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While attending Mississippi State University, I learned through the friend of a friend about cotton consulting. I knew from that moment this profession was meant for me. I changed my major from forestry to ag pest management, and after graduation, I got my consultant’s license. I was fortunate to pick up my first customer — Triple R Farms in Bolton, Mississippi — right out of college and have grown my business since then.
For the most part, the 2018 planting season was on time in this area. Frequent rains followed by hot weather promoted vigorous plants and good cotton growth, resulting in a light thrips year.
Effective Scouting Methods
We generally start looking for plant bugs in this area when the cotton starts squaring. Around June 8, cotton was squaring on the sixth node, so we were in full swing scouting for tarnished plant bugs. We use different types of sampling methods, such as sweep nets and drop cloths, but most importantly, we put as many footprints in the field as possible to lay our eyes on as many plants as possible. There is a good crop mix in this area, and corn planted next to cotton typically affects the initial infestation of plant bugs.
This pest feeds on the squares and, in the worst case, aborts the fruit. When you find squares on the ground, you are behind. I use Transform WG insecticide to control plant bugs early season prior to bloom when we reach threshold numbers. If we are not trying to control weeds and insects at the same time, I apply Transform by itself at 1.5 ounces per acre. Right out of the gate, Transform appears to have little impact on beneficials, and I haven’t observed it flaring any secondary insect pests, such as mites.
Rotate Chemistry To Avoid Resistance
When targeting plant bugs, it’s important to rotate chemistry to avoid developing resistance due to repeat usage of one product. After the first application of Transform, we come back with an organophosphate, such as Bidrin or Orthene. Following that application, we may apply Transform again. We first check to see if other insects, such as a bollworm complex, are starting to come in. Sometimes they “drive the boat” as far as which direction we go insecticide wise.
This year, Transform received another emergency Section 18 for use in cotton, which is critical for plant bug control. Transform gives us another good option to keep our fields pest-free so we can produce high-yielding cotton.
As consultants, we look forward to helping our farmers boost their bottom line. I urge them to keep going and bring the younger generation with them in the future.
Grafton Agri Consulting LLC
- B.S., ag pest management, Mississippi State University
- Established Grafton Agri Consulting LLC in 2001
- Consults on cotton, soybeans and peanuts
- Member and past president of Mississippi Agricultural Consultants Association
- Married to wife, Nikki. Two children: Davis, 9. Anna Jase, 5.
- Enjoys deer and duck hunting and spending time with his family