Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Thank Mother Nature for Breaking the Lygus Cycle in Cotton Across the Valley

Dr. Pete Goodell at a cotton field day.

Editor’s note: This week we feature a guest blog by Dr. Pete Goodell, a Cooperative Extension Advisor, Integrated Pest Management with the University of California Statewide IPM Program. Dr. Goodell offers his recap of this year’s cotton season.

The 2012 cotton season from an insect pest management perspective was a good one with very few problems in the valley field crops, especially with Lygus.

I attribute that primarily to the dry winter which broke the cycle for lygus in particular. We saw the lowest populations this year in cotton, safflower and even seed alfalfa. Overall across the valley we saw much  lower Lygus population densities.

Cotton growers experienced few problems with lygus.
Avoiding insecticides enabled them to save money on insecticides while conserving natural enemies which are important in the management of aphids, spider mites and whiteflies.

The season turned out to be very good from a crop production standpoint as well. Even though, growers experienced a delayed planting due to cool and moist conditions in March,  but when the cotton was finally planted, everything went in within a few weeks. Good conditions for germination and stand development create almost a synchronous cotton landscape with all fields nearly at the same stage of development through the year, A good vigorous start to the season improves the pest management situation by giving the plant an advantage over pests.

Growers had adequate water supplies for their crop in 2012.
Water availability was not a major factor in production. The autumn was warm and provided plenty of opportunity to make up for the delayed planting. Yields have been very good and most farmers seem happy by the results of this year’s efforts.

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