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This is Jack Bacheler, Extension Entomologist at North Carolina State University with the Wednesday cotton insect update. Today is Wednesday, August 24.
The biggest news for producers in the Coastal Plain and the Tidewater area is the degree to which hurricane Irene will impact the cotton crop. With the storm now just under three days from possible landfall and with various forecast models showing significant variability in predicting what’s in store for us, it may not be until Friday until we get a good sense of the storm’s final Saturday tracking. One thing for sure with our opening cotton crop: heavy rainfall and high winds are not welcome here. Most of us are keeping our fingers crossed for a more easterly track, though some folks probably will get hammered.
Insect concerns on cotton at this point are minor. We have received a few calls about scattered fields being treated for cotton aphids this past week, with unusually poor control in one area in the east. As is the case with insect resistance in general, because a number of factors may contribute to poor control, before lack of control can be attributed to resistance development, resistance must be confirmed by following a strict protocol in the lab. This field had considerable to neonicotinoids (or neonics), however, with neonics used for the seed treatment, two applications for stink bugs and two additional applications for cotton aphids. This is significant exposure by cotton aphids to a single class of chemicals. On the plus side, in North Carolina we typically treat less than 10% of our cotton acreage for cotton aphids and/or plant bugs with a single application in an average year. So hopefully if resistance is confirmed in this case, we can manage this potential problem in the coming years.
With the exception of some replanted June cotton, stink bugs and bollworms should no longer be a problem. In Edgecombe County this past week, in our conventional cotton tests that were set up for damage with late planting, irrigation, and disruptive oversprays, essentially all of the bollworms we found were late instars, with no new eggs or hatching bollworms. Also, with cotton regrowth, treatment very rarely pays unless the producer has a good chance of making a new top crop following earlier drought and cutout.
Hopefully, Irene will cooperate as much as possible and do more good to the peanut and soybean crops than damage to our cotton crop.
We’ll see you again next week on Wednesday, August 31. See you then.