Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Highlights of 2011 Research Projects

A multiyear-multistate (Southeastern U.S.) thrips research project, funded by Cotton Incorporated, was initiated in 2011. Evaluations were made with the following variables:

1. Base fertilizer only versus Base fertilizer + Starter
2. Fungicide only versus Seed Treatment + Fungicide
3. No foliar sprays versus Foliar sprays at the first or second true leaf stage
Both dryland and irrigated sites were conducted.

Observations from the first year of the study in Alabama were as follows:

1. The starter fertilizer did not benefit thrips control, especially on dryland sites.
2. If planting prior to May 15, some form of seed treatment is a must for thrips control.
3. Under heavy thrips pressure, such as 2011, a seed treatment alone will not give adequate control, if planting prior to about May 10.
4. Foliar sprays for thrips control should be timed at the 1st or 2nd true leaf stage (when the leaf is the size of a small finger nail). Foliar sprays after the 4th true leaf are seldom necessary.
5. Effectiveness of several insecticides for thrips control.
-Acephate (Orthene or generics) was equal to, or superior to, all others evaluated. Certain pyrethroids did not give acceptable control. Two new chemicals (Benevia-Dupont) and (Radiant-Dow) gave good results at the rates tested. Labeling and their economics are uncertain at present.

Another project was conducted to define the role of fire ants in suppressing caterpillar damage in varieties with various insect traits. A small plot (8 rows x 45 feet) replicated study was conducted utilizing three varieties: DP174RF, PHY565WRF and DP1050B2RF in blocks with no fire ants versus normal fire ants. The trial was conducted in a reduced tillage system. An end of season worm damage boll count was made and the results are presented in the following visual.

The numbers on the left show the number of worm damaged bolls per 45 feet.

Impact of Fire Ants on Bollworm Damage in Alabama Cotton