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Peters Crop Consulting
I grew up in Franklin Parish where my father farmed for about 40 years. Cotton was our predominant crop, so I had a lot of experience plowing, planting, spraying, hoeing and harvesting. In 1996, there were more cotton acres in Franklin Parish than there were in the entire state of Louisiana in 2015. In 2010, which was the beginning of a low point for cotton, I started consulting. I may have scouted 500 acres of cotton that year out of more than 20,000. Then as recently as a couple years ago, I was scouting up to 10,000 cotton acres.
Today, I consult in Tensas, Richland and Franklin parishes. Insect pests are always a problem in our cotton, but the spectrum can vary from parish to parish. For example, I may have spider mite issues in Tensas Parish and not have them in Richland Parish. The snow, ice and extremely low temperatures we experienced this winter should knock back stink bugs but may only have minimal impact on other cotton insect pests.
Keep Tarnished Plant Bug In Check
We typically spray all of our 2-gene cotton for bollworm. We didn’t spray any of our 3-gene cotton for bollworm in 2020, so that technology is holding its own right now. Traditionally, tarnished plant bug is always an issue for us. Transform® WG insecticide is a good option to control them and protect cotton yields. We apply 1 1⁄2 to 2 ounces of Transform at least twice. Sometimes we make a third application, depending on the pressure.
Transform is also a good rotational partner with other chemis- tries — such as Diamond insecticide — to help delay resistance. In some cases, we tank mix Transform and Diamond, and sometimes we make sequential applications. Some of my farmers will make back-to-back applications of Transform. It’s flexible enough to fit a variety of insect control programs from early in the season when we first start seeing plant bugs to mid-season when we get to bloom or even past bloom, if needed. Transform is easy on beneficial insects and doesn’t flare mites or aphids.
Strive For Earliness, Lock In Prices
It’s also important to manage cotton for early maturity. For the most part, we can produce a profitable crop if we can get it in early and use PGRs to control growth.
I think it’s a good idea to lock in high commodity prices and lower input prices where possible this year. Cotton is what brought every- body to the table, so most of our farmers are sticking with it.