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Insect Control

Choosing a Cotton Variety for 2016

planting cotton

In recent years, the presence of glyphosate-resistant pigweed in Mid-South cotton has compelled producers to grow glufosinate (Liberty)-tolerant varieties. In 2015, more than 85 percent of cotton acreage in Arkansas was planted to varieties that are tolerant to glufosinate. This acreage included 11 percent planted to XtendFlex (resistant to dicamba) varieties. However, dicamba applications beyond the current burndown label were not allowed. Almost half of the transgenic entries in the 2015 Arkansas Cotton Variety Test were resistant to dicamba or 2,4-D (Enlist) – a clear indication of the direction of variety development. The Enlist trait is fully registered in the United States, and the herbicide is labeled in all Mid-South states except Tennessee. Import approvals for some Far East countries are still being pursued. We expect a limited release of Enlist cotton in 2016. It is expected, but at this point still uncertain whether labels will allow spraying of dicamba beyond burndown on XtendFlex cotton in 2016. Thus, producers should make their variety choices accordingly and follow all label requirements. Selection of varieties then returns to long-established principles of choosing varieties that are likely to produce stable, high yields of premium quality cotton – regardless of their transgene conf iguration. Read More »

Cotton Variety Selection ABCs

The ABCs of variety selection may start with letters behind a variety name denoting insect resistance or herbicide tolerance technology, but they certainly do not end there. Beyond the letters are complex characteristics controlled by multiple genes – yield, fiber quality, stress response, disease resistance, plant type and relative maturity. “A” stands for area-appropriate. Consider performance data generated from the same area as your farm. Know specific field production constraints and choose varieties with appropriate disease resistance, nematode tolerance and moisture stress response. “B” is for broadening risk with more than one variety in more than one maturity class so harvest on large farms can be staggered. Broadened risk improves the odds of catching beneficial rains and avoiding widespread hail damage. “C” is for control. Stay grounded with input capabilities. Highhorsepower varieties in low-input situations can lead to quality problems. “Control” reminds me of the first cotton farmer to ask my advice on variety selection – my father, who passed away in May. Professional presentation of yield data did not impress him. He told me, “I can make these varieties yield. Show me something with the potential for good fiber quality. I have less control over that.” Read More »

Emphasis On Yield, Quality And Irrigation Response

Ken Legé PhytoGen Cotton Development Specialist Lubbock, Texas   Prior to joining PhytoGen, I had noticed that the germplasm coming out of PhytoGen’s robust West Texas breeding program that will serve the entire Southwest was producing high, consistent yields and was well suited to that area. In addition, the PhytoGen® brand varieties were exhibiting storm tolerance and tolerance to Verticillium, ... Read More »

RGV Anticipates Another Good Season

John Norman John Norman Ag Consultation Weslaco, Texas My first work in pest management in cotton, other than the farm I was raised on in Cameron County, was with the USDA at Brownsville, helping to read results from insecticide trials. All that occurred in the early to mid-60s and then again in the early 70s following a stint in the ... Read More »

Don’t Let Insects Spoil Your Picnic

We have made great strides in the last 20 years with the eradication of the boll weevil in almost all parts of the Cotton Belt and the adoption of Bt cotton varieties that substantially control caterpillar pests. However, there are still annual battles with insect and mite pests that require our diligence. Starting at the beginning, thrips management typically requires the use of at-planting insecticides. Almost everyone is using an insecticide seed treatment, and the option for Temik is no longer available. The spreading resistance of tobacco thrips to thiamethoxam, the active ingredient in Cruiser, caught us a little by surprise the last several years. In the Mid-South, this has essentially put an end to the use of Cruiser and other thiamethoxam- based insecticide seed treatments in cotton. We are concerned about going down a similar path with imidacloprid (e.g. Gaucho) as it is being used now almost exclusively. Read More »

Erratic Weather May Cause Pest Pressure

Western cotton producers and pest control specialists are staying alert for changing field conditions because of this season’s erratic weather patterns and continued water concerns in the region. In California, early season cotton was subject to pressures that are not typically a widespread problem in that state. “It’s been a strange early season with some early, widespread armyworm damage,” says ... Read More »

Texas Insect Pressure Varies in Each Region

The Texas High Plains (THP), largest contiguous cotton patch in the world, had faced an unprecedented drought in 2011 and was unable to recover from the severe drought conditions until last fall. The insect pressure in cotton was relatively low during those dry years. The region has now received significant moisture. In fact, THP cotton planting to date has been limited to less than 10 percent due to the frequent rain events, which would have approached 50 percent in more normal years. We expect the planting to speed up as soon as the weather clears up. With good area-wide moisture and roadside weed hosts in high abundance, a higher-than-usual insect pressure can be expected this year in the THP and throughout Texas. Roadside weed hosts, Conservation Reserve Program grasses and wheat serve as excellent sources of thrips that could likely move to seedling cotton upon wheat harvest or weed senescence. Thrips are considered the most significant insect pest of THP cotton, primarily because their damage is generally compounded with early season environmental injury of seedling cotton brought on by high winds, sandstorms and cool/wet weather. Read More »