Got bugs? Few things are worse than putting time and effort into planting and maintaining your cotton crops, only to have them be overrun and ruined by pests. There are numerous cotton crop pests, each bringing their own type of damage to your crop. In order to save your cotton crops, you need to eradicate the insects and prevent them from returning next season.
Pests not only damage your crops, but also put useless wear and tear on your machine and cotton harvester parts, resulting in a damaged crop. Here are our top 10 tips to help you rid your cotton crops of pests:
- Crop monitoring: In order to maintain proper pest management, you should make sure to monitor and scout the field routinely. This will help you gather the most reliable information on the type of pests, the damage levels and pest population density, so that you can make the most informed decisions on pest management in the future.
- Cotton-free periods: It’s recommended that you only plant cotton crops one time during the year. Double cropping might allow pest populations to carry over and grow, since they will have access to a continuous food supply.
- Crop rotation: Similarly, crop rotation should be utilized after a cotton crop is harvested. Planting less favorable crops between cotton crops can help reduce the appearance of many typical cotton pests.
- Selection of resistant varieties: Choosing to plant a pest-resistant or tolerant variety of cotton will help your crop tolerate a pest attack. Certain varieties are highly resistant to specific pests, so look into what kind of pests you experience most often to choose the best one.
- Trap cropping: Trap cropping involves planting a small section of a preferred, or pest-attracting, crop near to the cotton crop as a trap. Once the pest is attracted to the crop and you identify signs of damage, the pest can be destroyed.
- Proper crop spacing: Plant your cotton crops with enough space between them. Dense crops and close spacing can allow the faster multiplication and spread of pests.
- Deep plowing: Plowing your fields deeply after harvesting can help to expose hibernating larvae and eggs of pests.
- Crop residue destruction: After a harvest, effectively remove and destroy all residue of the cotton crop. Doing this will ensure that there is no carryover of the pest into the next cotton crop season.
- Hand-picking and destroying: Hand-picking caterpillars and other adult larvae can help eliminate the potential development of insecticide resistance, as well as reduce a large future population of pests.
- Pesticides: Pesticides or insecticides may be used to remove a given type of pest from your cotton crops. However, pesticides may cause pesticide-resistant pests and are not as sustainable as other approaches. Also consider botanical pesticides.
In order to properly remove and prevent pests from damaging your cotton crops this year, make sure to closely monitor your crops and use the tips provided. With proper care comes great crops!
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