Virginia Cotton: Most Pests Below Threshold but Keep Scouting

The moth flight is holding steady but still either spotty or picking back up a bit after falling off earlier. 

  • For worms, check under bloom tags (the brown dried up bloom that does not fall off the small bolls) as these are more likely to have a little worm than a boll without the bloom tag.
  • We used to call it cheating to just focus on these bloom tags, although sense these are the higher probability spots, it helps you move through the field quicker.
  • The threshold is 3% live worms for spraying, so you actually probably need a higher number when only checking bloom tags.
  • The highest I am getting this week has been 2% and that has only been in the southern part of Southampton and west of 35.  It was a field of 333 and other fields close by did not have any.
  • Other farmers have reported finding a few worms while other folks are finding the fields pretty clean.
  • Occasionally, I come across a big worm in a boll. This is an escape and not really an indication that the last spray has given up yet. A low percent can always get through.
  • At this point it seems the first sprays are lasting a good two weeks, but my expectation is that there will fields hitting thresholds before three weeks pass.
  • Heavy egg laying is spotty and those fields are certainly at greater risk. Widestrike 2 is also at greater risk.
  • For bug damage (both plantbugs and stinkbugs), I also consistently observe some hits on bolls but not anything near threshold. Again, in the past we have expected to get a couple of weeks after a spray.
  • A big issue also in making the decision on the second spray is to determine how close the field is to blooming out (when the last square has bloomed in the very top).
  • Once a field stops blooming, which is final cut out, then it is relatively safe.
  • For fields with the blooms right in the top, there is nothing to wait for if you are planning on spraying, although if you scout it close and it is clean at this stage, then it could be done and not need another treatment.
  • Fields that were planted late are going to remain susceptible longer as they will take longer to bloom out the top.
  • Once you are at the point of making a decision, the use of a high rate of a pyrethroid will fit most situations.
  • Fields that could be worth the extra investment of a premium worm material would be widestrike 2 fields that have a long time before they cut out.



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