Arkansas Cotton: Light At The End Of The Tunnel With Insects? It Depends

    Cotton picker harvest view. Photo: Nick McMichen

    Click here for audio report.

    People keep asking me, “Isn’t it about time to see the light at the end of the tunnel?” And everybody’s wanting to get this season over with and, and can’t blame them.

    It’s been a tough season, with rough weather early and now we’re just trying to get to the finish line but still have a little ways to go.

    Let’s start by discussing bollworms in cotton. We are at the point that a lot of this cotton has reached NAWF 5, and we’re trying to accumulate 350 heat units so we can cut off our applications for bollworms.

    Plenty of fields are at 150, 200 or 250 heat units units beyond NAWF 5. Now, w’ere into a tremendous flight of bollworms moths, with heavy worm pressure in places.

    The question now is, “Should I spray now and what should I use?” In these situations where you’re still somewhat short of 350 heat units, I don’t think you need a full shot of a diamide. If this is two-gene cotton, what you might consider is a reduced rate of a diamide.

    I’m also being asked about going with acephate and bifenthrin to protect those remaining harvestable bolls in the top of the plant. Based on my experience, that combination isn’t that good for bollworms. It will help a bit, but it doesn’t provide a strong level of control – especially with some of the pressure we’re seeing and hearing about.

    Dual-Gene Varieties Aren’t Cutting It

    We’re also seeing more worms in three-gene cotton, particularly WideStrike 3, and in places I’m not comfortable with the numbers I’m finding. There aren’t enough to treat, but they are out there and pretty obvious in certain fields. Obviously, I’m concerned about what this might mean for the future of the three-gene technology.

    We’ve looked at a number of those fields in the last few days and have come across a little damage and certainly survival in the pink blooms.

    The dual-gene varieties haven’t held u at all this year, so two applications of a diamide will be necessary. Obviously, everyone also is thinking about the economics of cotton production this year. You need to make reasoned decisions and scout closely.

    While you’re looking down in the cotton plant, also check for fall armyworms (FAW). People are reprting them, and they’ve been in our plots. Check for them in the lower part fo the canopy.

    When people tell me they’re seeing FAW, the first question I ask, “Did you apply Diamond for plant bugs?” That material helps with FAW. If Diamond didn’t go out, the odds increase dramatically that you’ll have to deal with FAW.

    If you’ve got any questions on this, call me at 501-944-0942.

    Soybeans: Trying To Beat Worms To The Finish Line

    Bollworms just keep coming into R2 and R3 soybeans, and the most intense pressure is in narrow-row and drilled fields. Farmers with lower yield potential wonder if they should spray. They sure don’t want to go with a ‘big dollar’ application, which I understand. But we also have to look at the return on investment. Plenty of money already has gone into the crop.

    I’m suggesting they go with Intrepid Edge or Stewart or even a pyrethoid. I get control at three and seven days after treatment, but by day 10 it’s breaking down and reinfestation begins.

    The only thing that gives long-term control ae the diamides.

    That prompts the question: what are the chances of reinfestation? With the activity right now, I don’t see an immediate end to it, but you never know. You might gain control and miss a reinfestation. But if you want long-lasting control, it will cost more.

    AgFax Weed Solutions

    Loopers are coming behind this bollworm population and are blowing up on us across the state. In the last 10 days, numbers have really picked up in the southern half of the state. In places, we went from 4 per 25 sweeps to 20 to 25 per 25 sweeps.

    Keep in mind that loopers start in the bottom of the plant and work their way up. Plants may look fine from the highway, but when you pull them back, it can be a different story. By the time they blow out the top, it’s too late.

    We want to protect soybeans up through R6. Over the last several years, Intrepid Edge provided the best level of control of the products in our comparisons. It offers good residual. The diamides are an option, too, but they will cost more, and you’ve got to take into account the economics this season.

    With loopers, we’re simply trying to make it to the finish line. If soybeans are at R5.5 or not quite a R6, a shot of Intrepid plus any of the methoxyfenozide products should provide enough control to get your through

    Velvetbean caterpillars also are turning up, and it can defoliate your crop in short order. We find that you can kill it with just about anything, but I need to add a word of caution. Lambda and pyrethroids have worked well, but a few people tell me this year that Lambda didn’t seem to be working as expected.

    Stinkbugs: Dealing With Combinations

    Several people reported finding loopers and stink bugs in their soybeans. In that case, you’re looking at a bankmix. For stinkbugs, go with acephate or bifenthrin. For loopers, include Intrepid or Intrepic Edge or something like that to get you over the bump.

    Redbanded stinkbugs (RBSB) are beginning to build pretty rapidly in south Arkansas, plus our native stinkbugs are out there. In many cases, folks in the field are finding near-thresholds of redbanded and near-thresholds of native specvies.

    If you’re almost there for both types – RBSB and natives – use your common sense and do what you think is necessary.

    If you’re only dealing with native stinkbugs, we’re still gaining good control with bifenthrin. But with RBSB, best results have been with a tankmix, like acephate and bifenthrin.

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