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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.
Rain continues to delay applications across a wide area and is also inducing boll rot where the fruit is susceptible. Shedding is more evident this week in places.
Bollworm sprays continue in dual-gene cotton where necessary, and applications are being made in areas in the upper Delta where that’s a rarity.
More of the cotton has reached or moved past the point that this year’s insect spectrum will matter much. Cleanup sprays are being made in places.
In soybeans, redbanded stink bug (RBSB) pressure has spread farther north. Multiple applications have been needed in parts of the region where RBSB have never been an issue in the past. An ArkLaMiss meeting covering RBSB management will be held today (8/17) at Stoneville, Mississippi. The University of Arkansas will live-stream the event, as well. See comments by Gus Lorenz, Angus Catchot and Sebe Brown.
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Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist
“Some cotton is cutting out, and with a lot of it we’re not overly concerned about insects. It’s at NAWF 5, so our worm threshold doubles at that point. If low egg numbers appear in tops of plants right now in that cotton, we’re going to let a lot of that ride. But a fair amount of young cotton isn’t out of the woods yet in terms of insects. Decisions about plant bugs are being made in some fields.
“In soybeans, redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) are the main concern. That’s the dominate subject when my phone rings about soybeans. The situation varies with each call – from RBSB just under threshold, to fields at threshold and others that are way over treatment level. Most activity is below U.S. 82 – but not all of it.
“The major question is how late do we have to carry them? Some people have been checking soybeans 3 or even 4 weeks longer than usual just because of RBSB. If you have a threshold at R7, you need to take care of that. That’s the hard truth. These are things we hope to address tomorrow (8/17) at a public meeting that will cover RBSB management options. It’s at the Delta REC at Stoneville, starting at 2 p.m. Arkansas is one of the sponsors and a live web feed will be available through its system.”
Tyler Sandlin, Extension Crop Specialist, North Alabama, Belle Mina
“We’re coming up on what we consider the last effective bloom date here. What’s on the crop right now looks pretty good. We’ve had rain across numerous areas in the Tennessee Valley, which has delayed Pix applications and such.
“Some square shed is apparent after the rain but it’s nothing terrible right now (8/16). Some over-spraying has been necessary, although we’re not seeing the pressure reported in other areas. Several applications were made on regular WideStrike cotton but I feel like more escapes have occurred than normal in Bollgard 2 fields, and some of that also was over-sprayed here and there.
“At Belle Mina, our bollworm trap count hit 168 this week compared to 58 the previous week. You can’t say whether that will correlate to what happens in the field, but it’s certainly enough to catch your attention.
“In soybeans, some bollworm treatments have been made. In corn, some folks would have started harvest at high moisture this week but the rain held it up. Rainfall varied, from little or none in places, but over the last week the totals ran 4 to 5 inches in spots.”
Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist
“Most cotton is getting past the point that insects will matter much, although we’re still dealing with bollworms in late-planted cotton. For whatever reason, plenty of worms are getting through Bollgard 2 technology. We’re finding square feeding in the top of the plant and all the way down into blooms and bolls.
“Foliar applications are giving less-than-desirable control in many cases. Some retreatments have been going out and a lot of moths are still flying. With all the rain lately, spider mites are down a little. We’re mainly trying to reach the finish line without too much more spraying. People are counting the heat units until they can back away.
“In soybeans, redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) have gotten worse and are building in more areas. Treatments have been going out around Pine Bluff, Altheimer, Gillette and Stuttgart. They’re picking up more around Marianna and also increasing in Phillips, Monroe and into Arkansas County.
“A number of people are on their second redbanded spray. One guy said he’d sprayed 100% of his acres once, 50% twice and 25% for the third time. RBSB are moving into fields at R5 or R6. I was in a field at a solid R5 and found a treatment level. In places, greens and browns are in the mix, and that’s pushing them over threshold.
“Also, people are treating a lot of soybeans for bollworms in parts of northeast Arkansas. Typically, bollworms don’t require applications in soybeans up there.
“Regarding RBSB, a regional meeting is set for Thursday (8/17) at Stoneville, Mississippi, that will cover management options for this insect.” The University of Arkansas is one of the sponsors of the meeting, and we will stream it on the web, as well.”
Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee
“Our cotton looks pretty good. We haven’t received quite as much rain as areas south of us. People think the crop looks pretty good and I concur.
“With bugs, we’re mostly down to either turning cotton loose or making a last application for stink bugs and plant bugs. We made it through the bollworm thing relatively unscathed. I am hearing reports about worms slipping through Bt technologies in our southwestern corner and people are having to spray. So, be aware of potential for this in later cotton. On the whole, though, I think we’ve outraced worms.
“Soybeans are mostly quiet except for bollworms over in the river bottoms. This is a treat-as-needed situation, mainly in later beans at R1 or R2 where the canopy hasn’t closed.”
Eddy Cates, Cates Agritech Inc., Marion, Arkansas
“Since last Friday (8/11) it’s rained from 2 inches up to 4.5 inches in different areas. We can’t do anything in the field (as of 8/15) and rain is in the forecast. We’ve had applications on the books for several days but nothing has gone out.
“In cotton, we’ve been dealing with bollworms. A major moth flight came through and we sprayed a big portion of the cotton last week. This week, we’re spraying what we didn’t treat last week. All of our crop is in Bollgard 2.
“We had to spray spider mites, but they’ve let up a little with this rain. Plant bugs have been knocked down pretty good. We needed an inch of rain or something like that. With the amounts we did receive, everything is saturated and we’re pretty much finished with watering cotton.
“We’re spraying some bollworms in soybeans. Where we’re treating stink bugs, it’s mostly greens. We’ll turn loose of some beans this week and quite a bit more next week.”
Phillip McKibben, McKibben Ag Services, Mathiston, Mississippi
“Most of our cotton is at 2 to 4 NAWF. Plant bugs have generally been light this year. We’ve had spider mite issues, which occurs here maybe once every 6 or 7 years. They haven’t been heavy everywhere but they’ve been apparent in spots and on edges. So far, they’ve been more an irritation than a pest, and we’ve had to watch for them for the last month.
“We treated about half of our acreage for bollworms – divided about equally between WideStrike and Bollgard 2.
“One of the big challenges this year in cotton has been managing plant height. None of ours is 7 feet tall but some is definitely taller than I’d like. I’ve been earlier and more aggressive with plant growth regulator applications than at any point in my career but still have too much height in places.
“With some of these newer varieties, I don’t know what the best solution is for holding them back. I’m not alone in that. Other consultants are voicing that same frustration.
“We’ve gotten about as much rain as anyone in the state, at least north of Interstate 20. Today (8/14) it rained across a big strip in north Mississippi from the Mississippi River to the Alabama line. Over the last 2 weeks it’s rained 8 to 10 inches over much of our ground
“In corn, our combines will start rolling as soon as the ground firms up. Growers with dryers will start first. Those without dryers may have to wait a couple of weeks before they can run.
“With soybeans, we’ve been waiting for clear weather to start applying desiccants. A lot of early-planted beans are already dropping leaves. With this rain, some of our later beans have really turned around. In early fields, we are noticing some moldy beans, but I think we’ve avoided big losses so far. Those fields are really just now ready.”
Dale Wells, Ind. Cotton Services, Inc., Leachville, Arkansas
“It’s wet. Since Sunday it’s rained 2.5 inches at my house. Yesterday, rains were somewhat spotty, but today (8/15) they seemed more generalized.
“With cotton, we’re right at cutout. Most fields are either real close to NAWF 5 or have passed that point. We’re probably a week away from turning loose our very earliest fields, although we only have a minimal amount of that early cotton. With the majority of the crop, we’ll start letting it go in 2 weeks.
“I haven’t seen any open bolls yet. In scattered fields, we’re still spraying a few plant bugs.
“Enough worms came through in some dual-gene cotton that we had to treat a few fields. In this little area where I consult, I can’t remember spraying dual-gene cotton before this year. In the past when they did make it through, the numbers didn’t justify an application, so we let them ride. This year we found enough that we decided to take care of them.
“Mites have been in the general area but we’ve only sprayed a couple of strips.
“In soybeans, we sprayed podworms in just about every field that was at R2, with some up to R4. We’ve really never done that much spraying for worms in soybeans, aside from treating loopers 2 or 3 years ago in selected fields. But I’ve never seen worm pressure like we’re running into this year.
“We’re even treating worms in peanuts, which I never thought I’d do. The state’s threshold is 4 per foot and 15% damage. Some of our peanuts easily exceeded that.”
Tucker Miller, Ind. Consultant, Drew, Mississippi
“It rained 2 inches off and on last week across a lot of our area. In places today (8/14) it rained 4 to 6 inches. In our oldest cotton – planted in April – we’re starting to see a little boll rot. I came across a few open bolls about a week ago in cotton planted on April 11.
“We’ve been fairly fortunate with insects. We had that round with bollworms 3 or 4 weeks ago and have anticipated a second round any time now. I have picked up eggs in several places in both the northern and southern end of the area I work, but in other places I’m not finding any.
“We’re lining up our second shot of diamide materials in certain fields. On the other hand, some cotton hasn’t been sprayed in 10 days and I can’t find anything in it. In places, though, plant bugs are starting to creep into the tops. Where we’re finding eggs, it’s mostly just a few dribbling in here and there, nothing major. On some cotton, I did find 25% eggs and they were all on bloom tags. But in another spot, I hardly found any.
“Corn harvest has started and early yield reports have been good. Depending on the area, it’s running 215 to 230 bu/acre.
“We’ve sprayed all of our soybeans for redbanded stink bugs (RBSB). We didn’t have a full threshold for RBSB but had counts of other stink bugs with them. It hasn’t been necessary to spray since then. My main concern in beans has been sprouting in the pod, considering all the rain. A big part of our crop is at R6.5 or better.”
Gary Wolfe, La-Ark Agricultural Consulting, Ida, Louisiana
“We’ve had plenty of rain. I started seeing open bolls around July 25 in cotton planted on March 30. Those bolls have pretty much rotted since then. The older cotton is taking a lick. Cotton is tall in places, with disease and heavy shed on a lot of it. Even with all that, the crop still looks good.
“We had a pretty good run of moths and worms, but that’s tailed off. Lately, things have been reasonably quiet. We are seeing some plant bug migration. I finally decided this year to try Diamond and it’s been kind of a miracle product for us. I’ve been in a 1,200-acre block for the last hour and have seen only a couple of immatures and have just found the first adult in it.
“Growers haven’t gotten into corn harvest yet, so we’ll see what happens with plant bugs then. A lot of plant bugs fly out to pigweed and hold up there, then move back and forth into cotton. So, a lot of this still has to do with location. But with the Diamond, we’re at least not raising as many in the field and I haven’t had any runaway situations where I had to call the farmer and say, ‘Start spraying as quick as you can.’
“We’re not too far from being done but we have another generation of moths in the field now (8/14). We had that bigger run of moths earlier and dealt with worms across all the Bt.
“One thing that was different this year was that the bollworm moths operated more like budworm moths. Instead of laying eggs as much down in the plant, they laid them in the top. So, the worm would hit multiple pieces of fruit as it moved down the plant.
“We had high numbers of bollworms in Bt corn, so a lot of resistance built there, maybe. But I don’t think that’s the whole story. When Bt cotton is stressed, it doesn’t express the Bt as well as it should. People always think of drought stress in that context. But plenty of cotton this year was stressed by saturated soils over an extended period. I’m wondering if that didn’t lead to less expression, which would have contributed to more escapes.
“Growers had just started harvesting corn before this rain set in. I don’t think it’s rained today, but it’s been awful up to now. In soybeans, we sprayed a variety of worms with some stink bugs in the mix, too. That was mostly last week.”
Zach Ingrum, Sanders, Inc., Athens, Alabama
“We’re over-spraying a little of the Bt cotton for worms, mainly in pockets. We’ve picked up about 8% worms in some Bollgard 2. We always expect to spray at least a little in WideStrike, but this year we’re maybe doing a bit more of that than usual.
“Also, we’re cleaning up a few plant bugs and aphids. Spider mites have pretty much disappeared. It’s raining right now (mid-afternoon, 8/14) and we’ve gotten about an inch today, I think. I’ll bet it rained 6 inches at my house last week, and it sounds like a little more than that fell in places. However, amounts were light in other locations and some people would have liked to have had more.
“Usually by now I would expect to have found an open boll but haven’t seen one yet. Corn harvest hasn’t started. Our earliest planted soybeans are at R7 or a bit later, and they’re starting to drop leaves.”
Richard Griffing, Griffing Consulting, LLC, Monterey, Louisiana
“We’re at late bloom to cutout, with bolls starting to open pretty good. We would just as soon the bolls held off a bit since we’re finding a lot of boll rot now.
“The rain continues to keep us from applying anything. The flying services are backed up. Some single-pilot operations have 16,000 to 20,000 acres on the books now (8/14). Plus, there’s some risk in applying anything, as much as it’s been raining. You might get 1 to 4 hours before rain washes off the application.
“Some of our fields should have been sprayed 10 to 14 days ago, so we’re in a desperate situation. The rain has varied greatly, from as little as 1.5 inches to as much as 8 inches. But it’s raining every day, so even small amounts put you farther behind. At my home, it’s probably rained 5.5 inches in the last 7 days and it’s raining a little right now.
“Spider mites are almost not an issue. Boll worms have been out there, but it’s been 10 days since the last spray, so there’s probably no point in treating them now. Mainly, we’re just trying to keep a lid on plant bugs. Bacterial blight and target spot have built and it’s not a pretty situation.
“A lot of people are finished with corn harvest and probably 75% of the crop has been cut. Yields have been excellent. But with the rain, nobody has run a combine in 10 days in my immediate area. If the weather had been normal, we would have already applied desiccants on 80% of the soybeans or at least had treatments lined up. As it is, we’re only at 20%.”
Sebe Brown, Northeast Louisiana Region Extension Entomologist
“We’re still wet. Over the weekend (8/12-13) drier conditions developed but then it rained again early in the week. This is the wrong time of the year to have rain every day.
“In cotton, a few lingering bollworms are present in later fields and scattered sprays are going out. A lot of guys are trying to finish any last sprays in the earlier cotton. With some of the odd weather lately, cotton is throwing a lot of fruit. We do have small bolls in the top of some cotton and hopefully they will stick.
“We need to be realistic about what we can afford to carry to harvest and at what point we need to back away. That’s especially the case with potential for more rainy weather. Stretching out this crop for the sake of a few bolls on top puts you at risk of losing bolls that are already made in the bottom and middle.
“We need to avoid a repeat of that situation last year with boll rot and sprouting. Having ‘buggy whips’ in the top isn’t the worst thing that can happen.
“In soybeans, I’m getting a lot of calls regarding redbanded stink bugs. These are situations where beans are ready for desiccation or have been sprayed with a harvest aid but now a new flush of RBSB is coming into the field.
“In a normal year – meaning a much drier year – we could harvest much sooner. But in this kind of wet year when combines can’t run, soybeans will have to wait in the field longer. That exposes them to prolonged RBSB damage if left untreated.
“Typically, we recommend that farmers tankmix a pound of acephate with the Gramoxone in conditions like these. If you don’t address RBSB and harvest is delayed 10 days or more, you could end up carrying a lot of damaged beans to the elevator.
“That damage can be further compounded ahead of harvest by wet, humid conditions. You’ll suffer some weather-related damage, anyway, but RBSB feeding makes the seed more vulnerable to pathogens, which further degrade quality.”
Arkansas Cotton: Latest Possible Cutout Date and Termination Guidelines 8-16
Mississippi Cotton: Foliar Diseases Don’t Warrant a Fungicide 8-16
AgFax Southwest Cotton: Rain Keeps Coming; August Hailstorm No Good 8-16
Dicamba: Midwest Has Doubled Injury Reports and They Just Keep Coming 8-15
Cotton Outlook: U.S. Cotton Textile and Apparel Trade Unchanged in 2017 8-15
Cottonseed Proposal, FY18: Details You Need to Know About Generic Base 8-15
Thompson on Cotton: USDA Sucker Punches Market 8-15
Tennessee Cotton: Deciding to Treat Late Season Spider Mites 8-11
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