Cotton farmers plagued by deer

In Southeast Farm Press

In recent years, many growers have noticed an increasing incidence of deer feeding in young cotton. There are many theories as to why this may be occurring now relative to years prior.

The most common theories are the loss of aldicarb applied in-furrow for thrips and nematode control, major reductions in peanut acreage in the early to mid-2000s, and the resulting absence of preferred food sources during that time. The number of deer feeding complaints in cotton has risen sharply in the last five years; however, these cases are relatively isolated to fields that regularly encounter noticeably high numbers of deer and fields in close proximity to preferred bedding habitat. Continue reading

Whiteflies are a top priority being discussed at county production meetings

By Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

University of Georgia entomologists advise farmers to kill crops capable of hosting whiteflies after the crop is harvested a final time. Crops left in the field could continue to serve as hosts.

“The very best thing we can do right now is to minimize the amount of host material out there and starve these whiteflies to death during the winter,” UGA Cooperative Extension vegetable entomologist Stormy Sparks said. Continue reading

Auburn University doctoral student leads research on how parasitoids use scents to locate hosts

Research by a doctoral student at Auburn University into how certain insect parasitoids “sniff out” their prey will help farmers better utilize them to control insect pests.

Tolulope Morawo, a Ph.D. student at Auburn University, won a Friends of Southern IPM Graduate Student award for his research on two parasitoid species (parasitic wasps) that attack caterpillar pests. His goal is to discover how these parasitoids find their hosts through olfactory responses. Continue reading

The war on the boll weevil

by Dominic Reisig, NC State University

In NC State University News

The boll weevil (Anthonomus grandis) is not much to look at – just a grayish, little beetle with an impressively long snout. But this particular beetle, and its hunger for cotton, was powerful enough to forge an unprecedented partnership between farmers, legislators and scientists. And that partnership showed how much can be accomplished when scientists and farmers work together.

What adult boll weevils lack in size they make up for with their larvae’s ability to feed on and destroy cotton. Boll weevils entered the U.S. from Mexico in the late 1800s, when they were first spotted in Texas. By the 1920s they had spread through all of the major cotton-producing areas in the country. The scope of the damage was breathtaking, as were the control efforts thrown at this insect: at one time, one-third of the insecticide used in the U.S. was used to combat boll weevils. Continue reading

UGA studying effectiveness of chemigation system

By Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

Pesticide application through center pivot irrigation systems, called “chemigation,” could allow Georgia cotton growers to treat multiple fields while lowering application costs and minimizing exposure to chemicals. University of Georgia entomologist Michael Toews is studying the efficacy of this method.

Through chemigation, insecticide is combined with water, sent through the pivot and applied to the field, just as water is applied to the field through the irrigation system. Continue reading

Thrips resistance in cotton

In Southeast Farm Press

by Ron Smith, Alabama Cooperative Extension System

The first major insect we focus on during the cotton production season is thrips. Many have heard and read in recent years about the resistance of thrips to our available seed treatments.

We already recommend foliar sprays at the one to two true-leaf stage when cotton seedlings are not growing rapidly and/or thrips pressure is extremely heavy. As the resistance problem grows, we likely will see an increased need for foliar sprays on top of the seed treatments. Continue reading

Old World bollworm has been found in Florida

In Southwest Farm Press

Old World bollworm, a new and potentially devastating insect pest of U.S. cotton and other crops, has been identified in Florida. It was discovered in Brazil in 2013, in Puerto Rico in 2014, and a few individuals were identified in Florida earlier this year.

“This is a severe economic pest in most places where it is established,” says Greg Sword, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension entomologist, who discussed the possibility of it becoming a significant pest in cotton,  soybeans, wheat, small grains, and other  U.S. crops during the cotton segment of the Texas Plant Protection Association’s 27th annual conference in Bryan, Texas. Continue reading