Cotton – Southwest – Juggling Herbicides | Dodging Texas-Size Hail – AgFax


Larry Stalcup, Field Editor

Many thanks to the PhytoGen Cotton Team for their continued support and sponsorship.



The National Weather Service took note of Chuck Wilbur’s photo (see below) of a 5.5-inch hail stone.

Weather issues continue as more rains, hailstorms and tornadoes intensify early season conditions. Some areas have had as much as 30 inches of rain already.

Growers are juggling herbicide treatments as heavy weed pressure increases.

Insects remain light but some preventative treatments are going out to protect against thrips, leafhoppers or other early outbreaks.

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Tom Studnicka, Studnicka Consulting, Belle Plaine, Kansas:

“It’s still not good up here. We had a small open window and got some cotton planted earlier this month. But those fields have had 5 to 10 inches of rain since then, and some guys have had 30 inches of rain this spring. A lot will have to be replanted quickly if it ever dries out. Our planting deadline for full insurance coverage is June 1. We’ll probably push planting to June 10 to receive partial coverage.

“Unfortunately, a lot of guys likely will have to come back with soybeans because of the continued wet weather. Acres intended for cotton could also wind up planted in milo.

“Corn is also hurting. It’s very slow to grow. Much has been hit by hail and we’ve lost our fertilizer. We’ll have to apply more supplemental nutrients.

“We were able to get some herbicides applied in a small window of good weather. We got caught up with the winter annual weeds. But with the rain, here comes the pigweed and other summer annuals. We’ll have to spray the fields again. It’s pretty much a mess right now.”

Paul Pilsner, Pilsner Consulting, Wharton, Texas:

“Things are looking a little better. There’s cotton that is just coming up and some that’s up to 12 nodes in growth. Most is in the 6- to 8-node range. It’s squaring up good and we should see blooms within the next week.

“Insects are very light. There’s hardly any pressure. But ditch banks are starting to dry down, so we expect to see more bug populations.

“While insects are light, weeds are very heavy. We’re only able to spray for 2 to 3 hours in the morning when winds are calm. Last Friday (5/24) was the first time we were able to spray any auxin herbicides.

“We’re running our Liberty applications with 20 gallons of water. The new technologies are allowing us to add more things to Liberty. We’re running some ammonium sulfate. Enlist varieties handle it very well. Extend also holds up pretty good.”

Randy Norton, University of Arizona Extension Cotton Specialist, Safford:

“Cotton in Eastern Arizona looks pretty good. The oldest stuff is at 4 to 5 nodes, but some is still coming out of the ground. Central Arizona is similar and we’re seeing some squaring.

“We’ve had a lot of cool temperatures. It was only 81 in Phoenix yesterday (5/27). But it’s getting warm this week. We’ve seen some insect pressure from chinch bugs. A few aphids are being seen here and there.”

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Tim Ballinger, Ballinger Innovative Agronomics, Dumas, Texas:

“Cotton is rough. The majority is anywhere from emerging to just now developing a first true leaf. But it’s not all up because it never got the warm soil temperatures we needed. Now I’ll have to step out and take care of potential leafhoppers and thrips with emergency insecticide sprays. We need to protect that first true leaf and keep the cotton coming on.

“The Dumas area has had 6.37” of rain since around May 1 with cool weather that really hurt the early crop. Some cotton planted in early May is just now at cotyledon after 26 days in the ground.  

“The rain has helped our wheat, which has really taken on the moisture in its late season growth.

“Corn is shorter than normal after the cold, wet conditions. The furthest along is at 6 to-7-leaf and is 6 inches tall. But it’s really enjoying the sunlight today (5/27). Fields are clean because we had a good burndown.”

Seth Byrd, Oklahoma State University Extension Cotton Specialist, Stillwater/Altus:

“We had more rain throughout much of the production area, so not much was planted last week. Some places may have gotten planted Thursday (5/23) or Friday. But with all this rain, we still have a lot left to be planted. The irrigated insurance deadline is June 10 and dryland deadline is June 20th.

“Some of the cotton planted a few weeks ago is up. In the Panhandle, it is slow to emerge. After these last storms, everything has just come to a drag. It’s a test of patience.

“We basically have to reset everything and see what needs to be done – fighting weeds, insects, planting or watching the radar for more tornadoes.”

Chuck Wilbur, Independent Crop Consultant, Wellington, Texas/Southeastern Panhandle/Southwestern Oklahoma:

“So far, we’ve weathered the string of storms, although we went through some huge hail. One hailstone was 5.5 inches. I sent a picture to the National Weather Service. They said it might be the third largest hailstone ever for Texas.

“Nearly all cotton has received some pecking from hail. Fortunately, there’s a lot of irrigated cotton that’s up. But it has been setting there with its feet wet for a week. I could see some Rhizoctonia pressure. Some of the early cotton planted the first week of May is really struggling due to the cool, wet weather we’ve had. It just needs some sun and to get away from that rhizoc.


Chuck Wilbur, Independent Crop Consultant, took this 5.5-inch hail stone captive on  May 20 near Wellington, Texas. We really appreciate him sharing it with us. 

“We’re not seeing any thrips or other insects yet. It’s still too early. Seed treatments are likely active in the plants, but we could see something in the next week to 10 days. I just want this crop to take off and get to the true-leaf stage.

“We had some marestail escape early herbicide applications after all of the rain. But we hit it with paraquat and dicamba and received good control. So, we’re still starting clean.

“One of my customer’s peanuts are coming up nicely after being planted in a cover crop. But some conventional tilled peanuts washed out after a big rain.

“To make it worse, we’re also seeing some feral hog pressure. They’re digging up peanuts. It’s all part of a standard spring for this part of the country. But I wasn’t counting on replacing three hail-damaged windshields in our work trucks.”

Haley Kennedy, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension IPM Agent, Runnels, Tom Green & Concho Counties:

“We’re starting to plant cotton in the Concho Valley, but some people still have some pretty saturated fields. The weather has been crazy with all this moisture. More rain is forecast for the next few days.

“We had some issues with strong winds, which prevented some spray applications of preemerge herbicides. But for the most part, we are rolling. We have some of the best soil moisture we’ve seen in a while. That will be great for irrigated and dryland crops.

“Wheat harvest will start soon. Farmers need to be wary of thrips where wheat fields are close to cotton. Thrips will be waiting for cotton to come up. Sorghum and corn look good. They’re catching up from the extra soil moisture.”

Murilo Maeda, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Cotton Specialist, Lubbock:

“Many in the South Plains region have received 2-plus inches of rain since last week. It may be another day or two before most growers can get in the field. But some planters are rolling today (5/27) in areas south of Lubbock, where fields missed the big rains.

“Those who can, have been running sand fighters already to prevent blowing. Wind isn’t too bad but may pick up some by mid-week. There is some rain in the forecast late in the week, but we’ll have to wait and see what that does.

“I’ve been hearing about hail damage reports from last week’s storms and some fields may need replanting. Most of our trials that were up suffered from hail but may not need replanting.”

Kyle Aljoe, Crop Quest Consulting, Dimmitt, Texas :

“We had some tornado damage here Sunday (5/26). I have 3 quarter-mile sprinklers that were damaged. My cotton was out of that path, but I need to look at some corn to see how it managed.

“Most cotton is up or coming up. I’ll have to replant one field after a packing rain.

“Fortunately, we are getting some decent to good stands coming up after all the bad weather we’ve had. I’m not seeing any insect or weed problems.

“Our bigger corn is finally taking off after some small hail damage. But I just saw an alfalfa field that had 50 to 60% defoliation caused by hail. And I’m still having trouble getting wheatlage cut after all of the rain.”

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Wayne McAlister, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Portales, New Mexico:

“We were about 80% planted going into the weekend before heavy storms hit the region. The crop we have is probably average. Some fields looked okay and others had a lot of wind. We’ll know more about how it handled the storm in a day or two.

“Weed control is a little behind due to the weather. Insect-wise, we’re spraying for widespread thrips with average pressure. We’re just treating them and going on.

“Corn is in all stages. It’s slower to get going this year. Most of the wheat was taken for hay and forage, so not much is left for grain. Remaining wheat is drying down pretty fast, so we may see more insects looking for a home.”

Orlando Flores, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent, El Paso County:

“Things are actually look very good, considering this is a drought year for us. Cotton acres are down with the limitations we’re facing from the irrigation district. But what’s out there looks good. The Pima looks really good after some warm days. I have one upland trial and a Pima trial, and both look good.

“We also have a Pima and Upland research trial for our fusarium wilt FOV4 problem. There are some tolerant varieties, but that may not last forever. I hear California is having some variety tolerance issues. We need to be able to control that disease and not let it spread.”

Suhas Vyavhare, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Entomologist, Lubbock :

“There’s still not a whole lot of cotton up. Thrips aren’t yet an issue, but there’s some populations where cotton is in a stand. Heavy rains could have washed out some thrips populations.

“I’ve had a few calls on wireworms. That’s something we’ll be looking for in the next week. Guys need to look out for them since they can cause a need to replant.”

AgFax Southwest Cotton is published by AgFax Media LLC
Owen Taylor , Editorial Director.
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