Virginia Cotton: Insect Decisions – Some Easy, Others Not So Much

Photo: Kevin Hudson, Mississippi State University

July is going to finish out with nice spraying conditions with hot days and almost comfortable nights. That nice rain we got last Tuesday did it’s job by keeping our crops going. Well, it’s gone now, and we are ready for some more. The good news is the forecast gives us a positive outlook on getting some rain at the end of the week.

I think for the next three days we have some easy decisions and maybe a dilemma or two.

  • A main priority on cotton is getting Prevathon or Besiege applied to 333 prior to the approaching rain if you have not done that yet. It does not wash off after it gets on for several hours. I am calling that the easy decision because it needs to be done. Any 3 gene variety should not need the premium worm stuff.
  • Another strong comment I can make is that we are not getting a good kill with plant bugs with only Bifenthrin or other pyrethroids so Orthene needs to be in the mix when you are finding plant bugs.
  • Another pretty simple call to me is that if you have sprayed since it rained last Tuesday, you should be able to wait until this next rain and then come up with a strategy next week or later to hopefully finish out the crop.
  • The less obvious decision and one of our dilemmas is related to BG2 (1646, 3522, etc.). Should you:
    • put the Prevathon/Besiege program on BG 2 now?
    • or use the two back to back spray approach with a pyrethroid?
  • I think either of these plans will work, but to split hairs, I would use the Prev./Besiege approach on young, later planted BG2 cotton that has a longer ways to go and use the back to back pyrethroid approach on the older cotton blooming out the top.
  • Old looking, high blooming, early planted DP 1646 should not need the expensive stuff.
  • If you started by spraying a pyrethroid after the rain last week, then stick with that plan and respray automatically next week for BG2.

When can we be done with insect protection?”

It is a question of vulnerability because the bugs will not go away.  Basically when cotton blooms out, it is safe.  By week of bloom, it would be around week 5 or 6 which is about the first week of August for cotton planted in April and the first few days of May.

Sense cotton planted around mid-May did not start blooming until mid-July, it will likely need protecting through about August 18.

The cotton planted at the end of May will be most vulnerable during the whole month of August.

One final point, these ideas are not intended to replace good old scouting.

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