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Stay Vigilant Against Plant Bugs, Bollworm

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Ashley Peters
Peters Crop Consulting
Crowville, Louisiana

Growing up in Franklin Parish, Louisiana, I worked on my dad’s farm where he predominately grew cotton for many years. One of my first jobs outside the family operation was helping a local consultant scout cotton. In 2010, I ventured out on my own to form Peters Crop Consulting.

This year, most of my farmers had all their cotton in by the third week in May with 90 percent up to a stand. We treated some fields for thrips, depending on whether an in-furrow insecticide was applied and what seed treatment was used. Most farmers mixed a foliar insecticide with their herbicide application to control this pest.

Once the plant gets three leaves on it and the temperatures rise, cotton begins outgrowing any thrips issues. Scout

Early For Plant Bugs
We typically start looking for plant bugs before the cotton starts putting on small squares. It’s a good idea to locate where this pest is, how long it has been there and how bad it is before the cotton begins fruiting. In the early fruiting stage, we are definitely looking at hot spots and the places we normally find plant bugs.

In addition to several crops being farmed in our area, we also have CRP and WRP land planted in trees or natural vegetation. Plant bugs can survive here while they are waiting for the cotton or other crops to start growing. This diversified scenario definitely plays a role in the amount of plant bugs we see each year. If we don’t stay on top of them at threshold levels, they can reach high numbers in a short period of time and knock a lot of fruit off the plant, which negatively affects yield.

TransformWe’ve used Transform WG insecticide to control plant bugs since it was first released. It’s economical and easy on beneficials so we don’t have to worry about flaring secondary pests like spider mites. To rotate chemistries, we may apply an imidacloprid on our first shot and then go to Transform at a rate of an ounce and a half per acre. Sometimes we put out back-to-back shots of Transform, which typically carries us for multiple weeks.

We also had early worm pressure last year and had to treat all our dual-gene cotton at least once for bollworms. Where pressure persisted, a second application was warranted on some acres. Bollworms, along with plant bugs, were probably our biggest battle in 2017. I believe the worms will show up again this year, and plant bugs are always there.
In addition to scouting for insects, we have to look for foliar disease in cotton. We saw a lot of target spot last year. So this year, as always, we have to control insects, weeds and disease and hopefully get timely rains to make a respectable yield. How much we put into the crop will determine what we get out of it in the end.

Ashley Peters
Peters Crop Consulting
Crowville, Louisiana

  • B.S., agronomy, minor in ag business; M.S., entomology, Louisiana State University
  • Consults on cotton, rice, sweet potatoes, corn, soybeans, grain sorghum and wheat. Offers soil sampling services
  • Louisiana Agricultural Consultants Association past president
  • Member of the Louisiana Cotton and Grain Association and Northeast Louisiana Rice Growers Association
  • LSU AgCenter Agricultural Leadership Development Program graduate and board member
  • Tensas Basin Levee District commissioner • Northeast Soil & Water Conservation District board member
  • LSU College of Agriculture Alumni Association board member
  • Married to wife, Amy. Two sons: Nathan, 8, and Caleb, 3
  • Coaches soccer, basketball and Little League baseball. Enjoys hunting, fishing, gardening, following LSU sports and being outside with the family