It wasn’t the hurricanes of the climatic sort that impacted Georgia and many other Southeastern growers in 2019. It was a hurricane of thrips.
“It was one of the worst years I’ve ever seen in terms of thrips pressure,” says Jack Royal with Royal’s Ag Consultant Co., Inc. in Leary, Geogia. “In a lot of areas, we started off dry, then it rained a little bit and then dried up again. It was a perfect storm for a thrips infestation. Growers were scrambling immediately after emergence to control them.”
Seed treatments were relatively ineffective in controlling the problem, according to Royal.
“Growers who didn’t use an in-furrow pesticide at planting got hit right at emergence,” he says. “There were multiple applications of acephate that went out trying to keep up with the overwhelming populations.”
That scenario didn’t play out for everyone, however. Ken Craft, a grower in Damascus, Georgia took Royal’s advice and used AgLogic aldicarb to his cotton at a rate of 4.0-4.5 lbs. per acre. He also used it on his peanuts at planting at a rate of 7 lbs. per acre.
Aldicarb is the same active ingredient found in Temik, which left the market several years ago.
“Thrips pressure was really intense last year,” he says. “However, with the AgLogic, I didn’t even have to spray for them. It made a world of difference in 2019.”
Sam Hattaway with Hattaway Farms in Blakely, Georgia, reports a similar situation. “Thrips and aphids were very heavy in 2019,” he says. He went with AgLogic and “the product did a great job controlling those pests.”
AgFax Weed Solutions
While some growers balk at the price, Royal says it’s worth the investment.
The approach “has made a significant difference in our ability to produce cotton and peanuts,” he says. “The seed treatments have lost effectiveness due to resistance.”
The numbers balance out well, he adds.
“Most of my cotton growers use standard seed from the manufacturer if they put aldicarb under their cotton,” says Royal. “That saves them $18 to $20 an acre.”
That savings helps offset the cost of the in-furrow application and “we’re back to a better place for managing nematodes, thrips, spider mites and other early season pests,” Royal adds.
Going with aldicarb produces “a stronger, healthier root system, which leads to earlier grow-off and improved early-season pest control,” he says.
His advice: try a field with AgLogic but leave it out on six rows in the middle of the field. The differences should be obvious, says Royal, which “will convince you in a hurry.”