This edition covers current crop progress and issues, recommended fungicide rates and timings, shortage of Sercadis, and stink bug BMP’s.
With the abnormally warm winter and spring, cotton planting in Louisiana has gotten off to an early start. In Louisiana, and across most of cotton states, thrips are considered the number one early season insect pest. The species we encounter greater than 85% of the time is tobacco thrips with western flower thrips typically comprising the other 15%.
Thrips control options are limited to seed treatments, in-furrow applications and foliar sprays. Over the past few years, control of tobacco thrips with thiamethoxam (Avicta, Cruiser, etc) has been declining and resistance has been confirmed through bioassays. As a result, we have switched almost exclusively to imidacloprid products (Aeris, Gaucho, Acceleron F1) and no longer recommend thiamethoxam (alone) as a seed treatment in cotton. Aeris treated seed contains imidacloprid + thiodicarb and performs very well in our thrips trials and in the field. The use of imidacloprid alone is another option; however, it may not perform as well as Aeris or imidacloprid + an acephate overtreatment. Overtreatment with acephate is an economical option that has demonstrated increased thrips control when applied on top of imidacloprid. Acephate alone controls thrips but the residual is significantly shorter than currently used products and increases the likelihood of foliar follow up applications.
The use of in-furrow applications of imidacloprid and AgLogic 15G are also options that work well for controlling thrips and other early season insects in cotton. AgLogic 15G is an aldicarb based replacement for Temik that is available in either gypsum or corn cob grit formulations with performance very similar to Temik when used at the appropriate rate.
Finally, foliar rescue treatments are utilized when seed treatments have played out. Foliar treatments should be made when immature thrips are present and/or when large numbers of adults are present and damage is occurring. The presence of immature thrips often signifies that the insecticide seed treatment has lost its efficacy. Avoid spraying solely based on plant injury since the damage has already occurred. Below are some considerations when deciding what foliar insecticide to use.
Positives: Relatively inexpensive, good efficacy at high rates, less likely to flare spider mites and aphids than acephate
Negatives: Ineffective towards western flower thrips, less effective than acephate or bidrin when applied at lower rates
Positives: Relatively inexpensive, effective towards western flower thrips
Negatives: May flare spider mites and aphids if present, may be weaker against tobacco thrips in certain circumstances
Positives: Effective, less likely to flare spider mites and aphids than acephate
Negatives: Less flexibility with applications early season
Positives: Effective, least likely to flare spider mites and aphids
Negatives: More expensive, requires adjuvant
Insecticide choice depends on a number of factors such as cost, impact on secondary pests and spectrum of thrips species present. If a foliar thrips treatment is justified, do not wait for a herbicide application and only spray when necessary to avoid flaring spider mites and aphids.
The EPA has granted a section 18 request for the use of Transform (sulfoxaflor) for 2016 Louisiana cotton production season. Please see the link below for information on conditions and restrictions outlined by the section 18 label.
One of the most important decisions producers must make when planting soybeans in Louisiana is planting date. Soybeans have the utility to be planted in early March to late June. This wide variation in planting dates exposes seedling soybeans to a multitude of insect pests that affect both above and below ground plant structures.
Optimal seeding dates for each maturity group planted in Louisiana are:
- Group III – April 15–May 10
- Group IV – April 15–May 10
- Group V – March 25–May 5
- Group VI – March 25–April 30
Soybean seedlings possess an exceptional amount of vigor and can tolerate a substantial amount of insect injury during the seedling stage. However, early planted soybeans may also encounter greater amounts of environmental fluctuations that affect air and soil temperature. Cool conditions can negatively affect vigor and under the right conditions stall plant growth and development. The addition of insect injury, to the aforementioned environmental conditions, increases stress the plant encounters resulting in loss of stand and yield potential. Therefore, the inclusion of an insecticide seed treatment (IST) provides growers a risk management tool when soybeans are planted early. The primary insect pests of early planted soybeans are bean leaf beetles, wireworms and grape colaspis.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are soybeans planted late i.e. behind wheat or are late due to unforeseen circumstances such as inadequate or excessive soil moisture. These beans are more at risk for insect injury due to the potential for large insect populations to build in neighboring fields and generally more insects present in the environment. As a general rule with all agronomic crops, the later the crop the more insect pressure that will be encountered throughout the season. This is particularly evident when soybeans are planted into wheat stubble. Wheat stubble is favorable for the development of threecornered alfalfa hoppers and thrips. Thus, an IST is a sound investment when soybeans are planted late.
However, soybeans planted in a timely manner that being within the recommended planting window, under optimal soil conditions and low pest densities will often not benefit from the addition of an IST. Insecticide seed treatments typically produce the most benefits when environmental conditions are sub optimal as outlined in the prior paragraphs. With the current economic climate and many ag professionals looking at areas to cut inputs, justifying the use of an IST on soybeans when planted under optimal conditions becomes harder to support. Saving the cost of an IST can go to making a stink bug application later season that may provide a greater economic return.
Outside of early or late planted soybeans are situations where ISTs are justifiable. These include weedy fields with incomplete burn down applications, reduced tillage field arrangements, fields with historically problematic early insect pests (wireworms and/or threecornered alfalfa hoppers) and continuous plantings of one crop. Each field is unique and the use of ISTs as a blanket treatment over every acre may not be justifiable with $8 soybeans.
Cover crops can provide producers a variety of benefits from nutrient cycling and soil cover to nitrogen fixation and pollinator food sources. Cover crops come in many varieties including grasses, legumes and brassicas, however; cover crops maintain a “green bridge” throughout the fall and early spring that may facilitate the movement of pest insects into above and below ground plant structures.
Seedling corn, in Louisiana, is often adversely affected by many factors including excess moisture, cold temperatures and a complex of above/below ground insect pests. The complex of underground insects includes southern corn rootworm, wireworms and white grubs, while the above ground complex includes sugarcane beetles, chinch bugs and cutworms. Most of these insects require a food source that is present in fields for them to successfully overwinter and subsequently begin reproduction when temperatures begin to warm in the spring. The inherent benefits of cover crops often include the presence of large volumes of biomass and an abundant root structure that anchors soil or penetrates a hard pan. Yet, these attributes make cover crops an ideal source for the buildup of yield limiting insects.
Insecticide seed treatments (ISTs) are neonicotinoid based insecticides that coat the outer layer of the seed offering protection from below and above ground early season insect pests. The systemic nature of ISTs make these compounds water soluble and facilitate the vascular movement of the insecticide into the plant tissue. The value of ISTs in Louisiana varies among crops and environmental conditions, most agricultural commodities will usually not benefit from ISTs when planted under optimal environmental conditions (adequate soil temperature, optimal soil moisture and low pest pressure). However, insecticide seed treatments will typically produce an economic benefit when conditions are sub-optimal including very late or early planting, reduced tillage field arrangements, double cropping systems (soybeans behind wheat), pests that are present every year and consecutive plantings (i.e., corn behind corn). In addition to the above mentioned situations, data from the LSU AgCenter’s Macon Ridge Research Station confirmed the need of an IST when corn is planted behind cover crops (Figure 1). A statistically significant increase in yield was observed in corn treated with Poncho 500 IST in Berseen Clover, Crimson Clover and Hairy Vetch while a significantly lower yield was measured in corn planted behind Tillage Radishes treated with the IST (Figure 1). No fungicide seed treatment was used in this study. The measurable difference in yield may be due to the presence of below ground insects that also produced a notable decrease in vigor (Figure 2). Unfortunately for producers, there are no rescue treatments available for below ground insect injury in corn or any other agriculturally managed crop in Louisiana. Therefore, the use of an IST can help safely and effectively control below above and below ground insect pests in corn planted behind cover crops.
Aside from the use of ISTs, there are other management practices that can be done to minimize the effects of pest insects, from cover crops, on corn. Burning down cover crops in a timely fashion (6 weeks before planting) will provide enough time for available biomass above the soil to dessicate and force any harbored insects off of the plants. Yet, this timing may not allow enough time for below ground insects to cycle out or succumb to a lack of forage. Earlier burn down timings and the use of minimum tillage may allow enough time for insects to cycle out or be physically removed or destroyed with implements. If you elect to destroy your cover crops earlier than intended, check with your local NRCS representative or LSU AgCenter county agent to ensure enough time has passed that your preplant intentions are met (ie. Nitrogen fixation, nutrient cycling, etc.).
The use of ISTs is a best management practice recommended by the LSU AgCenter and will help ensure your crop is protected from yield limiting insects. The use of ISTs is highly recommended if you choose to plant corn behind cover crops particularly Berseen Clover, Crimson Clover and Hairy Vetch. If you have any questions or concerns please contact your local LSU AgCenter extension service.
The Louisiana Pollinator Cooperative Conservation Program (LPCCP) has been established to foster cooperation among bee keepers, pesticide applicators and agricultural producers for the purpose of preventing honey bees and pollinators from the unreasonable exposure to pesticides through education and stewardship recommendations in the state of Louisiana.
Cooperative Stewardship Recommendations Adopted by the Louisiana Pollinator Cooperative Conservation Program
Active and Open Communication Between Farmers, Applicators and Beekeepers:
Beekeepers, farmers and applicators are encouraged to cultivate and maintain open communication between all parties involved in cooperative activities concerning farming and beekeeping. Farmers, beekeepers and applicators should exchange contact information with one another to facilitate a strong level of communication that should be present in any partnership. Basic information should include: name, telephone number (cell and home), hive locations on the property, agricultural and non-agricultural commodities grown in fields adjacent to hive locations, and information regarding the pesticides applied on these commodities or areas and application timings throughout the growing season.
“Bee Aware” Flag:
The LPCCP has elected to adopt Mississippi’s “bee aware” flag to clearly identify hive locations adjacent to an agriculturally managed crop or area. The “bee aware” flag was developed by the Mississippi Farm Bureau to increase awareness of hive locations to farmers, applicators and beekeepers. The use of Mississippi’s “bee aware” flag creates a unified recognition system that is highly visible to pesticide applicators and farmers that manage commodities across state lines. The flags should be placed in an area that is easily visible to aerial and ground applicators and serve as a reminder that bees are in the vicinity and consideration should be taken when making pesticide applications. Farmers and beekeepers should work together in deciding on flag locations so it is visible to both aerial and ground applicators. Flag ordering information can be found here: http://www.mississippi-crops.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Bee-Aware-Order-Information.pdf
Hive Locations and Placement:
Hive location is an important consideration that should be discussed between farmers and beekeepers. Farmers are very familiar with their property, equipment and areas that may offer a natural refuge from accidental exposure to pesticides, while beekeepers know the best habitats for bee yards, appropriate orientation of hives so the opening is not directly facing an agricultural field and areas that are easily accessible to beekeepers to facilitate honey collection and hive transportation. Farmers and beekeepers should discuss apiary locations and bee yards that are acceptable for both parties.
Hive GPS Locations:
Beekeepers should make every effort to establish GPS coordinates of their hives and provide this information to the farmer and his applicator to establish precise hive locations on farm property.
Hive Identification and Bee Flag Placement:
Beekeepers are strongly encouraged to place visible placards on at least one hive that provides contact information in case of an emergency or if an issue arises. The placard should clearly indicate the owner of the hives and should be visible from a distance. Farmers should work with beekeepers in selecting the best location for placement of the bee flag so it is visible to ground and aerial applicators. The LPCCP strongly encourages all beekeepers commercial and hobby to register their hives with the LDAF.
Applicator Awareness of Hive Locations:
The farmer should make every effort to notify his employees of apiary locations and related bee flags on farm property. Farmers should also notify contractual parties and aerial applicators of apiary locations and related bee flags as well.
Annual Apiary Location Review:
Farmers and beekeepers should annually review hive locations on farm property. This is especially important if an accustomed apiary location is moved to a new location on farm. Physical locations on a map or pinned locations on a smart phone may help facilitate this process.
Pesticide Application Timing
Farmers and applicators should consider applying pesticides to areas immediately adjacent to hives as late in the afternoon as possible. Most honey bees have ceased foraging by late afternoon (3 pm) and late applications will help reduce many risks of bee injury. Pesticide applications should only be made when wind conditions are blowing away from colonies and bee yards. Label guidelines should always be followed and applications should only be made when an economic threshold is met.
David Kerns and I have been receiving numerous phone calls this week about problems with applications of pyrethroids tank mixed with Transform for control of midge and white sugarcane aphid. The use of a pyrethroid for control of sorghum midge is a common practice in Louisiana; however, pyrethroids are very toxic to beneficial insects and are very likely to flare white sugarcane aphids in grain sorghum. Co-appliations of Transform and a pyrethroid have led to white sugarcane aphids recolonizing fields very rapidly and often resulting in poor control of aphids overall.
Therefore, automatic insecticide applications for midge should be avoided, and applications should only be made if midge are present. The Louisiana threshold for midge in sorghum is at 25 – 30% bloom, treat for one or more midge per head. If midge and sugarcane aphids are present, tank mixed applications of chlorpyrifos and Transform will offer good midge control while also reducing the risk of flaring aphids. Chlorpyrifos may not be quite as effective as a pyrethroid for sorghum midge and large populations may require a second application 3 – 4 days later. Transform tank mixed with Dimethoate is another option for midge and aphid control; however, producers should be prepared to follow up with a dedicated midge application 3 – 4 days later.
Also, pyrethroid applications for the headworm complex in grain sorghum are strongly discouraged. Pyrethroid resistance is very common in sorghum webworm and corn earworm in Louisiana, and insecticides such as Belt or Prevathon should be used for headworms. These chemistries are Lepidopteran specific and will not harm beneficial insects or flare sugarcane aphids.
Infestations of sugarcane aphids in boot to heading grain sorghum are increasing in Louisiana. Many of these populations start off small and exponentially increase in a span of 5 to 7 days. Pyrethroid applications for midge control can reduce natural enemy numbers allowing sugarcane aphids to reach damaging numbers faster. Honey dew produced by sugarcane aphid feeding will give the crop a glossy appearance and large accumulations will often result in sooty mold growth and harvesting issues later season.
Sugarcane aphids are difficult to control with currently labelled insecticides; however, Louisiana was granted a section18
emergency exemption for the use of Transform 50WG for the 2014 production season. Transform applications should be initiated before grain sorghum becomes heavily infested and producers in Texas are making applications at 30% infested plants with 100 to 250 aphids per leaf present. Use lower aphid numbers with increasing stress due to plant water deficit. This treatment threshold appears to be working for Texas growers; however, these recommendations are not supported by university research due to the recent introduction of this pest to grain sorghum in the United States. Transform applications of 1 oz/acre should be used on medium to high sugarcane aphid populations with the largest gallonage per acre (GPA) feasible for applicators (5 GPA by air or 20 GPA by ground). If 1 ounce applications of Transform are not providing adequate control the rate should be increased to 1.5 oz/acre.