My interest in consulting began at a young age when I used to ride with my dad, Frank Corban, who was the County Agent for Sharkey County at the time. He made calls on local farmers to advise them on things like weed control, insect control and spray rig calibration. As a teenager in high school, I scouted cotton, and, in 1983 after graduating from Mississippi State, I started my own consulting business.
In our area this season, the cotton is later than normal. Typically, most of our cotton is squaring by the first of June. But, this year, only a small percentage was squaring by June 10. Consequently, we will be spraying for insects a lot longer than we usually do. Our biggest concern is the tarnished plant bug followed by bollworms in transgenic cotton. We’ll also be watching for spider mite hot spots that flare up.
Plant Bug/Bollworm Control
I am excited about some of the newer insecticides that have been labeled for plant bugs. I believe that Transform is going to be a big help to us in controlling them.
In some cases, we probably will tankmix Transform with a pyrethroid to take care of the bollworms when they show up. Typically, the most damaging levels occur in the middle of July. Then they will come out in higher numbers again in the middle of August, but, hopefully, in a normal year we will have most of our crop made by then.
We also use an insect growth regulator before first bloom or at first bloom to help control plant bugs.
Spider Mite Presence Increasing
Over the past 10 years, spider mites have become more of a problem. As of June 20, we have already made some foliar applications for spider mites. They usually start on the borders and gradually move out into the field. Since this is the case, we begin by treating the borders first. If the rows are running with the border, sometimes we can spray a half or a quarter of the field by hanging the boom out over it while driving down the turnrow. But when it’s dry, this pest often is found everywhere, and we have to treat the whole area either by air or with a ground rig.
It’s not practical to spot spray for spider mites because this can cause them to spread. If you are using a ground machine, they can attach themselves to the equipment and rub off on the cotton 100 to 200 yards down the field. Then later in the year, you would usually have to spray the whole field just for that reason.
After 31 years of consulting, I have seen good crops and bad crops, but I’ve always enjoyed working with my farmers. Our customers who have stuck with cotton have averaged about 1,200 pounds per acre over the last several years. With the high-yielding varieties that we have, I am optimistic that cotton is going to be competitive again.
Click here to ask Kevin Corban a question or submit a comment about this month’s Cotton Consultant’s Corner.
• B.S. in Agronomy, Mississippi State University, 1983
• Master of Agriculture in Crop Pest Management, Mississippi State University, 1985
• Consults on cotton, corn, soybeans, peanuts, grain sorghum and wheat
• Past board member and current member of Mississippi Agricultural Consultants Association (MACA)
• Has sold crop insurance since 2001
• Married to wife, Mary Boykin Corban. Two daughters, Beth and Ali
• Enjoys duck hunting and flying his Cessna 182 for business and pleasure
Recap: Prepare To Spray
Longer For Insects
1. Because the cotton is later than normal this year, we will be spraying for insects a lot longer than we usually do.
2. We are most concerned about tarnished plant bugs, but I believe that Transform is going to be a big help to us in controlling them.
3. We also use an insect growth regulator before first bloom or at first bloom to help control plant bugs.
4. In some cases, we will tankmix Transform with a pyrethroid to take care of bollworms in transgenic cotton. In a normal year, the most damaging levels occur in the middle of July.
5. Spider mites have become more of a problem over the past 10 years. They usually start on the borders and gradually move out into the field.
6. Typically, we treat the borders first for spider mites, but when it’s dry and this pest shows up everywhere, we have to treat the whole area either by air or with a ground rig. It’s not practical to spot spray for spider mites because this can cause them to spread throughout the field.