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Pest Challenges On The Radar print email

Virgil King, III
King’s Ag Consulting, Inc.
Lexington, Miss. (Working Holmes, Humphreys and Yazoo Counties)

It is hard to believe that for some 30 years now that I have spent countless hours looking at crops and making decisions about what needs to be done to them. In 1985 after scouting cotton for about 10 years and graduating with degrees in entomology, plant pathology and weed science, I formed King’s Ag Consulting and have been working as a private agricultural consultant and enjoying every minute of it.

For most of those 30 years I worked primarily cotton, but in the latter years with the cropping landscape changing, I have diversified my business to include soybeans, corn, peanuts and grain sorghum. I had looked at all of these crops, with the exception of peanuts, at some time or the other on a limited basis.

Years ago, the thought of cotton acres decreasing never crossed my mind, so it was a real adjustment when it did happen. The only thing we are certain about with the crop mix we have at this time is that whichever commodity is at the highest price at the time of planting is the one we will be working on. Last year, with the price of cotton coming back, our acreage soared some but not to where it used to be. This year, our area is back down about 40 percent from last year.

Since I have been consulting, I don’t think I have ever seen any two cotton crops alike. Maybe some similarities, but always new challenges. Weed control has definitely been a new challenge with all the resistant weeds that are showing up. It has actually made us go back and study weed identification again. Our area is not overtaken with resistant pigweed yet, but we are seeing more and more of them. We are spending a lot of time trying to get our growers to be proactive in prevention.

As we go into July, we are constantly wondering what the insect pressure will be like from here to the end of the season. So far, we have not had any indication that the bollworm or budworm is going to be a major factor. Our corn has had unusually low numbers in it at this time. We have had high numbers of plant bugs in corn and beans and are seeing them move into the cotton. We know we will have our hands full with them before the year’s end. We are thankful to have the Section 18 for Transform to help with this problem.

Since we have had some better temperatures and moisture in June, the early spider mites we were treating have been less of a problem since our plants are growing. Typically, mites are a major problem for us. We usually have an outbreak of aphids sometime in July, so we also will be watching out for this pest.

As with all the cotton crops that we have managed in recent years, we need high yields to survive. Our greatest challenge we see at this time is managing our inputs for maximum yields and high profits. It is the only way we can survive in this business.

Click here to ask Virgil King a question or submit a comment about this month’s Cotton Consultant’s Corner.

• B.S. in Biology & Chemistry – University of Mississippi, 1979
• M.S. in Entomology, Plant Pathology and Weed Science – Mississippi State University, 1981
• Currently consults on cotton, corn, soybeans, peanuts and grain sorghum
• Member of MACA and past president in 2001 and 2012
• 2011 Cotton Consultant of the Year
• Member and music leader at Oregon Memorial Church
• Married to wife Rossie (a reading intervention specialist) for 32 years. Two children: Virgil King IV, a CPA with CBIZ MHM Thompson Dunavant; and Nick King, a licensed consultant with King’s Ag Consulting
• Four grandchildren: Three girls and one boy with whom he spends a lot of time
• Enjoys the outdoors and all that goes with it – hunting,
fishing, etc.; carpentry work in his shop or any type of
building challenge; and music and playing the guitary

Recap:
Pest Challenges On The Radar

1. We are seeing more resistant pigweeds and trying to be proactive in prevention.

2. We have had high numbers of plant bugs in corn and beans and are seeing them move into the cotton. We are thankful to have the Section 18 for Transform to help with this problem.

3. The early spider mites we were treating have been less of a problem since our plants are growing. Typically, mites are a major problem for us.

4. We usually have an outbreak of aphids sometime in July, so we also will be watching out for this pest.

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