She is concerned about early insect pests, especially in fields planted near wheat.  “The drought has keep most of the weeds from emerging outside of the fields,” she says.  “Therefore, the only green vegetation out there at this point is the wheat and emerging cotton and peanut plants.  So the thrips have only one place to go after the wheat is harvested and that is to the young cotton and peanut plants.”

She doesn’t expect much thrips damage to peanuts. “But we encourage farmers to monitor cotton plants as they start emerging through the 5 true-leaf stage.  The warm conditions should help the plants jump out of the ground and grow rapidly, but they still will be susceptible to thrips damage for a period of time.”

It doesn’t take many to justify treatment.  “Just 1 thrips per true leaf is the threshold.  Monitoring the fields once or twice a week will help producers pick up developing thrips populations.  Only treat if thrips are present.  We don’t want to make any revenge applications—those applications that occur after the thrips have already come in and caused damage.”

Kerry Siders, IPM specialist for Hockley and Cochran counties, expects nothing unusual from pests this spring. “So far, thrips are not noticed in advance coming from wheat and other host plants,” he says. “We are not seeing anything in particular yet in terms of plant bugs on weed species currently present.  This does not mean those pests won’t develop.  And I will be interested to see if we pick up any Kurtomathrips again this year.”

He has concerns about herbicide resistant weeds, however.   “Weed management is the big concern, especially with resistant pigweed.  Most producers seem to be doing an excellent job in my service area of utilizing pre-plant incorporated and pre-emergence herbicides.”

And some growers have had a little rain.   “We did receive approximately one inch in Levelland proper this last weekend,” Siders says.  “But rainfall has been highly variable throughout the rest of the county.”