Adjust your cotton and peanut thrips control programs

Due to the frequent rains in May, only and estimated 50% or so of our cotton is planted and maybe even less of the peanut crop. A later planted crop may require some changes in how we manage pests and thrips are a good example.  Thrips are a major challenge for both crops and for this pest at least, later planting has advantages.  Although the crops are delayed, the thrips population seems to be on a pretty normal schedule, that is, we are seeing a lot of adults active on volunteer peanut plants and feeding injury symptoms.  We typically see one major peak of thrips activity when adults move from spring weeds into crops, so later planted fields may escape this peak—which means less thrips pressure compared to years when we plant on time.  Also with the moisture we have in our fields, once the weather warms up (expecting that next week) we will see quick emergence and rapid seedling growth. This combination of rapid growth and reduced thrips pressure means less need for protective insecticide treatments.

My recommendations are that any cotton planted from today (May 17) forward should only need a standard insecticide seed treatment. And importantly, I would NOT automatically follow with a foliar application to the seedlings.  Plant the seed-treated cotton and wait to see if anything more is needed.  This could be year when the seed treatment will provide enough protection—a standalone.

For any peanuts planted from today forward, I would not put any insecticide into the seed furrow, or at least only a low rate. Scout fields after plants emerge and clean up any visible thrips injury with a broadcast application of either acephate or spinetoram.