Texas West Plains: Aphids in Cotton; Sugarcane Aphids in Sorghum

Late planted sorghum leaves covered by honeydew from feeding sugarcane aphid. Photo: Texas Sugarcane Aphid News, Texas AgriLife Extension

Current Crop and Pest Situation

Grain sorghum ranges from nearing harvest on early planted to just near boot. Those acres which have not headed yet I would be extremely conservative on what I spend on those acres. It will be cutting it close to have time to mature out.

I feel fairly confident in those acres which are at or very near flowering that they have time and worth protecting from sugarcane aphids and possibly headworms. I sure wish we would get another rain though, and soon. The last rain events seem like they were so long ago now.

So sugarcane aphids (SCA) have really become the dominate pest of concern this last 7-10 days. Most of the eastern 2/3 of Hockley county and Lamb county grain sorghum fields are infested and many of those have treatable levels. As you move west it becomes a bit more hit or miss.

However, most fields have SCA present, albeit in low numbers. They are primed to increase to treatable levels in near future. YOU MUST SCOUT!

Those fields which are post-flowering need to also be scouted for headworms.

The cotton crop is safe from most all insect pests at this time, other than cotton aphids. We do still have cotton aphids parked out in many, if not all cotton fields. Aphid numbers have not warranted treatment here of late. Keep close watch though as we begin to have open bolls. The threshold goes to 10 per leaf then.

Verticillium wilt has become more pronounced the past couple of weeks. Make note of those fields which have vert wilt and choose a variety which will be more tolerant next year. Now is still an excellent time to sample the soil for cotton root-knot nematode infestation. This will help determine level of management you will need to use next year. Cotton harvest is fast approaching. Here is the link to the updated guide.

The question about irrigation has been asked quite often the last few days with this dry fairly warm weather. Who would have thought with those 2-5” rains we received a few weeks ago would play out this quickly.

So the rule of thumb I go by is that a boll should remain fairly stress free the first 20 days of development. So last boll formed on August 20th, it needs to stay stress free up till September 9th. Today! After this point it can wilt as long as it recovers before the next morning.

With the forecast for dry and warm for at least the next couple of weeks I might consider giving quick 1” irrigation to cotton or any other crop under similar stress.

In peanuts I am not concerned now with foliage feeders or other insect pests. The incidence of foliar disease has been very low the past two weeks. With the forecast for dry and warm weather I am not too concerned about disease unless it changes drastically.

The goal now is to maintain vine health and keep pods maturing out. I think we are still 20 days out if not 30 from trying to dig any peanuts. I hope to water blast some pods and chart them in the next week or two. Irrigate only as needed to keep peanuts fresh until dug with little stress.

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