AgFax Southwest Editor
Debra L. Ferguson, AgFax Media Managing Editor
Owen Taylor, AgFax Editorial Director
Welcome to this week's issue of AgFax Southwest Cotton, sponsored by the Southwest field staff of FMC Corporation.
Large bollworm and fall armyworm moth flights seen in the southern Panhandle. “But bollworms seem to be going toward corn and grain sorghum and not cotton. We hope it stays that way,” says Blayne Reed, Texas A&M IPM Agent, Hale and Swisher Counties.
Insect pressure remains calm in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Kansas cotton areas. Some aphid hot spots are being monitored, however, in the Concho Valley. And minor stink bug and Lygus bug infestations have been treated in the Blacklands.
Defoliating continues in the Upper Coast and is just beginning in the Brazos River Bottom.
Critical plant growth regulator applications are being made where summer rains are promoting excessive vegetation in the South Plains, southern Kansas and other areas.
Late cotton has many hoping for a warm fall that will promote heat units. However, despite a cool May, for cotton planted May 1, heat units are above normal over much of the South Plains.
Resistant pigweed escapes are emerging above cotton canopies and should be controlled to prevent further problems in 2014. Resistance issues have been light in the Concho Valley, where farmers “didn’t get away from their residual herbicide programs,” notes Charles Allen, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Coordinator.
USDA’s Farm Service Agency’s preliminary report last week showed a 47% abandonment rate for Texas High Plains cotton acres. Of 3.69 million acres planted, 1.96 remain standing. FSA says High Plains cotton growers certified 1.369 million acres as irrigated and 2.3 million as dryland, making the split 37% irrigated and 63% dryland, a higher than expected reduction in total irrigated acreage, according to Plains Cotton Growers, Inc.
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Bushland Research Station, 75th Anniversary Field Day, Amarillo, August 29
Gaines County Ag Tour, Peanut and Cotton, August 29
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Glenn Aubrey, Aubrey’s Farm & Ranch Consulting, Paris, Texas: “There has been some concern about plant bugs because of all the corn being shelled. But my growers have seen none in cotton. Our bolls are in the golf ball range. And even though surface moisture is dry as a bone, you get down 6 inches and there’s still moisture. It looks like about an 800-900 pound crop. We’ll take that this year.”
John Idowu, NMSU Extension Cotton Specialist, Las Cruces: “Our cotton is looking good. Most farmers will be applying their final irrigations toward the end of August. It won’t benefit the plant after then. It will need to dry down.
“We’ve seen cutout early on some parts of fields with more sandy soils and where irrigation was short. All bolls are open there. But in fields where irrigation has been normal, bolls are not yet open. We’re still 3-4 weeks away before we see that taking place.
Clyde Crumley, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Wharton County and Upper Coast: “Harvest has just started but I’m not sure how much we’ve picked. We’re trying to get defoliants out, then determine which defoliation programs work best. What works one year with defoliants may not work the next. We’re evaluating more defoliant programs this week.
“I think the crop is still in the 2-bale range – and I’m pleased to make 2 bales. We had that cool spring. This year, there was more replanting than I’ve seen in the 6 years I’ve been here. We were behind on heat units most of the year. But all things considered, a couple of things worked our way. We had favorable rains and didn’t face heavy insect pressure. We were very fortunate.
“Our corn yielded about 110 bushels per acre, a little above normal. Milo is in the 5,000 pounds or better range. We’re evaluating different corn, sorghum and cotton varieties so we can get the word out to growers on which ones are working best for our area.
“We’re watching the Gulf very closely for tropical storms: anything that can head our way and hurt our production.”
DeWayne Dopslauf, Crop Production Services, Wharton, Texas: “We started defoliating last Thursday and Friday. It’s a little early yet to know how well it’s doing. But cotton sure looks better than I thought it would. We’re still a little late. Normally we’d like to be picking by now. But it’s not too far out of whack.”
Randy Boman, OSU Cotton Research Director, Cotton Extension Program Leader, Altus: “We had a pretty good week, but temperatures were a little cooler than normal in areas up toward I-40. There’s some concern, especially with the irrigated stuff, on whether some of the later cotton up there will finish. We’re rapidly hitting our last effective bloom date in a lot of areas. We’re going to need a good fall for late-planted cotton near Carnegie, Hydro and Ft. Cobb.
“While areas northwest of Altus may have a decent dryland crop, the Tillman County area further south has dryland cotton that continues to struggle due to lack of rainfall. It’s cutting out at 2 NAWF. But the irrigated out there is moving along and we should see some good yields. It’s at 5-7 NAWF and banging on all 8 cylinders.
“We found a few stink bugs, but nothing to approach any kind of threshold pressure. Since we’ve seen so much drought the past few years, irrigation well yields have trailed off some. We are taking some well surveys to check the recharge process.”
Gaylon Morgan, Texas A&M AgriLife State Cotton Specialist, College Station: “The first cotton has been hauled to the gin in part of the Blacklands, Brazos Bottom area. It is dryland. It will be another week before we start seeing some irrigated cotton harvested in that region. The Upper Coast is also progressing quickly.
“The Rolling Plains crop still looks good. The majority of it is far enough along to make a good crop. But some of the late-planted cotton needs to see a good fall to take it to finish. They are pretty good on moisture, but the last effective bloom date in that area is within the next 4-5 days.
“I’m seeing a lot more pigweed starting to pop through the canopy on irrigated cotton. Some fields are pretty messy around here. The weeds are more than likely resistant. There’s also a lot of pigweed in harvested corn and sorghum fields. Farmers need to make an effort to take care of those weeds before they produce any more seed.”
Mark Kelley, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Cotton Specialist, Lubbock: “There was some more hail damage in Hale County last week, with reports of up to 20,000 acres of all crops damaged. But we also had another round of good showers, 2-inches plus in some areas. Slaton had 3 inches.
“With these rains, if growers have a light fruit load, they want to consider a Pix application when things dry out. Don’t let those plants get too growthy. We’ve seen some plants lose small squares at the top. But it’s not real alarming because it’s just the plant shedding the smaller stuff so it can mature out older bolls.
“Our forecast calls for above average temperatures the next three months. That’s good news for us. We’re still a little ahead on heat units. For cotton planted May 7 in Lubbock County, we are 164 heat units ahead of normal.
“Reports of high abandoned acres were disappointing. But our normal abandonment has been about 25% the past 10 years. But that can be misleading. There were two extreme years, only 4-5% in 2010 then 66% in 2011.”
Blayne Reed, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Hale and Swisher Counties: “We had a substantial amount of cotton beat up pretty bad by hail last Wednesday night (8-14). The storm went through southwestern Hale County. Aside from the hail damage, we have some good cotton out here.
“I checked some fields near Edmonson on Saturday (8-17) and it already had about 1,200 pounds of yield on it, and we still have several days of growth to go.
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“We still have some Lygus bugs in a spot or two. And there’s been a large bollworm and fall armyworm moth flight. But bollworms seem to be going toward corn and grain sorghum, not cotton. We hope it stays that way. Some later corn has about 15 bollworm eggs per plant. That shouldn’t be a major problem.”
J.W. Wagner, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent, Yoakum County: “We’ve really had good rainfall over the summer. Yoakum County has had 9.5 inches of rain this year. We received 4.5 inches of it in July.
“Some of our earlier irrigated cotton is at cutout. Depending on planting date, we’re from 3-5 NAWF. Our dryland is hanging in there. We’ve had enough showers for the crop. It just depends on what the fall weather gives us.
“Insects remain relatively quiet. The only bollworm pressure we’ve seen was where growers didn’t use Bt technology packages with their seed.”
Charles Allen, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Coordinator, San Angelo: “The crop continues to look good in the Concho Valley region. We made a good run from the rain we had in July. We haven’t started shedding a whole lot. It is progressing nicely.
“We’ve had some aphid spots that are still hanging in there after 3 weeks. I thought beneficials would wipe them out. But they’re still not very bad.
“There haven’t been a lot of weed issues. Maybe that’s because these guys didn’t get away from their residual herbicide programs.”
Mark Nemec, MJN Consulting, Waco, Texas: “We’re winding down in a hurry. The dryland is popping open pretty quick. In another 7-10 days we’ll be putting on a lot of defoliant. We’re just finishing up with our water on the irrigated. It is starting to pop open, too.
“It would have been nice to have had one more rain in June, but you take what you get. Bug pressure has been light. We had to treat a couple of fields for stink bugs last week, but other than that, we’re wrapping it up.
“Weed pressure has remained light, but there are a few weeds sticking through plants on the Brazos River Bottom. But some fields will definitely have problems next year – because I’m seeing some resistance problems.”
Tom Studnicka, Studnicka Consulting, Belle Plaine, Kansas: “It finally decided to quit raining. Because of the rains we had, we’re struggling to get enough plant growth regulators down. We’ve been in the 90s with no rain for several days and that’s just what we need to get this cotton finished. We expect cutout by Sept. 10 and by Sept. 15 at the latest.
“Most cotton is now at 4-5 NAWF. If it stays warmer, we can probably get it finished out. There isn’t much insect pressure and we’ve gotten the weeds taken care of, other than resistant ones. Those resistant pigweeds will cause a little problem at harvest. They aren’t a major disaster, but some guys will have to be out in front of the harvester chopping them down.
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