Mississippi Cotton Insect Situation of 2010: A Look Back

Angus Catchot, Extension Entomologist
By Angus Catchot, Extension Entomologist February 11, 2011 07:40 Updated

Cotton producers in Mississippi planted approximately 425,000 acres of cotton in 2010.  This was a 33% increase in acres compared to 2009.  Approximately 5% of cotton in MS was planted to transgenic single gene Bt varieties and 90% of cotton acres was planted to dual toxin transgenic Bt varieties.  The most popular varieties planted in 2010 were Stoneville 5288 BGII/F, 4288BGII/F, Stoneville 4427BGII/F, PHY375WRF, and DeltaPine 0912BG/RR.  These five varieties made up approximately 50% of the total acres planted in 2010.  The most widely planted dual toxin Bt variety planted was Stoneville 5288BGII/F, making up 11.2% of cotton acres.

Total insect losses in MS were higher in 2010 than in 2009.  Overall losses from insect pests in 2010 were 8.94% compared to 5.94% in 2009.  Mississippi averaged 8.6 foliar applications to control pests in 2010 for an average foliar insect control cost of $90.62 per acre.  Final cotton yield estimates for 2010 was 983 pounds per acre, up 200 pounds per acre from 2009.  Cotton yields in the delta averaged approximately 1050 pounds per acre while the hill region of the state averaged approximately 750 pounds per acre.  

Thrips pressure across the state was light to moderate both in the hills and delta region.  Seed treatments continue to gain popularity in MS for control of thrips due to convenience and ease of use.  Approximately 26% of the cotton acreage received a foliar application for thrips.

Tarnished plant bug ranked as the number one damaging pest in 2010.  The delta region of the state averaged 6 spray applications for plant bugs while the hill region of the state averaged only 2 spray applications.  The chloro-nicotinyl class of chemistry, such as, Trimax and Centric was widely used in pre-bloom cotton to control tarnished plant bugs in 2010 with “standards” such as Orthene, Bidrin, and Vydate getting more use in post-bloom cotton tank mixed with pyrethroid insecticides.  Plant bug numbers in parts of the delta region of the state were extremely high again in 2010 but on average, overall populations were lower compared to previous years. 

Bollworm/Budworm pressure was very high on average in 2010 with average number of foliar sprays at 2.5 for cotton in the delta region of the state.  The hill region of the state received on averaged 1.0 foliar application.  Although 2010 had significantly higher pressure from cotton bollworm, the increase in dual toxin Bt cotton to 90% prevented high numbers of foliar sprays targeted at cotton bollworm. However, as a function of extremely high pressure, there were more escapes noted than in previous years.  Fall armyworm pressure was extremely heavy in 2010 but consisted mostly of the grass strain and economic loss was very limited in cotton.

Spider mites once again ranked as Mississippi’s third most damaging pest.  Lack of rainfall allowed populations to persist for most of the growing season; requiring producer’s to treat a record percentage of acres for this pest.  Approximately 161,000 acres were treated for spider mites in the state in 2010. 

In summary, total insect control cost for the state in 2010 was $226.12 per acre up approximately $60.97 per acre compared to 2009.  This was largely due to increased costs of insecticides, application fees, and frequency of application.  The 2010 harvest was one of the best in recent memory.  Low rainfall accumulation allowed producer’s to harvest the crop in record time and very little loss was attributed to boll rots and hard lock.

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Angus Catchot, Extension Entomologist
By Angus Catchot, Extension Entomologist February 11, 2011 07:40 Updated
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  1. Ernie February 12, 16:21

    Angus: I assume the cost of “technology” is included in the $226.12 per acre cost of insect control. What do you consider to be the average cost of technology per acre (approx)?

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