Cotton – Southwest – Crop in All Stages | Pigweed Has Arrived – AgFax

    Cotton planting in Texas Concho Valley. Photo: Haley Kennedy, TexasAgrilLife IPM agent


    Larry Stalcup, Field Editor

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



    Palmer Amaranth a.k.a. the infamous pigweed is looming large on the South Plains. That resistant weed just loves all this moisture.  

    The tropical “disturbance” brewing in the Gulf has coastal areas worried as it drifts northward.

    What to plant when it’s too late for cotton is a big concern for many growers, especially those who were planning their first year in cotton.

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    Mark Nemec, MJN Consulting, Waco, Texas:

    “We finally got most of the cotton planted in this part of the Blacklands. There are still wet fields guys can’t get into.

    “Cotton that’s planted is coming up really fast. The early crop is at the 7- to 9-leaf stage and starting to put on pinhead squares. Swarms of fleahoppers are trying to take those squares off as quickly as they can. Spraying is a no-brainer with at least 1 fleahopper per plant. They’ve just been waiting in the ditch for cotton to get big enough. There are also a few spotty aphids, but nothing major.

    “Weeds have been the biggest battle. We plowed some fields before planting. On others we applied a burndown and got decent control. We had to go with Roundup and Aim or Gramoxone just to burn it down. We’re having to come back quicker than we wanted with over-the-top applications of residuals and dicamba.

    “Some corn fields look good while others are really bad. Corn on heavy clay soil is more yellow. Corn that’s on higher ground or sloped fields is doing well.

    “I found my first colony of sugarcane aphids on grain sorghum.”

    Heath Sanders, Oklahoma State University Area Agronomist, Duncan:

    “A lot of producers were able to get in and get planted in a timely fashion, but then it turned around and rained again.

    “Right now, they are checking fields and evaluating stands, plus figuring if they need to replant or if the stands are good enough to make it work. I am hearing of more stands in the not-so-good range.

    “Most of the irrigated fields got planted. They have until June 10 for insurance. Dryland guys are still planting since they have until June 20.

    “Nothing is ideal. The next 2 weeks are huge. We really need the weather to cooperate. There are just a lot of variables with this crop. It’s hard to get anything done when you only have a day or two before it rains again.” 

    Peter Dotray, Texas Tech University Weed Scientist (joint appointment with Texas A&M AgriLife), Lubbock:

    “We’ve had too much rain, but it hasn’t been uniform. There are areas that got 1 inch, while others got 6 inches. Replants are the top priority right now.

    “There are lots of weed flushes. The residual herbicides worked pretty well. But now guys need to be timelier with their foliar applications. Liberty, Staple, Dicamba or 2, 4-d need to be applied when weeds are less than 4 inches tall.

    “Even when residuals have been applied preemerge, we’re seeing breaks. There are big emergences of Palmer Amaranth and other summer weeds. In a post-emerge herbicide program, it’s also a good practice to add a residual along with the primary technology being used. It can be tank mixed or applied in a sequential manner. Just remember that unless we have a residual in place, the next flush of weeds will come quickly.”

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    Chris Locke, CSL Consulting Inc., Sudan, Texas/Eastern New Mexico:

    “Because of weather extremes at both ends, we don’t have much going on.

    “A lot of cotton won’t get planted. Some guys replanted irrigated right up to the insurance planting deadline. For those who couldn’t get into the field, they are done planting cotton for this year. A little bit of irrigated is up, but it’s spotty. We hope to get more up with better weather. Overall, it’s going to be a late start for everyone on the cotton side.

    “A lot of growers who won’t get cotton planted are wondering what to do. Guys with irrigation water will go to corn. We could also see growers with good soil moisture go with dryland corn.

    “Planting milo is a tough decision because they don’t want to spend a lot of money spraying for sugarcane aphid. SCA populations have exploded on some acres that were in haygrazer and not watched closely last year.

    “Our wheat looks fairly decent. Not much irrigated wheat is being cut and will go to hay, while some dryland cut for seed is making 20 to 25 bushels per acre.”

    Mike McHugh, Southwest Texas Ag Consultants, Uvalde, Texas:

    “We’re finally getting good growing weather after a cool spring. We’re catching up. We haven’t had that much rain recently, just scattered showers the last 10 days.

    “Cotton looks good. The early crop is getting its first bloom. Most of it is at the third grown square. Pix is going out on earlier planted corn.

    “Insect-wise, fleahoppers have been heavier than usual. We’ve sprayed with either Centric or Transform. Aphids are building up. We’re running Transform to control them. Weed control is good. We have most everything laid by with Dual and some Prowl.

    “Corn looks good and is starting to dry down. We’re maybe a month out from our first harvest. Growers will probably shut off irrigation water in 2 weeks.”

    Robert Flynn, New Mexico State University Extension Soils/Agronomist, Artesia:

    “We finally received a good rain, so late planted cotton is going in. Earlier planted cotton is about 3 nodes in height. The mild weather is good for the crop, but we’re forecast for 100 degrees this weekend.

    “I haven’t seen any insect situations. High winds may have whipped them around. Weeds aren’t much of a concern in later planted cotton. But there are still a few weed problems in the early planted crop.” 

    Cody Noggler, Crop Quest Consulting, Northwestern Texas Panhandle:

    “I’m looking at cotton in the Dumas to Vega area and it’s pretty dang muddy. Cotton is slow, but it’s going. Most of it was planted during breaks from storms. Plants that are up are in the 1- to 2-leaf stage.

    “We’ve had a big problem with crusting. It just keeps raining, so you can’t do anything about it. We couldn’t get in there to break it up with a rotary hoe.

    “We saw thrips damage today (6/3) so we’re starting to spray. So far weeds are under control, but we’re putting down another residual to kill the weeds that are out there. If we wait any longer, we could have a mess if can’t get into the fields fast enough.”

    Rex Friesen, Southern Kansas Cotton Growers Co-op, Winfield:

    “We’ve finally had a few good planting days and lots of seed is going in the ground. It’s 84 degrees today (6/3) and the heat is intense. The June 1 planting deadline for full insurance coverage hasn’t stopped a lot of people.

    “It’s too soon to know how much has been planted, but it’s a lot more than last week. We had expected a huge increase in acres, but with this weather, it’s anyone’s guess. I would say we’re having a pretty major reduction from what we were expecting.

    “There is a fair amount of cotton up. Quite a bit was planted the week of May 13 when we had warm dry weather. Replanting will be needed where storms came in late May. Burndowns have just been applied in the last few days. There are guys who will plant into weeds and try to kill them after planting.

    “For those who can’t get cotton in, they will probably switch to soybeans. Others are taking prevented planting in the farm program. It’s a broad mix. A lot of people were going to plant cotton for the first time. This weather has spoiled those efforts.”

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

    “We got another round of showers in Lubbock last night (6/2). Planters ran for several days and guys made good progress until it started raining again. A lot of areas got good moisture.

    “Last week there was plenty of replanting. Plenty of cotton was up, but either was hailed out or hurt by blowing sand. I know there was hail damage in Hockley County.

    “Overall, fields are pretty clean. But guys need to watch out for weeds, which are very small at this point. We need to be on top of those acres.”

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    Kate Harrell, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Jackson, Wharton & Matagorda Counties:

    “We’re hoping that hurricane season doesn’t yield its first storm for us. We’re all wondering what impact we’ll see from that tropical thing (unnamed as of 6/4) in the Gulf.

    “Meanwhile, cotton should be blooming in Jackson and Wharton counties in the next week or two. Otherwise, I haven’t seen a whole lot going on. Fleahopper populations have crashed for the most part, but we’re still monitoring fields. We’re getting ready to watch closely for bollworms and stink bugs.

    “Weed control has improved. It has been drier, and guys have been able to get in the field.

    “Corn is looking pretty good. Ears are filling out. There are some earworm situations, which is normal for us. I’ve seen a few sugarcane aphids in sorghum.” 

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

    “After being out of the country a few weeks, I was really surprised to see how young everything is and how slow cotton has been progressing. The stuff I looked at is still in the 2- to 3-leaf stage, which is about 85% of the cotton planted. It’s a combination of cool temperatures and late planting. Out west, I figure we are close to early bloom in the Yuma area where the crop was planted the first part of March.

    “We’ve seen a lot of injury from the striped flea beetle. There is also isolated false chinch bug injury. That insect overwinters on annuals and goes to the edges of fields.

    “I’m not seeing any disease. Even though cotton is small, it looks fairly healthy.

    “There’s not much of an issue with weeds.”

    John David Gonzales, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension IPM Agent, Bailey, Parmer & Castro Counties:

    “Cotton is hit and miss across these 3 counties. There are beautiful stands of cotton and then there are places where guys can’t get cotton up. Timely rains helped emergence in several places, while others were really dry.

    “We shot ourselves in the foot when we tried to get cotton in early. Cold and rainy weather in early May really hurt. Bailey County has fields at the 1-to 2-true leaf stage. In Castro County, there is cotton still at cotyledon.

    “I scouted for thrips yesterday (6/3) and picked up some adults. Most guys have seed treatment, which should play out in the next week or two. At that point, they may need to make applications for thrips.

    “Weeds are also spotty. Whether it was because of a cover crop or conventional tillage, guys who made it a priority to start clean are looking good. I’m impressed with no-till fields. Their weed suppression is phenomenal. If they started with a good residual, it is holding up.”

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