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Whiteflies: Until the Last Leaf Falls

Farmers in South Georgia have had their fair share of battles this year. Unfortunately, many cotton fields were plagued with Whiteflies this year as noted in the last post. However, the most important thing to remember is that even though our growing season is coming to a close, and bolls are opening in preparation for harvest, our battle is not over.

Until the very last leaf falls off of our cotton in every field, our battle with whiteflies remain imminent. Our whitefly population is through the roof right now, and as their food source (cotton leaves) start to dwindle, they will search far and wide for other food sources. Young succulent growth is their preference, and freshly defoliated cotton with young regrowth is going to be the oasis in the desert for all of these weary travelers… aka our rivals the whiteflies. We may have to spray these pests just before defoliation in some cases to try to stop their honeydew from growing black sooty mold in our precious cotton bolls so that we can keep from getting deductions for lint quality.

Also a concern is that we have these whiteflies in our peanuts, but we aren’t seeing reproduction in a rate that warrants a spray application. However, when we defoliate all our cotton, any late planted peanuts may be chosen as a last resort food source for the whiteflies. This being the case, we must remain vigilant and keep our nose to the grind stone.

Whatever the case, once we get through a few more hurricanes, an epic battle with insects, and unpredictable weather patterns, maybe we will have a “normal” next year… if not, we will try to keep you posted on what we can do to contend with each.