Texas West Plains Cotton: Keep Scouting for Aphids

Aphid on cotton leaf.

For some, August has brought some rain showers which have helped tremendously. While others have received nary a drop. So this patch-work of wet and dry has made it difficult to say with certainty “this is what I would recommend”, especially on irrigation. Fortunately the heat has continued to drive the cotton to an end.

Most fields are bolled to the top, and have accumulated a sufficient amount of heat units (400) since 5 nodes above white flower (~August 5th) to make cotton safe from a majority of insect pests.

However, and there is always a “however”, cotton aphids continue to expand their territory. Cotton aphids can be seen in spots or along field margins. Most of these colonies have good beneficial insect activity.

Keep close watch on these aphids. Check leaves from various parts of the field. Look at 50 leaves, first fully expanded leaf near top of plant, and 50 leaves near the middle of the plant. Average all the aphids you find. At this point we are still using 40-70 aphids per leaf as the threshold. Once we have open cotton then that threshold is lowered to near 10 per leaf. Here is the aphid guide.

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In peanuts we continue to closely monitor foliage diseases and pod health. Those fields treated with a good fungicide before August 10th are still relatively clean where we have managed irrigation around rains and limited a constant moist environment. Try to keep peanuts freshened up on a regular basis. A 0.5 – 1” irrigation on a weekly basis should be sufficient to prevent severe wilt to maintain vine health till harvest.

Grain sorghum acres are all over the board on stage of maturity. You should be at least well into boot in order to have time to fully mature. Those fields which are past flowering and into soft dough should monitor headworms. It has mostly been the corn earworm larvae we are seeing. I have only seen a few small colonies of sugarcane aphids in Lamb and Cochran counties. Continue to scout frequently and treat when necessary.


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