“I would not tell a grower he’ll be able to compensate for thrips damage because we can’t predict things like rainfall, nematodes and plant fertility. All of these stresses are cumulative, and we want to minimize the ones we can. Thrips can definitely be mitigated.”

In terms of the rate trials, there is the base fungicide-treated treatment, Cruiser, and then Cruiser-treated seed in addition to a single foliar spray, he says.

“In the case of Radiant, the Dow label recommends that you apply it with an adjuvant, so we’ve got it with and without an adjuvant. These trials are getting a single foliar application at optimal timing under ideal conditions. We think first true-leaf is the ideal timing under most conditions.

All of these treatments, with the exception of just the base treatment, are underneath the three rating. This is very strong evidence that the best recommendation is to put on that neonicotinoid and supplement the control it provides us.”

The best-looking plants were treated by Benevia at 20.6 ounces. This is probably higher than the labeled rate would be, says Toews.

“With Radiant, our better-looking plants came from using the adjuvant. We nearly always see a benefit from using the adjuvant with that particular product.”

When rated for true leaves, the strongest treatment was Benevia at 20.6 ounces.

In the starter fertilizer trials, researchers looked at irrigation versus dryland. Ten gallons of 10-30-40 was applied in a 2-by-2, which is 2 inches below and 2 inches outside the furrow.

“Starter fertilizer under irrigated conditions, for the second consecutive year, has shown benefits for us. We have a bigger, more robust plant when we give them that pop-up fertilizer. The best timing, in terms of the foliar application, is at first true-leaf.”

These trials, says Toews, are showing options that can be used to improve thrips management in cotton.

“In this particular trial, for the second year in a row, starter fertilizer with a seed treatment and a foliar shot at first true leaf is my best treatment, and that has held up amazingly well.

In dryland, he adds, the benefits of starter fertilizer are lost. “If the conditions aren’t optimal, you can’t take advantage of everything that’s in the soil.

“We saw the same thing last year. It’s more of a low-yield environment without irrigation. We definitely see the impact of foliar treatments on dryland, and first true-leaf is our best bet. Sometimes in dryland situations, we see more benefit to the second leaf, but that’s because the plant is slower growing.”

Starter fertilizer also doesn’t give as much of a benefit on heavier soils as compared to sandier soils, says Toews.


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