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Owen Taylor, Editor
Here is this week's issue of AgFax Midsouth Cotton.
Our thanks to SePRO – maker of Brake herbicide – for once again sponsoring our coverage.
Bollworms have slacked off in places but are building in others. In some cotton a third application has either been made or will be soon. They are beginning to turn up slightly more now in the upper Delta.
Plant bug pressure varies widely. No huge train wrecks have occurred, but multiple sprays continue to be needed in spots, particularly near corn.
Aphids linger in parts of the Midsouth and spider mites have required attention in places, too.
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Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist
“Bollworms vary. In places, people are picking up a few new eggs, but in other locations the numbers are declining. Probably the biggest concern now with this summer’s bollworm pressure is the hit that budgets are taking due to this spraying. Two diamide treatments have gone out on some cotton but we still have a way to go and more spraying could be necessary.
“One common question I’m being asked is whether growers could go with a pyrethroid now, which obviously would be cheaper. But pyrethroids aren’t doing a consistent enough job that we’re recommending them. The best you might do at this point is ride the really low numbers and take care of the bigger numbers where an application or two have already gone out.
“It’s a difficult situation and people are having to make a $10 to $14 application on worms after already spraying once or twice. Unfortunately, that’s the reality and we don’t have a way around it. The fact that the flight hit us so early in the season means that we still have plenty of season left, given the age of the cotton.
“Plant bugs are still kind of normal to moderate. That’s the only saving grace with the worms – we’re not having to fight heavy plant bug numbers when we’re also dealing with bollworms.
“The key thing to remember about the worm situation is that it’s not hitting everyone. Plenty of reports have appeared in the popular ag press and in social media about bollworm escapes, but this doesn’t automatically mean that they’ve developed in heavy numbers in every field.
“Yes, they have hit a significant number of fields, but in some lucky cases they haven’t built at all. That underscores the need to scout closely. Spray if necessary but hold back if it’s not necessary.
“Aphids are lingering in places. The fungus is so unpredictable now, and some people are dealing with aphids, unfortunately. Mites are still an issue in places but I’m not hearing much about them otherwise.
“In soybeans, redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) have picked up and more applications are going out. Calls ramped up in the last 2 days (from 8/1). I think we’re beginning to see the predicted effect – as more harvest aids go out on soybeans, RBSB are concentrating in beans that weren’t planted quite as early, and that may intensify in the coming weeks.
“Redbanded are still predominately south of U.S. 82 but people definitely are treating north of the highway, too. Soybean loopers are beginning to appear in beans. They’re not in horrible numbers but applications have been made in places.”
Sebe Brown, Northeast Louisiana Region Extension Entomologist
“Bollworm moth numbers have declined in our traps, but parts of the state are experiencing a pretty heavy egg lay, mainly in northeast and northwest Louisiana. We’re into the second generation of this bollworm flight, so everyone needs to be out there scouting if you have WideStrike but even in Bollgard 2 cotton. Take extra time and examine bloom tags, scan the terminals and scout for injury.
“People are asking if the diamide products are still working. They’re seeing worms coming through treatments in cotton and want to know if resistance to the chemistry is a factor. Those materials are still working in soybeans and the worms in beans came from the same flight that moved into cotton, so the products are still active.
“The main influence is trying to get materials down in the plant. That’s easier in soybeans than in cotton. Remember that bollworms in cotton are a cryptic feeder. They’ll stay in squares, blooms and possibly bolls and won’t eat as much treated tissue as they would in soybeans.
“LSU does not officially recommend spraying on egg lays but that has to be considered with what we’re running up against. The technology is failing all over the state. If you’re spraying based on injury, that puts you behind the 8 ball, and I’m seeing too much injury in both Bollgard 2 and WideStrike.
“If worms hatch on Monday and nobody checks again until Thursday or Friday, you’ve got a 4-day-old worm. But if you can catch the eggs the week before and make an application, you stand a better chance of controlling small larvae before they bore into a square or move inside a bloom tag.
“Plant bug numbers have been fairly low to moderate. I haven’t heard of any control issues. More reports are coming in about abamectin failure on resistant spider mites. People are applying a couple of treatments with no success, then have to fall back on newer miticides. If you’re going with abamectin, use the highest labeled rate. If you’ve had resistance issues with it in the past, move to one of the newer miticides right out of the gate.
“In soybeans, redbanded stink bugs are still out there. We’ve gotten good results with 2 to 4 oz/acre of Belay in combination with 4 oz/acre of bifenthrin.”
Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee
“Bollworms right now (8/1) are pretty much confined to WideStrike, although they’ve now been found in a couple of Bollgard 2 fields. So, we need to be monitoring Bollgard 2, more so than ever.
“We’ll see how things unfold this week with the moth flight. We had a pretty good bump in moth counts in our traps last Thursday. We haven’t run the next count yet but I’m noticing plenty of moths in traps again. So, it looks like a flight is kicking up.
“I’m getting calls about aphids in cotton. They are at least lingering. It’s a pretty easy situation to fix if you have some plant bugs. Go with Transform and spike it with something like acephate or Bidrin. However, people are having a hard time finding plant bugs. Our data shows that you might go with just Bidrin where it hasn’t been used much before.”
Blake Foust, Consultant, Southern Heritage Cotton, LLC, Forrest City, Arkansas
“Plant bugs have really calmed down in cotton. We’re spraying a few spider mites and scattered worms. We haven’t gotten into worms yet like I’m hearing about in Mississippi. Quite a bit of cotton is just about to cut out and more will be at or near that point next week. We’re right on track, I think.
“In soybeans, we’ve sprayed a handful of fields for worms and stink bugs, just here and there. I’ll turn loose of a lot of bean acres this week where they were planted at the end of March and in early April. We’ve still got moisture and won’t water those again. A little corn harvest has started. Where it hasn’t, we’re mostly through with irrigation.”
Trent LaMastus, Consultant, Cleveland, Mississippi
“We’ve been battling bollworms slipping through Bollgard 2 and WideStrike, plus getting through pyrethroids for the most part. We’re having to go with diamide-type materials to maintain control, so costs have gone up.
“You’d better hit them on the front end of a hatch. If you treat behind the hatch, you’ll get less control. It’s still better than applying a pyrethroid but not what you want to see. They are starting out low in the plant, which we expect, but we’re seeing a good deal more survival in both technologies than in the past.
“I don’t think this is any more pressure than we’ve ever had, certainly nothing like the numbers we would expect if this much damaged occurred. We’ve included acephate when we spray to hold down moth numbers. It’s only good for a few days. If it rains, the acephate will be completely gone. But it’s certainly helped. It’s taken about 10 days to get into another heavy egg lay behind these treatments.
“Plant bugs are mostly behind us. Spider mites are present, and we’re having to deal with them and bollworms at the same time, which adds to the expense. Our cotton ranges from 7 NAWF to 2 NAWF.
“One farmer started harvesting corn today (7/31) and will dry it down. Early indications point to strong yields. That corn was only irrigated once.
“A big portion of our soybeans are at R5.7 to almost R6.5. I’ll turn loose of a lot of beans next week, and some fields have been irrigated for the last time. We’ve been fighting stink bugs someplace in beans for more than 3 weeks. It’s been a variety of stink bugs with a lot of redbanded in the mix.
“We’ve had a big flush of bollworms in soybeans from the same flight that developed in cotton. They moved into soybeans that were blooming in the last 2 weeks.”
Larry Walker, Walker Cotton Technical Services, Flintville, Tennessee
“Our cotton hasn’t reached peak bloom yet. We’re in the middle of insects. We’ve been through a pretty significant infestation of plant bugs but have taken care of that. We sprayed everything once across the board. We’re now applying Pix and boron.
“Aside from still finding an occasional plant bug, we’re seeing plenty of threecornered alfalfa hoppers (3CAH). They can clip off the square where the stem attaches to the petiole. This isn’t an economic infestation but they are spreading. Any material that’s good on plant bugs should handle them fine.
“After spraying for plant bugs, ladybugs cleaned up residual aphids. Ants are present, too. If any bollworm moths come through and lay eggs, the beneficials will be waiting for them. By mid-August, more of our cotton will be in peak bloom. If the weather holds to a normal pattern, we’ll be defoliating around October 10.
“Some corn on red knolls and red hills will hit black layer next week, but most corn is still 2.5 weeks away. Overall, though, we have excellent moisture. It rained about 1.25 inches last Friday (7/28), which sets us up well as we head into August.”
Lee Rogers, Rogers Entomological Service, Steele, Missouri
“We haven’t had a good rain in over a month. When systems come through, they either go to the north, the south or split. We could use a rain and have had a bad outbreak of spider mites due to dry conditions. They’re kind of spreading through fields now and a rain would help with control.
“Plant bugs seem to be picking up, although they’re not terrible. We are treating. In some cotton around corn we’ve had to spray more than once. In the worst places, 3 or 4 applications have gone out. We haven’t seen a lot of problems with worms and the technologies we planted seem to be holding. The crop is well into mid-bloom. How it finally turns out remains to be seen.
“Our most advanced corn is close to black layer and we’ll stop irrigating most of it over the next week or two (from 7/31). Our corn crop looks really good.”
David Skinner, Agronomist, CPS, Macon, Mississippi
“All of our irrigated cotton looks good. The same goes for dryland cotton where it’s gotten rain. We could use a good general rain right now. What we’ve had lately were scattered showers.
“If we go this week without an area-wide rain, some cotton will head downhill pretty quickly. The first 10 days of August will determine how yields work out on our non-irrigated crop.
“I haven’t made oversprays for bollworms in Bt cotton in a number of years, but we had to treat about everything with the regular WideStrike gene and also some of the Deltapine cotton. That happened last week but it seems like things have already quieted down. However, I’m in a field right now (late afternoon, 7/31) and I am seeing moths.
“We started spraying on eggs because we had excessive escapes. Once bollworms are under a dry bloom, they are safe, so we went with egg recommendations from Angus Catchot (Mississippi Extension Entomologist).
“A few people tried to start into corn harvest earlier but it was wet, so they held off. Growers are picking around now for any fields where they can cut. Harvest should crank up a little more next week.”
Farm Bill: Rep. Conaway Tells Texans He Wants to Get Started in 8 Weeks – DTN 8-2
Tennessee: Reminder – Mid-South Ag Finance Conference Set for Aug. 9 8-2
Tennessee Cotton: Call of the Week Is Aphids, but Bollworms Picking Up 8-2
AgFax Cotton Southwest: Thankful for Rain – Here Come the Weeds 8-2
Tennessee Cotton: Thinking About Cutout and Terminating Insecticide Applications 8-1
Louisiana Cotton: Bt Resistance – How Did It Play Out Across Technologies? 7-28
Mississippi Cotton, Soybeans: Heavy Bollworm Numbers; Sprays Issues Likely NOT from Resistance 7-31
Flint on Crops: Don’t Give Up on Cotton – Commentary 7-31
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