Cotton planting is under way in a significant way in some south Alabama counties.
A question was received late last week from that area about what to do with the grasshoppers in winter cover wheat that is currently being burned down prior to planting cotton.
Immature grasshoppers are present at thousands per acre in the wheat. My recommendation would be to control these grasshoppers at the same time wheat is being burned down, or prior to the time the cotton begins to emerge. They pose a significant risk to stands if allowed to remain in fields.
Based on our research of several years ago, immature grasshoppers can be easily controlled with a low-to-mid range rate of most any insecticide labeled for cotton.
The pyrethroids do an excellent job and are very economical. Adding one ounce of Dimilin per acre to the mix would provide residual control of immatures for weeks down the road.
Since we are still early in the spring, there could be some additional migration into fields from hedgerows and field borders.
The problem with waiting until later to make an application is eventually these immature grasshoppers will become adults, which are much more difficult to control.
(As the season progresses, there will be many more insect control decisions to be made in cotton. Ron Smith strongly urges Alabama cotton growers to fine-tune their insect control programs for best results. The nuts and bolts of that information is available here ).