Monday, November 28, 2022

Early To Mid-Season Insect Pest Control

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Trey Bullock

Bullock’s Ag Consulting
Hattiesburg, Mississippi

I grew up in Greenwood in the heart of the Mississippi Delta where I worked for consultant Jim McCrory every summer in high school and through college. After graduating, I had an opportunity to move to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where I checked cotton and ran the Boll Weevil Eradication Program for about two years before opening Bullock’s Ag Consulting in 1996.

Although last season was wet, we had one of our better cotton crops. I’m always amazed that we can plant a small cotton seed, and it does what it does. To me, that’s a sense of accomplishment.

Tarnished Plant Bug, Thrips And Worm Control

Our biggest concerns regarding early to mid-season insect pests are thrips and tarnished plant bug. I cover 22 counties and start seeing a lot of plant bug problems in the areas closer to the Mississippi River about two hours west of here. They show up early and stay until we get the crop finished. Plant bugs reproduce and go through many generations in the corn and then start pounding our cotton fields. We try to plant corn 15 to 20 miles away from the cotton rather than having the two crops sit turnrow to turnrow to each other.

In areas where we have high plant bug populations, we apply Transform® WG insecticide tank-mixed with Diamond insecticide shortly before bloom. We put out another shot of Transform about 14 days later. Two shots seem to help a whole lot more than just going out with one thinking you’re going to clean everything up.

In peanuts, the primary product I use to control thrips is
Intrepid Edge® insecticide. I’ve also used it in cotton for thrips control when the weather turns cool, the cotton is damaged or just not growing. To me, Intrepid Edge is a good option because it doesn’t  disturb the beneficials or flare any other pests.

To control worms this year, all our cotton varieties contain three-gene Bt technology. We’re hoping that by planting these varieties, we can avoid making worm control applications. We also decided to go with this preventative approach to try to keep the sprayers out of the field so we are not burning diesel. There is not room for any kind of waste this year.

But at the end of the day, we do have high crop prices. That will help a lot. These farmers and their consultants are innovative and will figure out ways to offset some of the challenges we are facing. We need to pray the good Lord will provide the proper weather to make good cotton and that we can make the best decisions in the environment we are in right now.

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