Texas LRGV Cotton and Grain: Plenty of Pests Already Moving In

Fleahopper on cotton leaf.

According to the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication program, 200,143.5 acres of cotton were planted and are growing in the Lower Rio Grande Valley this year, which is awesome. That is the biggest planting I have seen since I started my career as ya’ll’s IPM agent in 2013, and I am just very happy and grateful to be a part of it.

I would like everyone to be aware that we did receive approval for a Section 18 for use of Transform in cotton for control of plant bugs; this section 18 expires October 31, 2017. The Section 18 label for Transform in cotton is attached.

When using Transform to control plant bugs, a rate per application allows for 1.5-2.25 oz/acre, with no more than a total of 8.5 oz/acre per year to be used. Remember to Not apply within 14 days of harvest and do not make applications less than 5 days apart. Also do not make more than two consecutive applications per crop.

Cotton is squaring nicely with reports of an increase in fleahopper infestation levels in the field. Most areas have low to moderate fleahopper activity of about 10% to 20% infestation levels. Mainly, fleahopper adults are being seen right now in the cotton and a few nymphs. A handful of fields are being sprayed for them. However, populations could increase rapidly so monitor your cotton that is squaring right now for fleahoppers to avoid having blasted squares.

Reports also are being made about cotton being sprayed for significant populations of red spider mites that had significant populations. Spider mites have been numerous in some fields but overall have remained in low numbers in most cotton fields across the valley.

Cotton aphid populations have crashed significantly with most fields just having a few aphids and plenty of beneficials taking care of the aphid problem now. We have been and still are finding adult white flies in the mid valley, but have not seen any nymphs yet.

We are starting to pick up on a few tarnished plant bugs in the cotton so we will want to keep an eye on their populations especially once a few grain sorghum fields start being harvested so we will be prepared to protect the small immature bolls. Let’s keep an eye out for stinkbugs as well as Verde bugs since a couple have already been spotted in some isolated areas.

Grain Sorghum

Good news…we have seen a significant drop in sugarcane aphid numbers and populations have been below threshold. A few headworms are being seen in sorghum along the coast but mainly large moth populations are being seen as of now. There have also been high rice stinkbug populations in sorghum in Willacy County. Most sorghum fields are in the soft dough stage or are already putting on color and seed hardening.

There will be a Grain Sorghum and Corn Field Day at Rio Farms on Tuesday, May 23. We will be checking out how the hybrids from all the seed companies look in the field trials. There will also be a feed grains market update, insect update and other pertinent topics. Come join us!!

TDA continuing education credits will be offered.




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