2018 Cotton Crop Proceeding Well

Late Season Pests Can Be a Challenge

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

The 2018 cotton harvest will be starting in the southern part of the Central Valley later this month, and some growers will be facing pressure from pests.

California Ag Today recently spoke about the topic with Dan Munk, a UC Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor in Fresno County specializing in irrigation crop nutrient management and cotton production systems.

“The crop looks very good and loaded with cotton bolls. We don’t have a lot of boll losses, and that’s a real positive thing, so very excited about the potential for fairly high yields in the 2018 season. The biggest concern right now is pest management, press pressures as we approach the latter part of the season,” Munk explained.

The main issue this time of year is the honeydew that pest leave on the cotton. Honeydew is the exudate extracted by the insect as it feeds on the leaves.

“Because we have the bolls on the plant that have opened, we now have exposed lint and need to protect that lint from stickiness that’s created from whitefly and the aphid honeydew, which is basically the added sugars that those insects that feed on the leaves of the plant, and they excrete them and deposit them on the lint,” Munk said.

Munk explained that the big concern right now is dealing with pest pressures in terms of whitefly and aphid—both sucking insects. “The problem right now [is] where we’re seeing pest pressures—particularly from whitefly as we get later in the season—will build in many fields.

There are several approaches to controlling whitefly and aphids. One is to deal with the eggs that they produced. And then there’s a certain class of materials to deal with the eggs.

“There’s another class of materials that deal with the juveniles—that early form of the insect—and then there are ways to control the adults,” Munk said.

“A number of insecticides have been applied to deal with those various levels of insect populations based on the individual field situation,” he explained.

Caltec Shares Innovative Pest Control Practices

A New Approach to Managing Vine Mealybug

By Hannah Young, Contributing Editor

Some innovative pest and disease control products, such as heat application to kill insects, are making their way to the market, according to Caltec.

California Ag Today spoke with Rudy Monnich, president of Caltec Ag, about some of the new ways California farmers are fighting pests.

caltec
Rudy Monnich with Caltec

“We have a product which is the diatomaceous earth that controls vine mealybugs and ants and mites in orchards and vineyards,” Monnich said, adding, “There is nothing more damaging than vine mealybug. In fact, Monterey County is forming a committee to be zero tolerant just for that insect pressure.”

The product is silica dioxide and will scarify the body of insects, dehydrate them, and in result kill them off in three or four days, Monnich explained.

However, the product is not a chemical, but a mineral, which significantly diminishes resistance issues.

“You don’t have the resistant issues build up,” Monnich said. “It’s also controlling thrip and whitefly in tomatoes.”

Caltec introduced the product this past spring.

Heat application can also be used by growers to combat insect problems.

“We are working with the Agrothermal people who have a machine that 300-degree to 400-degree temperatures will annihilate soft-bodied insects in tomatoes and powdery mildew in grapes,” Monnich said.

The application of heat kills the spores before signs of damage appear on the plant, Monnich explained.

This method of pest control is increasing the quality of wine, Monnich concluded.

Whitefly and Aphid Pressure on Cotton

Cotton Growers: Beware of Whitefly and Aphid Pressure Early this Season 

By Laurie Greene, Editor

Pete Goodell
Peter B Goodell Ph.D., Cooperative Extension Advisor-IPM, Kearney Agricultural Research & Extension Center in Parlier, CA. (Source: UC ANR)

Pete Goodell, an IPM Advisor with UC Cooperative Extension based at the Kearney Agricultural Research & Extension Center in Parlier, Calif., noted that cotton growers should be treating for whitefly and aphid pressure earlier—instead of later—this season.

“On cotton, we are continually working with the whitefly and the green peach aphid. They have been a problem for the last 3-4 years, so we are continuously working with educational outreach to catch these pests early and manage their populations,” Goodell said.

Goodell explained, “I think with cotton acreage down significantly this year, we can really focus and ensure that everybody is aware of the pressure and how to handle the problem beginning in July. In some incidences, folks have misunderstood and treated whiteflys like aphids; folks started looking for the pests around the open cotton boll stage of growth. But that’s too late to treat for whitefly; growers must treat earlier to maintain a quality cotton crop.”

“That’s why we’re going to get ‘on the stick’ this year,” Goodell said. “We are going to hold a series of gin meetings and get the word out that growers need to start earlier to prevent damage from these insects.”

 

Feature photo source: Sweetpotato Whitefly, JackKellyClark, UC ANR