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Graves Agronomy Service Inc.
I grew up working with my dad on the farm and at his retail, fertilizer and commercial application business. When I went to college, I checked cotton and rice with a local crop consultant. In 2003, I established Graves Agronomy Service Inc. and employ two scouts — Chase Middleton and Gaines Barksdale. We cover Coahoma, Quitman, Tallahatchie and Bolivar counties.
Thrips And Tarnished Plant Bug Control
Last year, we had a really good cotton crop. But from an insect standpoint, it was an eye-opener. We were under intense thrips pressure and seeing a lot of insecticide resistance. After making applications of acephate insecticide, even at high rates, we were having widespread control failures. Later in the season, we made an application of Intrepid Edge® insecticide, and it worked really well against thrips. This year, I’m coming out of the gate with it.
Not only do we look at the standard thresholds for thrips, but we also watch for damage to see how well the crop is handling what is out there. Recommendations will be field by field. Hopefully, we won’t have a problem, but with the amount of cover crop that was planted and wheat that’s in my area, I expect a substantial thrips population right off the bat. When we terminate the cover crop, there’s already a big population out there you are planting into. When wheat starts drying down and getting ready to harvest, thrips come out of those fields in tremendous numbers, too.
In 2022, we also had heavy tarnished plant bug pressure. Transform® WG insecticide is the best we’ve got right now to control plant bugs. We use all kinds of two- to three-way tankmixes that I believe help with resistance. It depends on what is going on in the field. I’ve seen fields where we had levels of all kinds of insects — plant bugs, spider mites, bollworm and aphids. Transform works really well on aphids. During the summer, we make a lot of applications for plant bugs and aphids at the same time.
My fields typically get more than one application of Transform, and I am starting to use more of it in late-season tankmixes. In the past two years, late-season pressure has been bad. I am expecting a lot of plant bug pressure this year since we will have more corn acres and less cotton. We have to make timely applications to stay on top of them. However, the pests didn’t hurt us too bad from a yield standpoint last year because we were able to get control. We have all the tools to take care of them, and my growers do an excellent job of farming cotton. They are top-notch.