a factor. By trying to be good stewards, they ended up spraying later than normal,” says Dr. Roger Leonard, an LSU AgCenter entomologist. “Producers tried to control heavy vegetation, which is dying slowly, and some will likely be present when planting occurs. If the soils are cool, cotton is going to emerge slowly, and the opportunity for cutworm problems could be quite extreme where there is residue.”

In those cases, Leonard says pyrethroids should be applied as a preventive application. “This treatment can be applied just prior to planting, at-planting, or immediately after planting. It does not matter as long as they put one out,” he adds.

Another consideration is that if a cutworm kills a transgenic cotton plant before the plant-protection trait can be expressed, you’ve lost more than just that plant. “You are not going to recoup that investment if a cutworm takes that plant out – you’ve lost the technology up front,” Leonard explains. “Don’t forget about cutworms.”

Caption for Sidebar:
Cotton next to corn was a common sight in 2007.

Chart:
Mid-South Insect Losses in 2007 (in bales)
Source: Mississippi State University and Cotton Foundation

Leave a Reply

Insect Control Stories
Insect Control

Georgia Scientists Seek Public’s Help in Tracking New Stink Bug

April 14, 2015

University of Georgia entomologists are asking Georgians to help track an insect that loves to stow away in homes and could potentially hurt the state’s crops, including cotton.

Insect Control

Mississippi Scout School Schedule Set

April 16, 2015

Mississippi State University has scheduled five scout schools in late May and early June.

Disease Control / Nematodes

Velum Total Approved for Cotton, Peanuts in 2015

February 12, 2015

Bayer CropScience has received registration for Velum Total, a new insecticide/nematicide for use in cotton and peanuts in 2015.

Insect Control

New Mid-South Insect Control Guides Now Available

January 22, 2015

Insect control guides for 2015 are now available from the University of Tennessee and from Mississippi State University.

Insect Control

Genome Mapping Signals Brighter Days for U.S. Cotton

December 6, 2014

At a time when growers rely increasingly more on genetic advancements in yield and fiber quality to keep cotton economically viable, cotton breeders and researchers are excited about the possibilities that genome mapping brings to variety and trait development.

Crop Inputs

FMC to Acquire Cheminova

September 8, 2014

Auriga Industries has agreed to sell its wholly-owned subsidiary Cheminova to FMC Corporation.

Crop Inputs

Managing Bollworms in Dual Gene Bt Cotton

August 15, 2014

Specialists at Mississippi State University have been monitoring recent bollworm activity, which is beginning to threaten cotton containing dual gene Bt traits. They offer guidelines for determining when – or if – additional treatments may be needed.

Around The Gin
Product News

EPA Approves Enlist Duo Herbicide for Use in Additional States

April 2, 2015

The EPA has approved Enlist Duo herbicide for use in nine additional states, including four in the Cotton Belt.

Product News

New 2015 CROPLAN Cotton Varieties Feature Bollgard II XtendFlex Technology

March 19, 2015

WinField is adding Monsanto’s new Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton trait to two new CROPLAN cotton varieties for 2015.

Precision Technology

New Features for TeeJet Aeros 9040 Field Computer

March 18, 2015

TeeJet has added new features to its Aeros 9040 Field Computer for 2015.

Precision Technology

TeeJet Launches New DynaJet Flex Nozzle Control System

March 17, 2015

The new DynaJet Flex 7120 nozzle control system from TeeJet Technologies helps growers manage spray quality across a variety of operating speeds and application rates.

Product News

New Cheminova Chemistry to Help Control Herbicide Resistant Weeds

February 23, 2015

Cheminova plans to register pethoxamid, a new herbicide active ingredient, to help growers manage herbicide-resistant weeds.

Product News

Brake Herbicide Receives Section 18 Approvals in Six States

February 18, 2015

Brake Herbicide has received Section 18 emergency use exemptions for control of glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth in six cotton producing states.

Precision Technology

TeeJet Matrix 430 Provides Simple, Easy-to-Use Guidance

February 18, 2015

TeeJet Technologies’ new Matrix 430 GNSS guidance system is ideal for a wide range of field applications.

Precision Technology

TeeJet Launches RX520 High-Precision GNSS Receiver

February 17, 2015

TeeJet Technologies has introduced the RX520 dual frequency GNSS receiver for precision farming operations.

Latest News
Insect Control

Mississippi Scout School Schedule Set

April 16, 2015

Mississippi State University has scheduled five scout schools in late May and early June.

Insect Control

Georgia Scientists Seek Public’s Help in Tracking New Stink Bug

April 14, 2015

University of Georgia entomologists are asking Georgians to help track an insect that loves to stow away in homes and could potentially hurt the state’s crops, including cotton.

Insect Control

Plan Now for Plant Bug Management

March 6, 2015

Mississippi State University entomologists have developed Best Management Practices to help growers make plant bug management in cotton more economical, without sacrificing yield.

Insect Control

Search for Thrips Control Options Continues

February 3, 2015

Thrips control in 2014 proved challenging for many growers. And the findings from field studies conducted last year may not provide many happy answers for this season.

Insect Control

New Mid-South Insect Control Guides Now Available

January 22, 2015

Insect control guides for 2015 are now available from the University of Tennessee and from Mississippi State University.

Insect Control

Genome Mapping Signals Brighter Days for U.S. Cotton

December 6, 2014

At a time when growers rely increasingly more on genetic advancements in yield and fiber quality to keep cotton economically viable, cotton breeders and researchers are excited about the possibilities that genome mapping brings to variety and trait development.

Crop Inputs

Managing Bollworms in Dual Gene Bt Cotton

August 15, 2014

Specialists at Mississippi State University have been monitoring recent bollworm activity, which is beginning to threaten cotton containing dual gene Bt traits. They offer guidelines for determining when – or if – additional treatments may be needed.

Crop Inputs

Record Cutout Dates, Save Insect Treatments

August 7, 2014

Scott Stewart, University of Tennessee Extension entomologist, says that growers who record the date of cutout can start counting down the days until treatments for some insect pests can be ended.

Crop Inputs

Crunch Time for Cotton Insect Management

July 28, 2014

According to Tennessee Extension Entomologist Scott Stewart, cotton growers are entering a critical window for managing insect pests in cotton, as immature plant bugs, stink bug and bollworm infestations may all coincide during the mid-flowering period.

Crop Inputs

Options Available for Plant Bug Management

July 10, 2014

With plant bug season in full force in many areas of the Southern Cotton Belt, Extension entomologists in the Mid-South have developed a list of products and treatment options for cotton growers to consider.

Crop Inputs

Monitor Square Retention in Young Cotton

June 20, 2014

Now that plant bug season has arrived, Extension specialists suggest taking square retention counts along with sweep net counts prior to bloom to help with treatment decisions.

Crop Inputs

Plant Bugs Off to an Early Start in Tennessee

June 18, 2014

Scott Stewart, University of Tennessee Extension entomologist, says the phone has been ringing about plant bugs – including immatures – in West Tennessee cotton.

Crop Inputs

Managing Late Thrips and Early Plant Bugs

June 17, 2014

Now that Mid-South cotton has basically outgrown the thrips threat and squaring has begun, growers should be watching closely for plant bug activity.

Crop Inputs

Mississippi: Plant Bug Nymphs Reported in Pre-Bloom Cotton

June 16, 2014

Mississippi State Extension entomologists are reporting early plant bug nymph activity on pre-bloom cotton.

Crop Inputs

Patience Is a Virtue in Technology Development

June 3, 2014

Companies often wait more than a decade before seeing their new research ideas in the commercial market.