Spider mites continue to be a factor. In places, they are being treated. But general populations are lingering across a wide area and maybe complicating treatments for other pests.
More bug treatments are being made. Stink bugs are starting to show in places. Plant bug numbers have built in areas where they’re not a common problem.
Aphid treatments are being made in some areas.
Ag chem shortages continue to be reported. Last week we heard more about the unavailability of certain herbicides. This week, some neonics have reportedly been in short supply in both the Southeast and the Delta.
Pigweed, pigweed, pigweed. We’re hearing more reports about Roundup-resistant pigweed this week. Some hand pulling has started in north Alabama, which before this season has not had a known problem. See our report from Billy McLawhorn for one of the more profound comments anybody has made about this problem, so far.
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Billy McLawhorn, McLawhorn Crop Services, Inc., Cove City, N.C.: "We’ve got a few spotted places with spider mites and have had a little more plant bug activity than normal. So far, we’ve sprayed 20% to 25% of our cotton for plant bugs. Nothing has needed a second application. In a typical year, we’ll treat 10% to 20% of it.
"We’re spending plenty of time dealing with Roundup-resistant pigweed. In certain neighborhoods, growers aren’t having a problem. Others, though, have paid the tech fee for Roundup Ready Flex and haven’t put any Roundup on the crop. With everything else they’ve had to apply, it hasn’t been needed. Growers also have planted more WideStrike cotton this year so they could go over it with Ignite. So far, I haven’t read anything about Roundup-resistant pigweed that overstated how bad it can be. You simply can’t exaggerate.
"Most areas where we work received pretty good rainfall patterns through June. We do have dry pockets, though. I was in one place today (7/5) that has only had 6 tenths of an inch in the last 6 weeks, and I’m sure they won’t put a combine in any of that corn."
Zach Ingrum, Field Rep, Southern States, Athens, Alabama: "We have a few acres of non-Bt cotton and are finding about a 10% bollworm/budworm complex but will not treat due to the dry weather. It’s been dry enough that we’re about a week away from a disaster on some of our early soybeans. We had spotty rains last Saturday (7/3), but it just rained on about 1,000 acres. Temperatures have cooled into the lower 90s today (7/5), with a wind out of the north, so there’s less chance for popup showers.
"We’re still spraying spider mites. I looked at about 4,000 acres on Sunday and found mites in every field. We’ll do a lot of spot spraying. We started out with bifenthren because we also had stink bugs and plant bugs, but we’re shifting now to one of the abamectin materials.
"This is our first year of dealing with Roundup-resistant pigweed, and we’re to the point that some has been hand pulled. We also had to get the hooded sprayers out, and there were delays with that. They’ve been parked on the fencerows since Roundup Flex came out, and dealers didn’t have parts for them when everyone started getting them ready."
Gary Swords, Swords Consulting, Arlington, Ga.: "We’re still playing with plant bugs, and a few fleahoppers have moved in. With aphids, we’re on the front end of things, and we’ve treated some. Anybody who’s not looking right now could be surprised to find some cotton next week that’s been sucked down pretty good. One complication is that several products are in short supply. I guess everyone has been tightly managing inventories, and the expanded cotton acreage caught them off guard.
"Moisture-wise, we’ve gone from extreme to extreme – from places that have only gotten 2 to 4 tenths of an inch of rain in the last 6 weeks to dryland cotton fields that have gotten rain every week and look just as good as any of our irrigated cotton. The majority of our cotton is 1 to 3.5 weeks into bloom. But it ranges from cotyledon to 6.5 weeks of bloom."
Brandon Dillard, Regional Agronomist, Geneva, Ala.: "A few cotton insect applications are going out here and there. Aphids are turning up on some of our younger cotton. Nothing is demanding or out of control. We had our first of 2 precision ag meetings this morning (7/6), and the overwhelming topic of conversation there had nothing to do with insects. The subject was pigweed. I’ve seen problems before, but nothing like this one. I think there will be a lot of rethinking after this season is over about what to do about pigweed in the future. Our older cotton is blooming, and we’re getting a good rain right now (7/6)."
Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist, Tifton, Ga.: "Aphids are building to higher numbers, which we expected. Scouts and consultants need to be looking now for the aphid fungus. Historically, we don’t treat a lot of aphids in Georgia cotton, and we try to wait for the fungus. In cotton setting bolls, we need to be on the lookout for stink bugs, and we have had reports of economic populations. That’s not unusual at this point in the season, either. Primarily, brown stink bugs are being observed.
"Spider mites are still out there, but not many fields have required treatment. Keep in mind that they’re present, so try to do as little disruption as possible if you’re treating other pests. Try to select products that will have a minimal effect on mite populations. We don’t have a lot of conventional cotton, but we do have a tobacco budworm flight in south Georgia, so be aware of that. Corn earworm numbers are picking up in south Georgia, too, and this is about the point when that tends to happen."
Mike Howell, Extension Area Agronomist, Gulfport, Miss.: "We’re finding a good many stink bugs on early cotton setting bolls, and several applications have gone out in the last week. A lot of those fields also had plant bugs, and we also have fields close to threshold on plant bugs, aside from other pests. We haven’t made applications just for plant bugs yet. We usually don’t have plant bugs in this part of the state at all, but this year it’s something to keep in mind while scouting. People are putting out Pix with insecticides but generally need to be doing that, even if they’re not treating pests. We’re getting a good bit of rain and need to keep cotton under control."