Managing Populations, Retaining Squares Are Keys to Plant Bug Control

From Cotton Grower Magazine – June 2014

 

No surprise here. Thanks to boll weevil eradication and the advent of transgenic insect traits for cotton, plant bugs have emerged as the most important pest in many Cotton Belt states.

The 2013 summary of Cotton Insect Losses compiled by Mississippi State University showed that the highest percentage of insect losses in cotton nationally came from plant bugs, leading to an estimated loss of 188,520 bales. The study also showed that infested acres received, on average, more than 3.5 treatments for plant bugs. For Mid-South states, however, the number of treatments per season can range from six to 12 to more.

The insect’s ability to rapidly increase populations can often seem overwhelming for growers and consultants. But recent studies showing decreased efficacy on plant bugs from many labeled insecticides are also troubling.

“We reviewed data from about 43 trials conducted in Arkansas over the past 2-3 years and looked at the percent control for the different products we had in those trials,” said Gus Lorenz, University of Arkansas Extension entomologist, speaking to a consultants conference in Memphis. “Seventy percent control was the best we could see with single product applications.

“I tell growers we don’t control plant bugs,” he continued. “We manage them. That 70 percent control may be very adequate early season before we go into bloom and those early plant bug populations take off. It may get the numbers down to where growers can maintain square retention. I’m truly not concerned about how many plant bugs I can control with a treatment. Our goal is 80 percent square retention.”

Lorenz and other Mid-South Extension entomologists have worked together to develop sampling techniques for plant bugs, as well as a common treatment threshold of three plant bugs per five row feet. That provides a good guideline for growers and consultants, especially during the key period between late squaring and the fourth week of flowering, when plant bugs can do the most damage to yields. But recent history has shown that plant bug populations can blow through a threshold and never look back.

“In our plot work, we see plant bug numbers going from 2-3 per five row feet to 60 per five row feet in a matter of 4-5 days,” stated Lorenz. “That’s how quickly it’s happens to us, and that’s how quickly it’s happening on a farm.

“If growers wait too long to make an application and knock that number down below the threshold, they’ll have to come back with another treatment pretty quickly,” he said. “A lot of growers don’t want to spray more than once a week, and I understand that. But it’s tough when plant bugs are going exponential on us. If you don’t hit them quickly, you can get into trouble.”

Rotation – as well as close attention to nozzles and application systems and timing – is the key to plant bug management. Treatment recommendations now focus on a mix of products to help protect effectiveness and keep plant bug numbers below threshold.

Diamond is a good fit during the late squaring/early flowering time period, when large numbers of adult plant bugs are usually migrating into cotton from corn or other wild hosts. But, noted Lorenz, a tankmix of Diamond and Centric can provide an additional punch if growers are trying to knock high numbers of plant bugs down to a more manageable level.

Follow with Transform during early flowering. “Transform provides a new mode of action that has shown a higher level of control than we see with some other products,” said Lorenz.

Growers can then keep focus on continuing management with tank mixes of organophosphates and pyrethroids.

“Many growers tend to rely on acephate followed by acephate followed by acephate,” stated Lorenz. “It works great, and it’s inexpensive. But you risk losing efficacy in that situation.

“Likewise, bifenthrin by itself is not very good on plant bugs,” he continued. “But later in the season, it seems to be one of the products of choice and has shown striking increases in control when put in a tankmix.”

However, warns Lorenz, some tank mixes just don’t work. Getting the right tankmix partners together is the key.

Growers also need to keep an eye on rate limits for many of these products.

“There are concerns about rate limits with some products,” said Lorenz. “For example, we’ve seen acephate rates jump from a third of a pound per acre to one pound per acre in a little over five years. When you see that kind of rate shift over a short amount of time, we can get in trouble with some of these products. That’s why it’s vitally important for us to make our technologies work and last as long as we can.

“We need to maintain everything we have to keep that control of plant bugs.”

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Crop Inputs Stories

News

USDA Announces Measures to Help Farmers Diversify Weed Control Efforts

October 16, 2014

USDA has announced several new steps to help address the increase of herbicide resistant weeds in U.S. agricultural systems.

Crop Inputs

Consider Options for Fall Herbicide Applications

October 7, 2014

Growers who may be considering fall herbicide applications for anything other than Italian ryegrass may want to rethink their options.

Cotton Production

New Cotton Webcasts Focus on Using Yield Monitor Data for Precision Planning

September 10, 2014

Two new webcasts to help growers successfully capture and use data from yield monitors have been added to the Focus on Cotton online webcast resource, developed by Cotton Incorporated and the Plant Management Network.

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

Topcon Introduces X25 Console for Precision Control

September 2, 2014

Topcon Precision Agriculture has released the X25 Console – a new color touch-screen unit that offers full-featured precision machine control and high accuracy auto-steering in a smaller package.

Crop Inputs

National Summit on Herbicide Resistant Weeds Set for September 10

August 31, 2014

The Weed Science Society of America will conduct a national scientific summit on herbicide resistant weeds in Washington, D.C., on September 10, including a live webcast of the event for those unable to attend in person.

Crop Inputs

Ramping Up the Outreach for Enlist Technology

August 29, 2014

Dow AgroScience is ramping up outreach and education efforts to make sure cotton producers are ready for the introduction of the Enlist Weed Control System for cotton in 2016, pending regulatory approval.

Around The Gin

Product News

PhytoGen Partners with Farmers to Aid Local Charities

October 17, 2014

Since becoming a partner in the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year program three years ago, PhytoGen has made donations to 25 charities on behalf of state farmers of the year.

Product News

Enlist Duo Herbicide Approved; Enlist Weed Control System Now Cleared for Use

October 16, 2014

The Enlist Weed Control System from Dow AgroSciences has been approved for field use in corn and soybeans in 2015 by federal regulatory authorities, with introduction in cotton still scheduled for 2016.

News

Registration for 2015 Beltwide Cotton Conferences Opens as Program Takes Shape

October 3, 2014

Registration now is open for the 2015 Beltwide Cotton Conferences, set for January 5-7 at the Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio, TX.

Product News

October 10 Deadline for Public Comments on Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System Plants

September 25, 2014

The public comment period on the draft environmental impact statement for cotton and soybean plants for Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System will remain open through October 10.

Cotton Production

New Cotton Webcasts Focus on Using Yield Monitor Data for Precision Planning

September 10, 2014

Two new webcasts to help growers successfully capture and use data from yield monitors have been added to the Focus on Cotton online webcast resource, developed by Cotton Incorporated and the Plant Management Network.

Marketing

First Class Selected for Cotton Research and Promotion Program Hall of Fame

September 8, 2014

Five honorees have been elected to the first class of Cotton Incorporated’s newly-established Cotton Research and Promotion Program Hall of Fame.

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

Bayer CropScience Opens New Cotton Research Greenhouse in Memphis

September 4, 2014

Bayer CropScience has opened its newest cotton research facility – a $17 million, 76,000-square foot state-of-the-art greenhouse and headhouse addition to its existing site at Agricenter International in Memphis, TN.

Latest News

News

USDA Announces Measures to Help Farmers Diversify Weed Control Efforts

October 16, 2014

USDA has announced several new steps to help address the increase of herbicide resistant weeds in U.S. agricultural systems.

Crop Inputs

Consider Options for Fall Herbicide Applications

October 7, 2014

Growers who may be considering fall herbicide applications for anything other than Italian ryegrass may want to rethink their options.

Crop Inputs

Deltapine Top Brand, PHY 499 WRF Top Cotton Variety for 2014

September 16, 2014

According to the USDA 2014 Cotton Varieties Planted report, Deltapine was the most popular cottonseed brand planted in the U.S. this season, with PhytoGen’s PHY 499 WRF ranked as the top planted variety.

Crop Inputs

National Summit on Herbicide Resistant Weeds Set for September 10

August 31, 2014

The Weed Science Society of America will conduct a national scientific summit on herbicide resistant weeds in Washington, D.C., on September 10, including a live webcast of the event for those unable to attend in person.

Crop Inputs

Ramping Up the Outreach for Enlist Technology

August 29, 2014

Dow AgroScience is ramping up outreach and education efforts to make sure cotton producers are ready for the introduction of the Enlist Weed Control System for cotton in 2016, pending regulatory approval.

Crop Inputs

Record Keeping Software Brings Savings to Cotton Farms

August 28, 2014

Cotton growers are recognizing that using record keeping software to keep an eye on crucial data can translate to on-farm success.

Crop Inputs

Planting Intentions for 2015 Impact Aerial Sowing of Fall Cover Crops for Weed Control

August 26, 2014

Tennessee Extension Weed Specialist Larry Steckel says there’s a lot of interest in aerial seeding of cover crops into standing crops this fall to help with weed suppression next spring.

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

Increase Irrigation Efficiency – and Profit – with LEPA System

August 7, 2014

A recent AgriLife Research study showed that growers who were not utilizing LEPA sprinkler systems in their irrigation program could be losing up to $100 per acre in yield.

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

Mid-South Growers Take Top Prizes in Bayer CropScience 2013 Cotton Belt Challenge

July 21, 2014

Two Mid-South cotton growers are the grand prize winners in the 2013 Bayer CropScience Cotton Belt Challenge.

Crop Inputs

New Cotton Webcasts Focus on Irrigation and Foliar Disease Management

July 18, 2014

Two new webcasts focusing on crop protection and irrigation management have been added to the Focus on Cotton online webcast resource, developed by Cotton Incorporated and the Plant Management Network.

Crop Inputs

Zidua Herbicide Now Labeled for Residual Weed Control at Layby

July 18, 2014

BASF has issued a supplemental label for use of Zidua herbicide in post-directed layby applications for weed control in cotton.

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.