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‘Major Player’ Pests In 2013

James Clower
Clower Consulting Service, LLC
St. Joseph, La

My dad, Dr. Dan Clower, was the lead cotton entomologist at LSU AgCenter for many years and greatly influenced my life. I started checking cotton with him at a very early age – seven years old. Consultant Roger Carter also influenced me. Cotton entomology has been in our family for a long time.

Everyone knows that 2012 was a banner year. So far, 2013 has certainly been a year of extremes in northeast Louisiana. Since making timely January and February burndown applications, cold, wet weather delayed cotton planting by a month or more. This delay allowed residual herbicides to break down and new flushes of weeds to emerge, forcing another costly burndown just prior to planting.

Spider Mites/Plant Bugs

Emergence and development of seedling cotton plants has been very slow, and thrips are already posing a threat. Foliar applications will be critical to avoid any more delays in crop development. Spider mites and plant bugs have emerged as very serious pests in this area, usually resulting in multiple applications during the season. Due to weather-related weed issues, I am sure both will be major players this year and should be dealt with early. With plant bugs, an early application kills nymphs and has some ovicidal activity. When the females are subjected to an early application, they lay significantly fewer eggs, and there is a dramatic reduction in the viability of those eggs. I also am a firm believer in supplemental insecticidal bollworm applications to transgenic cotton. The transgenic technology is outstanding; however, given high bollworm pressure, supplemental sprays increase efficacy against plant bugs, kill bollworms and result in a significant yield increase even on dryland.

Palmer Amaranth/Italian Ryegrass

Switching to weeds, glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth and Italian ryegrass are becoming more of an issue here. We go after ryegrass with a spring burndown after it emerges. In the future, this tactic may change with more emphasis on fall residual applications. Resistant Palmer amaranth infestations are primarily near the Mississippi River on the river side of the levee. When that land floods, seeds that are coming down the river drop on the ground and can be transported when you move equipment. We are overlapping residuals and accepting nothing short of zero tolerance for pigweeds. It seems to be working.

As a consultant, I love my job and am very grateful and honored to work for such a wonderful group of gentleman producers, some of whom I have been with for decades. There is no greater satisfaction in this business than to see your client smiling, knowing that they have made excellent yields and have received good prices for their hard work. Hopefully, in 2013, we’ll see those big smiles again come harvest.

Click here to ask James Clower a question or submit a comment about this month’s Cotton Consultant’s Corner.

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Consultant

• B.S. in Forestry and Wildlife Management, Louisiana
  State University, 1976. M.S. in Entomology, Louisiana
  State University, 1983.
• Started Clower Consulting Service, LLC, in 1982
• Consults on cotton, corn, soybeans, grain sorghum,
  rice and wheat
• Conducts research on insects, spider mites and
  defoliation
• Member and past president of Louisiana Agricultural
  Consultants Association (LACA)
• Member of NAICC
• Daughter, Stephanie – financial coordinator for
  Fresenius Medical Care in Mobile, Ala.
• Enjoys bowhunting and fly fishing

Recap: ‘Major Player’ Pests In 2013

1. Emergence and development of seedling cotton plants has been very slow, and thrips are already posing a threat.

2. Spider mites and plant bugs have emerged as very serious pests in this area, usually resulting in multiple applications during the season.

3. When female plant bugs are subjected to an early application, they lay significantly fewer eggs, and there is a dramatic reduction in the viability of those eggs.

4. Although transgenic technology is outstanding, given high bollworm pressure, supplemental sprays increase the efficacy against plant bugs, kill bollworms and result in a significant yield increase even on dryland.

5. We go after Italian ryegrass with a spring burndown after it emerges.

6. We are overlapping residuals and accepting nothing short of zero tolerance for pigweeds. It seems to be working.

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