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
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.

Crop Inputs

Managing Plant Growth, Fertility in Cotton

July 7, 2016

As cotton moves into a critical growth period, Tennessee Extension Cotton Specialist Tyson Raper offers guidelines regarding plant management with PGRs, as well as recommendations to help offset sulfur deficiencies.

Weed Control

Cut Down on Weed Escapes

June 28, 2016

As new types of resistance appear, 2016 could become a banner year for pigweed escapes.

Weed Control

New Webcast Outlines Flag the Technology Program

June 22, 2016

A new webcast explaining the use and value of the University of Arkansas’ Flag the Technology program has been added to the Focus on Cotton online series from the Plant Management Network and Cotton Incorporated.

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.

Around The Gin
Product News

Indigo Launches Water Efficiency Product for Cotton

July 26, 2016

Boston-based research firm Indigo has launched its first commercial product – Indigo Cotton – which helps improve the cotton plant’s water use efficiency.

Product News

Enlist Technology Provides Tolerance to Three Key Herbicides

July 13, 2016

The Enlist weed control system will give growers the ability to use three modes of action postemergence in both cotton and soybeans.

Product News

Providing Upland Varieties with Acala-like Quality

July 13, 2016

PhytoGen offers growers several upland cotton varieties with Acala-like fiber quality for added premiums and higher profitability.

Product News

PhytoGen Names Winners in Best Yielder Club Sweepstakes

June 29, 2016

A North Carolina cotton grower was named grand prize winner in the 2016 PhytoGen Best Yielder Club sweepstakes.

Product News

Monsanto Donates Research Center to Local Foundation

June 27, 2016

Monsanto Company has donated its 150-acre Leland Agronomy Center to The B.F. Smith Foundation, a nonprofit organization in the Mississippi Delta.

Product News

Record Yields Set by 2015 FiberMax One Ton Club

May 4, 2016

The 127 members who qualified for the FiberMax One Ton Club pushed cotton yields and quality to higher levels in 2015.

Product News

Meister Media Worldwide Website Relaunches With New Resources

April 22, 2016

Meister Media Worldwide — publisher of Cotton Grower magazine – has relaunched its corporate website, highlighting information and services available from one of agriculture’s leading media companies.

Product News

ReinCloud Promises Remote Control

April 18, 2016

New software set to combine irrigation management and data collection – all in the palm of your hand.

Latest News
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.

Crop Inputs

Plan PGR Use in Cotton Carefully

July 11, 2016

Mississippi State University Cotton Specialist Darrin Dodds offers five tips for cotton growers to consider when planning PGR use this season.

Weed Control

Post-Direct and Hooded Options for Pigweed Control

July 7, 2016

Considering how Palmer amaranth – or pigweed – seems to just keep coming this year, directed layby applications are critical for maintaining consistent pigweed control.

Crop Inputs

Managing Plant Growth, Fertility in Cotton

July 7, 2016

As cotton moves into a critical growth period, Tennessee Extension Cotton Specialist Tyson Raper offers guidelines regarding plant management with PGRs, as well as recommendations to help offset sulfur deficiencies.

Weed Control

Cut Down on Weed Escapes

June 28, 2016

As new types of resistance appear, 2016 could become a banner year for pigweed escapes.

Weed Control

New Webcast Outlines Flag the Technology Program

June 22, 2016

A new webcast explaining the use and value of the University of Arkansas’ Flag the Technology program has been added to the Focus on Cotton online series from the Plant Management Network and Cotton Incorporated.

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

AgriLife Extension: 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.

Precision Technology

New Webcast Shows Use and Value of On-Farm Data

May 10, 2016

A new webcast focused on the use and value of farm-level data has been added to the Focus on Cotton online series from the Plant Management Network and Cotton Incorporated.

Weed Control

Preserving Weed Management Tools through Good Stewardship

May 9, 2016

Cotton growers looking for ways to cut trips across their fields to save money and time could be doing more harm than good – especially when it comes to weed management.

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.