“So, how do you deal with thrips on maybe 15% of the plants when everything else in the field is past thrips being an issue?
“A few calls also have come in about threecornered alfalfa hoppers (3CAH). We don’t have a good threshold for 3CAH in cotton, plus they can quickly repopulate fields after you do treat. Also, we’d like to avoid spraying 3CAH right now because we’re about to get into the plant bug phase when we could have more need to treat.
“You might suppose that 3CAH would be more likely to appear in conservation tillage cropping but they’ve developed in obvious numbers this year in certain fields that are conventionally tilled. They give cotton an orange tint that’s hard to miss and also will stunt plants.
“Several years ago, I did work with a graduate student on this subject and found that adjoining plants tend to compensate for plants that 3CAH take out. You can have worse places in a field, certainly, but 3CAH typically don’t significant affect yield.
“With a few exceptions, spider mites are mostly in the background. Plant bugs range from nonexistent to a handful of locations where people are treating, at least right now.
“In soybeans, a few redbanded stinkbugs are turning up but nothing that’s a concern right now. People tell me they might see 1 to 3 in a day’s worth of checking. Based on what we know, we’ll probably have to deal with them to some extent in the late-planted beans.
“Several people are finding low levels of bollworms in beans but it’s not an immediate concern.”
Sebe Brown, Louisiana Extension Field Crops Entomologist:
“Plant bugs are picking up and are migrating from corn into cotton and also are moving out of alternative hosts. Cotton is starting to square and in some fields retention is pretty low.
“We’re also picking up fleahoppers in larger numbers than we normally expect. Typically, we don’t have many issues with fleahoppers and it’s usually just in isolated spots. If we have them, they’re mostly in the Red River Valley, but people this week are reporting fleahoppers in northeast, central and northwest Louisiana.
“More than likely, fleahoppers are knocking off at least some of those squares. Plant bugs may be in the mix, too, but fleahoppers can blow squares off just as readily. Thankfully, fleahoppers are easier to kill than plant bugs.
“Our threshold for fleahoppers is 2.5 to 6 per 25 sweeps, and in places they’re running 2X to 3X threshold.
“Rain from this last system varied. Totals were as high as 8 inches in spots south of Alexandria, but maybe only 3 tenths fell in areas north of Alexandria. Generally, our major row crop areas received from 3 tenths to 2 inches.
“In soybeans, redbanded stink bugs are showing up in more fields. When beans hit R3, that’s typically when major numbers begin building.
“More and more calls are coming in from guys who planted soybeans early to try to finish the crop soon enough to miss redbanded. But the insect has already jumped into their beans, to the point that treatments have started.
“The farthest north I’m aware of any treatments being made is probably Concordia Parish. People are catching them as far north as Interstate 20 – not at threshold but numbers are picking up in some fields.”
Herbert Jones Jr., Ind. Consultant, Leland, Mississippi:
“Fortunately, everybody in this area received at least a half-inch of rain from that system that started up last Thursday (6/6). In places, 1.5 inches fell. Growers weren’t exactly hurting for rain but it was needed for herbicide activity.
“A moth flight began about a week ago (from 6/10). I don’t know if it’s peaked yet but I’m still seeing a few bollworm moths in soybeans. In cotton, we sprayed here and there for thrips and will start our mepiquat chloride applications this week. So far, I haven’t found enough plant bugs to address.”
Tyler Hydrick, Hydrick’s Crop Consulting, Inc., Jonesboro, Arkansas:
“We had a dry spell for a bit and farmers got plenty done. All the cotton herbicides went out before this last weather system came through. Depending on the location, totals ranged from an inch to 7 inches and it mostly fell in about 3 days starting on Thursday (6/6).
“Whatever cotton hasn’t been planted yet, that ground will go into soybeans now. Of what we’ve planted, 99% is up.
“We’ve started triggering plant bug sprays and are getting nitrogen out. Where plants could grab nitrogen, they’ve really taken off. We’ve also started mepiquat chloride sprays.
“So far, only a few plant bug treatments have been made. Most of the crop, though, is either attractive to plant bugs or will be soon, so applications will likely pick up next week.
“A lot of discussion is going on about whether to start in with the first Diamond shot now or wait. The consensus is that this could be a big insect year, so a lot of factors are being weighed.
“In soybeans, we’ve started planting our wheat beans but still have cases where full-season fields haven’t been planted yet. Where growers are going in behind wheat, equipment can stand up better, and one grower actually has planted more doublecrop beans than full-season acres.
“Technically, I guess, a lot of our soybeans this year will be doublecrop beans, even if they didn’t follow wheat.”
Victor Roth, Roth Farm Service, Malden, Missouri:
“With this last weather system, rain totaled 1 to 2 inches in certain areas and a half-inch to three quarters of an inch in others.
“That was over the weekend (6/8-9). The cloudy conditions have been annoying and today (6/11) things started out cool, but the soils should still be warm. We’ve had enough showers and clouds that people couldn’t be in the field, so growers are now cleaning up things and trying to get the crop moving again.
“At most, we have cotton at 8 leaves, although it’s probably more like 7, and we might have 1 or 2 squares. I have my fingers crossed that we’ll see blooms by the Fourth of July with maybe a few scattered around in June.
“We’re finishing a few thrips treatments. We began sweeping a small number of fields for plant bugs this week and found them in a couple of locations. These may be cases where cover crops were burned down quickly and plant bugs moved into the cotton from the cover crop.”
Hank Jones, C&J Ag Consulting, Pioneer, Louisiana:
“Respectable amounts of rain fell in spots south of Interstate 20 with this last big system, but accumulations were fairly sporadic north of I-20. Places that needed rain the worst seemed to get the least.
“We’re dealing with a good many skippy stands where cotton was planted in the middle of a hot, dry spell. We thought seed were down into good moisture. Some years that works, some years it doesn’t, and this was a year when it didn’t. We hope the seed is still in dry dirt and we’ll get enough moisture soon to bring them up.
“North of I-20, a few growers are on their fourth round with pivots trying to water up cotton. Moisture just won’t stay in the ground, especially on ridges.
“This is my 18th year of consulting and you always compare whatever season you’re in to some year in the past. But I really can’t draw any comparisons for this one. We’ve had a wide array of obstacles – weather delays, replanting, too wet to get in the field, too hot and dry for cotton to germinate. On top of all that, it’s been too dry to kill weeds.