Cotton aphids have been unusually difficult to control this year says Oklahoma State University Extension cotton specialist J.C. Banks, Oklahoma State University.

“Jerry Goodson and I have been getting a lot of calls about aphid control problems on cotton. Some applications have not been effective and farmers have had to respray with the same product with little effect,” Banks said. “We have inquired into submitting for a section 18 emergency exemption for Furadan, but with the new classes of compounds available, chances are remote for having Furadan available.

“We have discussed this with other Extension entomologists in neighboring states and they have given us some suggestions for dealing with this problem. We appreciate the assistance of Roger Leonard, Louisiana State University Extension entomologist, for his help. First, it is important to take advantage of beneficial insects. Jerry has seen high populations of beneficials in areas that have not been sprayed. Aphid populations may be high, but beneficial populations are building. Many times the beneficials will overpower the aphids, if given time.

Banks said Aphids do most of their damage when cotton bolls start opening and lint is contaminated with honeydew. “We can tolerate moderately high aphid populations if beneficials are building. So this should be considered prior to starting a chemical aphid control program. Aphid populations seem to cycle: they build up, peak and then the population, if infested with a fungus, will decrease.

“When neonicotinoid insecticides was first introduced, producers were getting control even if they cut rates to the lowest recommended rate, which became the accepted rates for control. Recently, these rates quit working as effectively. Also, producers who have used Orthene or pyrethroids, or who have mixed low rates of the neonicotinoid products with Roundup have created an aphid population that is difficult to control. If chemical control is warranted, best results in this area involve use of Intruder at one ounce per acre or Centric at two ounces per acre with application volume of at least three gallons per acre if applied by air or five gallons per acre if ground applied.”

More water may be necessary with heavier pressure.

“Under heavy aphid pressure, five gallons per acre or 10 gallons per acre spray volume is recommended. A silicone-based metholated seed oil should be used to increase deposition on the leaves. The high rate is recommended because a low rate applied as the first application will make control even more difficult if a second spray is needed.

“The key to aphid control is to let beneficials and the aphid fungus control the population, but if control is needed, concentrate on highest label rates, sufficient spray volume and a good surfactant to ensure the best possible control.”

Danny Robbins, Altus, Okla., was elected to serve as chairman of the Oklahoma Cotton Council last week at the Council’s annual meeting. Mark Nichols, also from Altus, has served as chairman for the past two years and will remain a member of the council. Lyle Miller, Clinton, is the vice chairman. Steven Clay, Carnegie, is the treasurer and Jay Cowart, Altus, is secretary. Other council members include: Phil Bohl, Chattanooga; Roger Fischer, Frederick; Mike Berry, Altus; David Lingle, Frederick; Rodney Sawatsky, Clinton; and Phil Whitworth, Frederick.

TALKIN' COTTON is a feature of NTOK Cotton, a cotton industry partnership, which encourages increased cotton production in the Rolling Plains of North Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. For more information on the cotton scene, check out these websites, okiecotton.org. and ntokcotton.org. For comments or questions about Talkin’ Cotton, contact us at eventerprise@Hughes.net