Here is this week's AgFax Midsouth Cotton, covering Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Alabama and Tennessee.

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AgFax Midsouth Cotton is published by AgFax Media, Owen Taylor, Editorial Director. It is available to United States residents engaged in grain farming or qualifying ag-related professions. Mailing address: 142 Westlake Drive, Brandon, MS 39047. 601-992-9488 (Fax: 601-992-3503). Email: owen@agfax.com.

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OVERVIEW

Mites and plant bugs remain at center stage. Big moth flights and/or egg lays are underway in a wide area, as well.

Irrigation pumps are running across the region.

The crop is speeding along. Drought has certainly pushed development, but rapidly accumulating heat units also have been a factor.

CROP REPORTS

Joey Branch, ProAg Services, LLC, Newport, Ark.: "We’ve got a little plant bug activity going on, and we’ve sprayed several fields. Nothing has needed a second application, and they seem to be under control. It’s pretty dry, and growers are running every well they possibly can."

Victor Roth, Roth Farm Service, Malden, Mo.: "We’ve been treating plant bugs as necessary. Mites also have been treated as they crop up. We’ve made some border applications but also treated whole fields in certain cases. We’ve gone through some terribly hot weather, and some growers say they haven’t had any rain since mid May. But most of our cotton is irrigated, and the crop looks pretty darn good. We’ve put out Pix to try to contain things and also have been adding a little extra nitrogen to take advantage of this early crop. A good portion of the cotton we check, in fact, was blooming by the last week of June, and a big percentage this week is in full bloom."

Zach Ingrum, Field Rep, Southern States, Athens, Alabama: "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 will shift to a miticide now. 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, although with some delays. They’ve been parked since Roundup Flex came out, and dealers didn’t have parts for them now. We have a few acres of non-Bt cotton and are finding about a 10% bollworm/budworm complex. But as dry as it is, we won’t treat. It’s dry enough that we’re about a week away from a disaster on some early soybeans."

Herbert Jones Jr., Ind. Consultant, Leland, Miss.: "We’re on plant-bug treatment 4 or 5 in our older cotton, and this week I started picking up our first immatures. So far, we’ve mainly been going with neonics. On some blooming cotton, we had a shot of Orthene and also have applied some Carbine. As we’re finding immature forms, we’re also working Diamond into the program. I’ve sprayed some spider mites, just small hot spots. Today (7/5) I saw my first cluster of aphids for this season, but nothing to treat. Cotton fields are full of heliothis. Every moth I’ve seen has been a bollworm moth, but I do know some budworms are out there because a small, acceptable number of worms came through 2 shots of pyrethroid in June. We had a scattering of rain last week, just hit and miss showers. Nobody slacked up on irrigation."

Joe Townsend, Ind. Consultant, Coahoma, Miss.: "We’re still treating plant bugs, but numbers aren’t as bad as in the last 4 to 5 years. Around corn, we’re still treating every 4 to 5 days. But as we move away from corn, that stretches out to 10 to 14 days. Corn is still holding huge numbers, and it’s starting to dent, so we expect more to spill into cotton. They’re also moving from drought-stressed dryland soybeans. Still, though, we’ve spent way, way less money on plant bugs than we have in a long time. We’re starting to spray a fair amount of cotton for spider mites, either abamectin or Zeal. We actually have some cotton close to termination. Quite a bit is 3 to 4 NAWF. That’s partially due to drought, but the heat unit accumulation has been amazing. We’re dealing with some late-emerging, resistant carelessweed in cotton. It continues to be dry in most of my territory. If an irrigation pump isn’t running, it’s probably because it broke down."

Reynold Minsky, Minsky Consulting Services, Inc., Lake Providence, La.: "We’ve ended up with a big bollworm hatch. If the plant controls 80% of what’s out there, we’ll still have too many, and we will start treating everything today (7/6). We put out some Diamond last week for beet armyworms. Mites are getting bad all over. We’re treating some for the first time today and also going back a second time on certain fields. On this shot, we’re using abamectin and hope to get 2 weeks out of it. Until we get some rain, we’re holding off on Zeal on dryland cotton. If we put it on now and then got rain, we’d have new growth that wouldn’t be protected by that $22-and-acre application. We need rain badly. Everybody is watering where they can."

Roger Leonard, LSU Research Entomologist, Winnsboro, La.: "Last week we had some instances of unsatisfactory control with abamectin miticides at the lower 4 to 6 oz/acre rate, and we’re recommending that people go up to 8 to 10 oz/acre if they intend to use those products. We’ve got a very robust plant out there, although plant growth also has slowed because of the fruit load. A higher rate would help the residual and improve coverage. We’re not talking about big outbreaks with mites, but we have populations that should be addressed. If people want to carry residual out further, then they have the option of going to something like Zeal, Oberon or Portal, but those treatments tend to cost 2.5X more, and that becomes a consideration.

"Also, we’re in the middle of a bollworm egg lay, and they’re starting to hatch in soybeans, grain sorghum, late field corn and cotton. We’re certainly going to have to make treatments with pyrethroids at mid to high rates. Evaluate control 72 to 96 hours after treatment. Some of these populations exhibit fairly high tolerance to pyrethroids. Pyrethroids may, in fact, work well in many situations, and these populations aren’t widespread. But nobody can predict where they’ll pop up. If you see control issues, subsequent applications should be with a pyrethroid in combination with another product. Plant bug numbers are low to moderate. We have treatment numbers but not the large outbreak levels we’ve seen in recent years."

Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tenn.: "More and more spider mites are popping up. Plant bugs are sporadic but heavy in spots. They seem to have started picking up at the end of last week. If you didn’t spray for plant bugs late last week, look for them in your cotton right now. Stink bugs – mainly green stink bugs – have finally started showing up, and we’re finding them pretty routinely in cotton and soybeans. A few cotton fields are being treated. We need rain and are getting desperately dry in spots."

Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist: "Mites and plant bugs continue to be the main issues like they have been for the last couple of weeks. We’re getting calls about people finding worm eggs and such."

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Terry Erwin, Morehouse Parish Extension Agent, Bastrop, La.: "We’re treating some plant bugs in cotton, nothing uncommon for this time of the year. We’re still not seeing spider mites to the extent they are south of here. But with reduced acreage, practically all our cotton this year is irrigated, so it’s not under stress. That may have something to do with low mite numbers. Cotton looks pretty good, it’s blooming and making bolls, and even the dryland cotton looks okay, especially when compared to dryland corn or soybeans."

Dale Wells, Ind. Consultant, Cotton Services, Inc., Leachville, Ark.: "Cotton is in full bloom, and the main pests are spider mites and plant bugs. We’re now into our second trip for plant bugs on a lot of fields. With mites, we’re trying to identify opportunities to just treat borders. But with all the choppers and hooded sprayers going through fields, mites have been distributed pretty good, so now we’re also into whole-field treatments in some cases. We also have fields with spot infestations. We haven’t pulled the trigger on those and hope we will catch a rain that would take care of it. It’s really, really dry here. We’ve missed every rain that everybody else caught. Cotton is further along than normal. Typically, we think we’re doing good if cotton blooms around July 4. This year, though, we started finding blooms on June 20."

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. A lot of those fields had plant bugs, too. We also have several fields close to threshold on plant bugs, aside from other pests. We haven’t made treatments just for plant bugs yet. We usually don’t have them in this part of the state, but this year plant bugs are something to keep in mind while scouting. People are putting out Pix. We’re getting a good bit of rain and need to keep cotton under control."

Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist: "Plant bug numbers are exploding, and everybody is just trying to keep up. We hit a shortage of Centric, but I think that finally got straightened out. We’re to the point in a lot of places that we need to go in with our ‘stopper’ treatment, something to try to knock down numbers and maintain reasonable retention. We’ve had best results with a tankmix that includes Bidrin or Orthene with a pyrethroid, and the product of choice has been Brigade or another bifenthren material. Aphids are kind of building here and there, and this is awfully late for aphids. It appears to be a very general situation, nothing to be alarmed about. Bollworm trap counts are still high, and some counties already have caught more moths this year than they did in all of 2009. Moths are still flying around, and we continue to see a pretty good egg lay and small larvae. Mites are still increasing. Everyplace I’ve been lately the mites were evident."