Sikes conducts on-farm research to control thrips


Pictured left to right: Bill Tyson, Bulloch County Extension agent, and Greg Sikes, farmer from Brooklet, Georgia.

The first field visit on the Georgia Peanut Tour is the farm of Greg Sikes in Bulloch County, Georgia. Sikes has been farming 16 years and grows 7,000 acres of cotton, peanuts, corn and soybeans. His grandfather and uncle farmed but Sikes has not farmed any of that land until two years ago. Sikes is a very innovative farmer, says Bill Tyson, Bulloch County Extension agent.

In 2014, Sikes planted Georgia 06G in a twin and single rows. The research tests use Thimet in-furrow on single rows and Imidacloprid in-furrow on twin rows to help with control of thrips. According to Sikes, planting in twin rows uses more expensive equipment but the twin rows help with controlling thrips and weeds. The peanuts were planted April 28 and the conditions at that time were pretty good. The peanuts have had a pretty good growing season as you can tell by the vines, Sikes says, except for a few weeks ago when the heat index reached 100 to 105 degrees every day.

According to Tyson, Sikes peanuts are ready to dig and normally he would be in the field digging but over the past week he has had about 8 inches of rain in this area. So, now we are looking for some sunshine. Tyson says, the tour should have come through this area about five weeks ago when farmers really needed rain and brought rain to us then. The peanuts are ready to be dug but we have to deal with what Mother Nature has given us.

2014_gpt_047sMark Abney, peanut entomologist at University of Georgia also visited with attendees during the tour about insect pressure especially Thrips. Thrips are a tiny little insect that affects peanuts and causes tomato spotted wilt virus. The TSWV would have devastated the peanut crop across the Southeast but many plant breeders developed TSVW resistant varieties. Thrips is the only way TSWV is spread. Thrips also suck on plant juices and stunt the plant the first four weeks of the plants life at the beginning of the season. For many years, farmers used Timek to control peanuts but EPA banned the product a few years ago.  So, now the industry is forced to figure out a new way to control thrips. Our goal is to help the grower and increase efficiency by making one trip through the field by applying insecticide at planting. We are not 100% in finding a solution but we are working towards that to help farmers.

View 2014 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album