Cotton – Midsouth – Hoping For Rain (But Not A Flood) – AgFax

    Owen Taylor, Editor
    Questions, comments, complaints? My door is always open.

    Here is this week’s issue of AgFax Midsouth Cotton, sponsored by
    the Midsouth Cotton Team of AMVAC Chemical Corporation.


    Rain began falling across parts of the Midsouth on Wednesday and more is expected. It’s generally needed after a long stretch of hot, dry weather. However, more rain now will compound the misery where rivers are out of their banks or backwater flooding pushed into fields. Depending on the area, the forecast says that several inches could fall between now and Sunday.

    More cotton is squaring, although that’s mostly still in the earlier fields.

    Cotton planting has likely wrapped up with maybe the exception of spot replanting and perhaps a few very late fields that went in this week.

    Insect treatments are being made in scattered cases. Thrips remain active in certain areas, although rain and better plant growth could neutralize their effect.



    Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee:

    “The forecast says we’ll get rain tomorrow afternoon (6/5), and we need it. I hope it’s widespread, although we could do without heavy, heavy amounts.

    “It’s too dry in places and we have people planting in front of the system, figuring the rain will bring up the cotton. Cotton that is up could use rain and corn definitely could.

    “The phone is beginning to ring a bit about thrips, and they showed up with a vengeance. They’re too late to affect the older cotton but they’ve caused a fair amount of injury on cotton planted just last week. The wheat was green last week but it’s stone brown now, and that change coincided very closely with how the thrips built.

    “I’m surprised at how much thrips dinged up cotton. It got a little cool at one point, so growth slowed as thrips turned up. Some fourth-leaf cotton doesn’t look pretty but I wouldn’t treat it at this point.

    “The most advanced cotton is at 7 nodes with pinhead squares. A little squaring was reported last week, but the majority of our cotton will probably begin squaring next week.

    “Wild hosts are drying down pretty fast, so we’ll see what that means in terms of plant bugs.”

    Richard Griffing, Griffing Consulting, LLC, Monterey, Louisiana:

    “We’re getting dry and would welcome 1 to 2 inches of rain from this system, which is supposed to come through on Wednesday and Thursday. However, the forecast says totals could run from 2 to 5 inches.

    “Our most advanced cotton is at matchhead square and we’re applying mepiquat chloride and spraying for plant bugs. On the other end of things, maybe the last cotton was planted 2 days ago.

    “I’d describe very few cotton fields as ‘pretty’ right now (6/3) but a lot of the crop is at least making the turn. We’re getting a lot done – applying fertilizer, cleaning up weeds – so growers are forging ahead and fields at least look better.

    “As far as I know, my clients are through planting cotton, including spot replanting and planting edges of fields. Even as dry as it is, growers along the levees are dealing with seep water. One 800-acre farm can’t be planted yet.

    “Our corn crop isn’t exactly what you’d call a ‘10’ this year due to the stress. All of it has tasseled or is into it now. We’re watering like crazy. I still think we can make a good crop but this won’t be a high-end year. Beans range from R3.5 to still being planted and a few more will be planted as flood water recedes. We started fungicides in places. Beans generally look fair.

    “Overall, this will be the latest crop in my 34-year career. It’s certainly the most spread out. I’m optimistic but also realize it will be a long season.”

    Larry Walker, Walker Cotton Technical Services, Flintville, Tennessee:

    “Our cotton ranges from emerging cotyledons to a lot at the fourth to sixth leaf and aggressively growing.

    “Although it’s been dry, we haven’t completely run out of moisture. A couple of growers were lucky enough to catch passing showers and that helped young cotton and corn. The forecast says we’ll get 2 to 3 inches of rain by Saturday night from a tropical low.


    “Where cotton is at 6 leaves, we should find blooms on it by the end of June if things stay on track.

    “Plenty of daisy fleabane and Queen Anne’s lace have bloomed out, so plant bugs will be looking for another host before cotton starts squaring. So far, I haven’t found any squares, although we should see the first of them by the end of this coming week. With all the bright sunshine and near-ideal soil temperatures, cotton is doing well and has good color.

    “Corn ranges from 3-leaf to waist-high and needs rain. You already can see signs of that in the morning.”

    Trent LaMastus, Consultant, Cleveland, Mississippi:

    “A big part of the south Delta is still flooded. The water dropped a little this week and they opened the gates to let water out. But I understand that the Mississippi River is coming up again, so the gates will be closed yet one more time.

    “On top of that, plenty of rain is in the forecast at the end of this week, maybe as much as 5 inches. So, we’ll be back in the same shape, if not worse. Of the acreage I work, 5% to 10% is affected. Fields are either flooded or water covers some part of them.

    “It’s been hard to work around all this. In one block, we squeezed in a few acres of cotton planting but then it turned dry enough that we needed to water it. Unfortunately, the pivot is in the standing water and couldn’t move around to put water where we planted. So, we never gained a viable stand.

    “We now have just about any situation you can imagine – places where we can’t plant due to flooding, fields where cotton is trying to emerge in dry conditions and cotton that we’re trying to water up. Stands range from great to mediocre to no stand at all.

    “Our first Pix is going out today (6/3). Some of these acres are also being treated for plant bugs and aphids. In places, some sapping is evident. It’s worth noting that this is on some of the oldest cotton in my area and it’s had no insecticide applied. We haven’t flared the aphids, they just showed up about 2 weeks ago and are increasing in this extreme heat.

    “Overall insect pressure is light but it’s picked up over the last week. We are piggybacking the insecticide and Pix with a scheduled herbicide application. We are taking advantage of current dry conditions by using our ground rigs while we still can. Big rains are in the forecast from mid-week through the weekend.

    “Our oldest corn is at R1 and silks and tassels are emerging. We completed our first irrigation in corn this past week. Our youngest or replanted corn is between v9 to v12 and our moisture sensors indicated that it needed irrigation as well. That’s a little earlier than normal for its size. The heat is taking a toll and I suspect that the corn root system is a little shallower than we would like due to all the early rains.

    “What few soybeans I have range from still in the sack to R1. I’m finding light disease that looks like pythium. It’s been lingering a while, but with this hot, dry weather, it’s now taking out those plants.”

    Lee Rogers, Rogers Entomological Service, Steele, Missouri:

    “Temperatures are in the upper 80s today (6/3), but highs have mostly been in the 90s and are supposed to edge into the low 90s again tomorrow.

    “We had a lot of trouble gaining good stands and planted 3 times in places. A few folks finally switched to soybeans. In places, cotton came up well and in other fields it didn’t, and I don’t recall ever seeing this much variability. A lot of that has to do with rain, I suspect. We had plenty of rain up until 10 days ago and now it’s turned dry with hardly any moisture.

    “Some cottonseed may still be planted in corners, on edges or spot replanted. But I’m not aware of any whole fields that are being replanted now. Where we achieved good stands, it seemed to depend mainly on the window in which that cotton was planted. If it was the wrong window, results weren’t what you like to see.

    “Thrips are in a few fields here and there but nothing like it has been in some years. Treatments held up well. Our cotton ranges from some just replanted late last week to the most advanced with 7 leaves.”

    Blake Foust, Consultant, Southern Heritage Cotton, LLC, Forrest City, Arkansas:

    “We’re dry. Popup showers fell yesterday (6/4) in places and maybe we’ll get rain out of the system that’s in the forecast for later this week.

    “Our oldest cotton was at the ninth node on Monday. We did a lot of spot planting and seed are sitting in dry dirt in places. Herbicides are going out and we’re trying to clean up messes. Fertilizer has gone out where possible. Overall, we’re moving down the road.

     “In corn, our first tassels should be out this weekend. We also have corn at the third leaf where late planting decisions were made. In early-planted beans, we’re up to R2 to R3 and they look pretty good.”

    David Skinner, Agronomist, CPS, Macon, Mississippi:

    “It’s dry – bone dry – but I don’t think it’s hurt the cotton yet. Of what’s up, 80% of our stands look good. Dryland corn, though, is in bad shape.

    “Our most advanced cotton is at 8 to 9 nodes now (6/3) and fruiting up well. The only bad thing is that some growers didn’t gain good stands where maybe seeds couldn’t make it into good moisture. Where we have irrigation, we watered it up.

    “Rain is in the forecast this week, and we hope that will bring up cotton outside of the pivots. Otherwise, the crop doesn’t look bad.

    “We’re spraying thrips in places, although it’s nothing wholesale. Where acephate went in the furrow, we didn’t spray that. We did have to come back with a foliar spray on a limited basis where growers only went with an extra seed treatment. Where they only went with the factory seed treatment, a lot of that needed a foliar thrips treatment.”

    Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist:

    “The earlier-planted cotton is beginning to put on squares and we’re finding plant bugs, which likely are coming off wild hosts that are drying down. The oldest cotton is at 10 nodes.

    “We already were finding plenty of plant bugs earlier in the year when sweeping wild hosts for redbanded stink bugs. A significant amount of this crop was planted late due to weather delays, and that could be setting us up for heavy plant bug pressure as the season progresses.

    “Virtually no thrips developed on cotton planted in late April and early May, and it was the least amount of thrips I’ve seen in a long time. Even in the untreated checks in my thrips trials, I hardly found any.


    “But in cotton planted later, thrips are showing up in places and treatments have been going out. We actually have locations where thrips and plant bugs are being treated in fields that are almost side by side. That’s unusual, for sure.

    “Heavy counts of bollworm/corn earworm moths have turned up in traps. In certain locations, we trapped over 300 moths in a 4-day period. That indicates a pretty big flight for this time of the year. County agents who monitor their own traps also are seeing higher-than-normal numbers.

    “Bollworms already are turning up in vegetative soybeans. In south Arkansas, we have early-planted beans that are flowering. If you have the first fields blooming in your area, check closely now for these initial populations.”

    Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist:

    “A few people have called about aphids. This isn’t anything widespread but in places enough are turning up to treat. Considering all this hot, dry weather, I’ve been a little surprised that nobody is calling about spider mites.

    “Plant bug activity has picked up in some earlier-planted cotton that’s just squaring. They were at zero last week but jumped to 15% this week. For cotton at pinhead square, that’s high. The threshold is 8 per 100 sweeps (8%) in the first 2 weeks of squaring, so in places we’re now finding them at 2X treatment level.”

    Sebe Brown, Louisiana Extension Field Crops Entomologist:

    “Rain has been falling all day (6/5) and it’s much needed for all of our crops. This will sure help with late-planted and replanted cotton. Along with bringing moisture, it should help wash off remaining thrips.

    “We’re kind of in that lull between thrips and plant bugs. In places, cotton has started squaring but I haven’t heard of any plant bug activity.

    “With this prolonged stretch of hot, dry weather, we had edged into dangerous spider mite territory, so the rain should also help with mites.

    “We’re picking up more redbanded stink bugs in northeast Louisiana and are finding them in the very earliest beans. If your beans are close to R4 or R5, scout closely for them.”

    AgFax Midsouth Cotton is published by AgFax Media LLC
    Owen Taylor, Editorial Director.
    Working-Copy%5B1%5D.jpgThis weekly report is distributed during the cotton production season. It is available to United States residents engaged in cotton farming, field scouting and other qualifying ag professions. Mailing address: 142 Westlake Drive, Brandon, MS 39047. Office: 601-992-9488.
    ©2019 AgFax Media LLC

    The Latest

    Send press releases to

    View All Events

    Send press releases to

    View All Events