Slug problems “may be exclusive to no-till. False chinch bugs can also cause problems. Late weed control is a factor” in pest survival.

Stewart said thrips numbers may be reduced in no-till systems because of the cooler soil temperatures. But under the right conditions he said farmers can “get a double whammy with thrips and diseases.”

He said aphids can be more numerous in no-till situations, along with fire ants. Plant bugs and spider mites also may be present in higher numbers in no-till or reduced-till systems.

Stewart said control measures in the Mid-South may include “area-wide plant bug management. If we treat ditch banks early enough, along with in-field burndown applications, we can reduce in-season plant bug treatments. This approach will not fit all farms, especially those with small fields scattered over several miles.” Concentrations of CRP acreage also make this approach more difficult.

He said the economic effect of a timely burndown herbicide application may include one or two fewer in-season plant bug treatments. “Farmers could save almost $6 per acre. We’re trying to make growers aware of the need for timely burndown herbicide applications.”

He said controlling all broadleaf weeds at least 21 days before planting is the goal. “To do that, we need to apply a burndown herbicide four to six weeks earlier. Also, pests are mobile so we have to do outside-the-field management and be aware of pest movements.

“If we don’t get these burndown herbicides out in time we reduce our insect control options and we may have to add an insecticide application at planting time.”

email: rsmith@farmpress.com