South Carolina Cotton: Assessing Pests After Tropical Storm Bonnie

    Deer feeding on young cotton.

    Marion Barnes, county agent covering Colleton County, reported that deer damage in cotton has been very noticeable (see image above). He mentioned that “the cotton that did survive 5-plus inches of rain over the weekend (from tropical storm Bonnie) has a few thrips, but it’s not too bad. Deer are starting to browse isolated cotton fields since we have few soybeans planted yet.”

    This week I was helping Andrew Warner, county agent covering Hampton County, with a thrips trial he put out in his county, and the trial experienced almost 10 inches of rain. That probably drowned the thrips in the field, but it certainly made some areas of the field almost habitats for stocking with fish.

    The surplus of standing water has the seedlings stressed, for sure. When we pulled up plants to sample for thrips, we noticed just how long the tap roots were (see image below) on these seedlings. The ground was so saturated that it allowed us to pull up most of the tap root.


    Click Image To Enlarge Cotton seedling tap root – nearly a foot long. Photo by Jeremy Greene, Clemson University.

    Thrips are not done yet, but the rain has reduced their numbers. Also, we had a report of spider mites on some fairly young cotton, but I am waiting on more information on that. I suspect that the issue will resolve itself with all of the rain, but it is concerning to have a report this early on young cotton.

    Last week I received a report about cotton aphids infesting corn in southern Florida. This isn’t unusual, nor is it an economic issue in corn. But it could be a warning sign for populations that might develop in cotton this year.

    Although I don’t get too concerned about aphids in cotton (generally), aphids can impact a young crop, particularly one that is stressed. I bet the rains stop soon and things get dry, setting us up for problems with aphids and spider mites on a young crop. Keep an eye on your cotton in the next month. Don’t ignore it until bollworm and stink bugs get here in late July and August. We still need to monitor for potential problems during June and early July.

    Deer Feeding In Soybeans

    Other than grasshoppers, I’m not hearing about or seeing anything else with 6 legs eating soybeans yet, but 4-legged mouths (deer) sure are a problem. We will continue to monitor soybeans for insect issues. As I mentioned in one of the first issues this season, we will be putting out a trial to address potential chemicals that might repel deer.

    Herbicide Resistance Info

    Unable to display feed at this time.

    Those will include a couple of at-plant insecticides, but we will also look at several other foliar insecticides and some repellents that are labeled for use in the crop as such. I hope to be able to report on this in the coming weeks. We are getting close to trial initiation on this one, and I am particularly curious about the insecticides and how they will perform as a repellent.

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