Growing up in Jonesville, Louisiana, I developed an interest in agriculture. When I was 17 years old, I met cotton consultant Roger Carter literally on the turnrow. I did a two-year summer internship with him while in college and later worked for him full-time before starting my own business in 1998. Today, I stay in close contact with other Mid-South consultants, sharing information about what we are seeing, what we are doing, what’s working and what is not.
The 2019 cotton season was difficult because of the tremendous rains we experienced. But in the end, we had some really good yields. Since we plant mostly two-gene Bt cotton varieties, we learned a lot about how to manage plant growth regulators, plant bug sprays and worm sprays. Applying PGRs to keep the cotton short makes it easier for insecticides to penetrate the canopy and helps prevent target spot and other late-season diseases.
Plant Bugs And Bollworms
Our two biggest cotton insect issues are plant bugs and bollworms. When plant bugs start showing up at pinhead square, I apply two shots of Transform® WG insecticide back to back about seven to 10 days apart. We hit plant bugs early and stay on them to keep them from blowing up. After the second Transform application, we rotate out to other modes of action for resistance management. We want to keep Transform around as long as we can.
Vydate® C-LV insecticide/nematicide typically goes out in the third application to control plant bugs and help with nematodes in our lighter soils. I like to switch off to Vydate and other chemistries for a couple of shots and then come back to Transform later in the season. I usually make six plant bug treatments during the year. We have to stay on plant bugs until the bitter end, or they will tear us up.
I try to keep the spray volume at 10 gallons of water per acre with a ground rig and 5 gallons with an airplane. I also use a lot of crop oil in the sprays for better coverage and penetration to control plant bugs down in the canopy. Making timely applications and keeping cotton away from corn also helps with plant bug control.
We typically see our first big bollworm egg lay in cotton about July 4. We start spraying eggs with diamide insecticides to get on top of them. We sometimes spray them twice. If you wait to find worms, you have missed out and will take damage.
Cotton has always been my first love. It’s what got us to where we are, so don’t give up on it. If you apply PGRs, make plant bug and bollworm sprays, and we don’t get a hurricane, everything will work out.
More about Richard Griffing
- B.S., agronomy with an emphasis on pest management, Louisiana Tech University, 1988.
- Consulted for 33 years. In 1998, established Griffing Consulting LLC — a full-service business.
- Consults on cotton, soybeans, rice, corn, millet, wheat, oats and milo in Catahoula, Concordia, Franklin and Tensas parishes.
- Member of the Louisiana Agricultural Consultants Association and served on the Executive Board.
- Member of the Ferriday, Louisiana, Rotary Club and the New Covenant Presbyterian Church in Natchez, Mississippi.
- Married to Rachel White Griffing. Four children: Caleb, Austin, Hannah and Kristen. Four grandchildren: Rhett, 5; Mabry, 2; Ridge, 3 months; and Rosey, 3 weeks.
- Enjoys crappie fishing, bow hunting, traveling, attending LSU ball games and spending time with family.