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OVERVIEW

Heavy bollworm pressure has prompted more treatments in Bollgard (BG), BG II and WideStrike in parts of our coverage areas. In some cases, oversprays were in conjunction with bug treatments. But several of our contacts report bollworm pressure and damage that, by itself, justifies treatments.

Fall armyworms are becoming more apparent in the lower Southeast, and a mix of other species is around.

Stink bugs are still at treatment levels in some areas.

Rain is needed across much of our coverage area. Virginia and portions of North Carolina remain critically dry. The region received no relief from tropical storm Bonnie.

DD accumulations have been working their magic. For some areas, this will be an early crop, even in areas with adequate moisture. As David Butcher in North Carolina observed this week, with all the sun and high temperatures, "it's felt more like Arizona this summer than North Carolina."

ALSO AT AGFAX.COM

BREAKING NEWS: Georgia Peanuts: Special Label Allows Gramoxone Wick Apps For Palmer Pigweed 7-28

Virginia Cotton: Rainfall In The Region Continues To Be Scattered And Light, Moth Flight 7-28

Alabama Cotton: Worm And Bug Escapes Behind Pyrethroids Reported, With Some Slippage In DPL 555 7-27. From Ron Smith's Alabama Insect Blog. See, also, comments about fall armyworms and soy pests

Cotton Market: Record Texas Crop Still Hangs Over Market, But High Plains Weather Hits Odd Streak 7-26. Bob Goodman, Cotton Economist, Auburn University

Alabama: May Begin Shelling Corn By Early August, Crops Are In Dire Need Of Moisture 7-26. USDA

Georgia: Continued To Experience Hot And Dry Temperatures 7-26. USDA

South Carolina: Farmers Reported Stressed Crops Due To Persistent, Intense Heat 7-26. USDA

CROP REPORTS

Ron Smith, Alabama Extension Entomologist: "Some fields in south Alabama have damaging numbers of bollworms, and that includes the single-gene BG fields like DPL 555. They’re not everywhere, but some fields certainly have more than we want to see. We’re finding 2- to 4-day-old worms, with heavy damage in places. We’re seeing less of this in the 2-gene cotton, but this week you should check closely for worms in all varieties and technologies. Fall armyworms are showing up in more cotton. Numbers aren’t terrible, but we’re finding enough to easily measure, and they’re pretty widespread and feeding in white blooms.

"It appears that the bug complex has been cleaned up in a lot of fields. We did see some pyrethroid slippage. This may be related to the high heat. We’ve also seen some fall armyworms coming through. If you’ve got worms and bugs, tank mix something with a pyrethroid. Bidrin tends to be the choice down here because it’s so good on brown stink bugs. We need rain. Basically, 90% of the state is drying up to the bone, plus we’ve got these devastating 100-degree days across a wider area. It’s taken the glamour off a promising crop."

David L. Wright, Florida Extension Agronomist, Quincy, Fla.: "Growers in the panhandle are trying to finish weed management, and pigweed is the main focus. They’re making applications, doing direct sprays and hand pulling in places. Overall, it’s getting dry. We’re almost at 4 weeks of bloom in the older cotton, and plants are setting quite a few bolls and look good at this point. Stink bugs have started coming out of corn. A few treatments have been made, with more expected, and some fungicides have gone out on cotton."

Jim Crawford, Extension Agent, Jefferson County, Louisville, Ga.: "It’s dry, and we’ve already got some DPL 555 blooming close to the top. Temperatures have been in the high 90s for most of the last 10 days. We still stand to make a better-than-average crop, but we need rain, and the next 7 to 10 days are critical. Boron and a little Pix are going out where there is moisture. Stink bugs haven’t been a big problem in cotton yet. Weed control is better than last year, but we’ve been a lot more proactive, too. Also, May and June rains made the preemerge sprays work better. Some hand pulling has been needed for pigweed but not in the majority of our fields."

Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist, Tifton, Ga.: "Stink bugs are the primary thing being treated this week. You need to be checking for them. Some corn earworm treatments are being made, and a lot of the time a pyrethroid is being added with the stink bug spray just to make sure. Corn earworm numbers are dropping now in the southern counties. We are picking up a few fall armyworms, but I haven’t heard of cases where people are going after just fall armyworms."

David Butcher, NC Ag Service, Inc., Pantego, N.C.: "We haven’t had to spray much for insects. The main moth flight is on right now, but cotton is so far along that I’m not sure they can do much damage. A lot of bolls are hard, plus most of our cotton is Bollgard. The crop probably is 3 weeks early. Most is flowering near or out the top. It’s not entirely due to stress, just the amount of heat units we’ve already had. Even in areas that have had adequate rain, the cotton still looks early. Some has finished flowering, with no squares left now. Part of this also has to do with the fact that we don’t apply a lot of extra nitrogen due to the variability of our seasons, and the cotton has made all it will make with what it has."

Jack Bacheler, North Carolina Extension Cotton Entomologist: "People have gotten rain just here and there. You can find a few decent fields. But, overall, the moisture situation has gotten worse. Compounding that, temperatures have been high, and over the weekend (7/24-25) a lot of areas hit 100 to 101. We need something like a tropical depression now to have much effect. Stink bug numbers are mostly down, and some of that probably is due to drier weather. Scattered fields have been sprayed for mites. We’re approaching a scenario where we could have 2 crops. If we do get rain and hit a period of boll shedding, there would be a big gap between the early crop and whatever plants add later. You like to keep up a fruiting profile of some kind, but that might not be the case this year."

John D. Beasley, South Georgia Crop Services, Inc., Screven, Ga.: "We’re mainly treating escaped corn earworms in DPL 555 and a little in WideStrike. We’re picking up some fall armyworms. Numbers are still low, but they’re definitely here. We’ve gotten rain in north Coffee County, but the rest of our area is getting desperate. Plus, we’ve got this intense heat. Cotton is moving fast with the heat. Irrigated fields look real good, and most of the dryland is still holding up. But some of it has cut out with the dry weather and heat. If we catch rain this week, a lot of this cotton would be alright, but it would have to rain this week."

Trey Bullock, Bullock’s Ag Consulting, Hattiesburg, Miss.: "We started seeing a bunch of bollworm moths last week, and on Monday morning (7/26) I found 6% worms, with up to 40% in places. They’re still small, and we’re hoping the Bollgard will take care of them. We are having to treat some WideStrike for bollworms where we found 3- to 4-day-old worms. Most of my cotton has cut out for sure, with maybe just a couple of weeks to keep looking for bugs in some fields. Fruit shed has been pretty extreme, but the crop is excellent, overall. We’re also finding a lot of bolls that are marble-size, more of a stuck bloom tag hanging from the plant than anything else. It’s not a varietal thing, and in places I can count 3 to 4 per plant. We’ve had some extended periods of wet, humid weather, and could use some wind to dry things out. Since last Wednesday (7/21), I’ve poured 2.5 to 3.5 inches of water out of just about every rain gauge."

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Barry L. Freeman, Extension Entomologist (Retired), Belle Mina, Ala.: "We’re still trying to get a handle on this current corn earworm flight. We’re not seeing anything breaking through that’s a concern yet. Mites have been on-going, and some treatments have been made on populations we’ve been watching for some time. Plant bugs and stink bugs have required very little in the way of treatments. We had a little aphid flaring, but the fungus showed up at about the same time, and I maybe know of one farmer who treated aphids."

Wes Briggs, Briggs Crop Services, Inc., Bainbridge, Ga.: "We’re drying out. If 4 or 5 fields of our dryland cotton don’t get rain in the next 7 days (from 7/27), we could be defoliating them in 2 more weeks. Overall, cotton is maturing out as fast or faster than I’ve ever seen. The heat units have really accumulated. Between the fruit load, lack of rain and intense heat, the pivots can’t keep up. On large pivots, cotton shows some moisture stress before the pivot can get back to it. We’re spraying plant bugs and stink bugs and have been dealing with just about a full selection of worms – beets, falls, loopers, bollworms and budworms, depending on the field – plus, we’ve got spider mites in some cotton, too. We’ve had to overspray some BG II, but just certain varieties. We’re seeing a lot of fruit abortion. This heat has taken a toll."


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Ames Herbert, Virginia Extension Entomologist: "Cotton is transitioning out of stink bugs and plant bugs and into bollworms. We’re seeing the moth flight increasing. If we were in conventional cotton and scouting just for eggs, the threshold would already have been met and exceeded in some cotton in northeast North Carolina, and a lot of worms are being found there under bloom tags in both BG II and WideStrike (WS). We’re looking at preliminary data from our own field-corn assessment of bollworms, which takes into account the number of ears with damage or live worms. We survey fields in 30 counties, and percentages this year are generally high, which is another indication that we could see a big flight continuing into Virginia. We might see the need to treat some fields in Virginia next week if enough worms start escaping in BG II and WS. Again, don’t pull the trigger based on eggs. We’re also seeing up-and-down results on pyrethroid susceptibility, although samples up until now have been small. But I’ve already had one call about a 50% survival rate in a peanut field after a standard rate of pyrethroid."

Jeremy Greene, Clemson University Cotton Entomologist, Blackville, S.C.: "Bollworms and stink bugs are the main issues in cotton right now. There’s a lot of bollworm pressure on 2-gene cotton, and it’s essential to scout that cotton closely. These varieties aren’t 100% resistant, and severe pressure can break them and lead to double-digit boll damage. We have that potential across a large portion of our cotton production area right now. We’ve had a heavy egg lay. With all those eggs, some caterpillars will make it through. With stink bugs, think in terms of treating both pests with one application in areas that haven’t had applications previously this season or haven’t had an application in the last 10 days. If people are looking for reasons to spray, there are plenty of them out there. On an odd note, I’ve also gotten a call today about yellow stripe armyworm infestations in some cotton."