“Most of my growers have planted 90% of their cotton, if not a little more, and they’re watering up most of the last of that. In our older cotton, we’re starting some herbicides – Roundup and Staple and in some fields it’s dicamba and Roundup.
“Most of my growers went with AgLogic, the aldicarb soil insecticide, and that made a big difference in the way cotton came up. Thrips haven’t jumped on it and plants look pretty fair. In a few places, growers didn’t use the material and thrips have developed in that cotton.
“We’re also about 90% finished with peanut planting or maybe a little further along. Where we have irrigation, we’ll wrap up cotton and peanut planting in short order.
“Corn looks super. It loves sunshine, and those plants have had it in abundance. With this heat, we’re having to keep the pivots running. Most of our corn is either in tassel or heading towards it. We’re having to treat much of the corn crop for brown stink bugs at tassel or just ahead ot tassel.
“If we can keep the water going and maybe get rain this weekend, we could be set up for a very good corn crop. No disease is showing up to speak of. Very little northern corn leaf blight is present and I’ve found no rust whatsoever.”
Aaron Cato, Entomologist-Post Doctoral, Auburn University:
“In checking thrips trials today (5/28) at Prattville, spider mites weren’t hard to find. We were seeing them all across the thrips trial and also in bollworm trials. Scattered mite injury was evident and mites were present on the underside of leaves.
“With dry and hot weather right now, conditions are very conducive to mite propagation. Acephate treatments for thrips also can give spider mites an opening, so we need to watch for them, especially if two thrips applications go out. Given a chance, mites will spread and defoliate leaves.
“It’s tricky to know when or whether to treat in this early situation. Mississippi State’s research indicates that you can expect some level of yield loss if spider mites cause injury for 14 days. If you’re finding mites spread across the field with active colonies, they will only get worse in this heat and with thrips application.
“If you receive rain, it’s not 100% certain that you will get rid of them. Bottom line: check and be prepared to treat if necessary. Go with abamectin. It’s economical and it may be the only thing your distributor has in stock.
“The caveat is that spraying mites in late May or early June may mean you lose efficacy with abamectin if you have to spray again. Mites probably aren’t gaining resistance to abamectin, as such, but they can build localized tolerance. In Arkansas evaluations with multiple sprays, a third application of abamectin didn’t work at all.”
Dominic Reisig, NCSU Extension Specialist, Entomology, Plymouth, North Carolina:
“It’s all thrips all the time, and the situation has gotten worse over the last week. A few spots received showers and isolated areas look good, but cotton is mostly sitting in dust and thrips are banging it up.
“Any weed hosts have dried down, and that dispersed thrips and exacerbated the expected peak in cotton. I’m fielding a lot of calls about whether to respray for thrips after already making an acephate application 8 to 10 days ago (from 5/28). Thrips are still jumping on those plants and dinging them up pretty badly.
“It’s hard to say what to do, quite frankly. I’ve been here 10 years and have never seen it get this hot this early. I made that statement to a veteran crop consultant who said that this is his 30th season and he’s also never seen this kind of heat this soon.
“People are asking whether to increase rates on a second spray. Going with higher rates of acephate can be problematic and could bring on spider mites. With thrips, timing is more important than rates, I think.
“I’m also being asked if any of this is due to resistance. We did send samples to Scott Stewart at the University of Tennessee for resistance testing and his group reported that both acephate and Radiant should work, so this doesn’t appear to be a resistance issue. To some extent, dry weather worked against plants taking up seed treatments, and that’s a factor, too.
“We swept some daisy fleabane in northeastern North Carolina and found a pile of immature plant bugs and some adults, so that’s the next thing to worry about.
“The next 3 days will be very hot. The predicted peak will be on Thursday at 99.”
Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist, Tifton, Georgia:
“Any cotton planted in April is at least close to pinhead square. I was in some cotton today (5/28) planted on April 25 that was squaring. So, be mindful about the need to start scouting for plant bugs and monitoring retention. Right now, that would be just a small percentage of our acres.
“Growers are trying to finish planting. It’s dry, and we haven’t had a rain in 18 to 20 days, plus it’s hot.
“Toward the end of last week, I began receiving a few more calls about thrips. I think we’ve had a big flush of them moving from other hosts as they dried down and people began noticing a bit more injury last week in cotton. A little spraying is being done, but thrips shouldn’t be an issue past that.
“Where people have been timely with foliar sprays, plants look so much better. We promote making that treatment decision at first true leaf. With seed treatments, you begin seeing breakthroughs about 14 days after planting. You still have some activity from the seed treatment, but a foliar spray would be necessary if you find moderate to high thrips pressure.
“With thrips, it’s better to be on the early side, and that spray at the first leaf synchronizes with a lot of our normal production practices, like herbicides. With thrips, this is a good time to evaluate how your at-planting program worked, and take notes for reference next year. Don’t just make mental notes. Write it down and put it someplace where you can find it next year.