“Plant bugs are running 5% to 6%. Our older cotton has 3 to 5 squares and we’re trying to save them. If cotton is on good ground, I’m going with 8 to 10 ounces per acre of mepiquat chloride. On marginal ground, I’m backing the rate down to 6 ounces.
“Corn has really started tasseling now. We saw tassels last week but more fields are at tassel now.”
Chad Savery, Anchor Ag Solutions LLC, Fairhope, Alabama:
“We’re in pretty good shape. With this last weather system, it rained 1.5 to 3.5 inches, plus a few showers popped up this afternoon (6/10) that weren’t expected. Before the rain, seedlings were scalding and dying in places when they emerged because soil at the surface was so hot.
“The crops love this moisture and have responded in a very positive way. Where seed was laying in dry dirt, it’s been coming up after the rain. Mostly, we’re spot planting where cotton struggled for one reason or another. I don’t have any entire fields that need to be replanted. Our most advanced cotton is at 7 to 8 nodes.
“We had enough thrips activity in places to warrant a few sprays, but I try not to treat thrips if I can avoid it. We still have scattered fields left to plant. The growers who dusted in cotton ahead of the rain look like the smartest guys in the room now because it’s coming up. In peanuts, we’re seeing a little aspergillus crown rot.”
Jeremy Greene, Clemson University Entomologist, Blackville, South Carolina:
“We didn’t have rain for 3 weeks, but now we’re getting too much. There’s no doubt that we needed the rain, and we’re glad it came along. It started over the weekend and I poured about 5 inches out of the gauge at my home, and that was from several days of accumulation. It didn’t rain today but it’s in the forecast for tomorrow (6/12).
“A lot of cotton is close to or at pinhead square, and plenty of folks are talking about plant bugs. In places, people are seeing squares on the ground. Much of that is likely due to a physiological response to 3 weeks of extremely hot, dry weather followed by too much rain.
“Plant bugs are being found in places, so some of the shed might be due to plant bugs, but it is very likely not a widespread problem for us. Before the rains, I kept hearing reports of spider mites, but all the rain should have helped wash most of them away for now. The next thing will be plant bugs and aphids.”
Ron Smith, Alabama Extension Entomologist:
“Rainfall totals varied quite a bit from this last system, from 8 inches at Mobile to probably 4 tenths of an inch in other areas. Most people did get a good rain but for a few folks it was terribly short. It was a slow rain over a 4-day period that ended last night (6/10), and every bit soaked in.
“Tarnished plant bugs are very much turning up in cotton. Over the years we’ve seen how they will go to the oldest-planted cotton first. We’re getting reports of retention down to 60% in some of those fields, but in nearby cotton that’s somewhat younger, retention is at 80%. You can have a lag between movement into cotton and when you detect the square loss they cause.
“Treatments are going out on most of the older cotton in the central and southern parts of Alabama, and it certainly needs to be sprayed. These sudden plant bug populations poured out of daisy fleabane as it dried down in that stretch of intense, dry weather.
“With this big movement, we will see a definite peak, so one timely spray might solve the problem. That’s a positive point. In a season when the movement into cotton is more gradual, you can spray and take out what’s there but more will dribble in, and you have to treat again. In a season with this kind of big, sudden migration, it’s easier to make a treatment decision.
“The threshold is 80% square retention or 2 adult plant bugs per 25 sweeps. If you don’t have a sweep net, there’s no way to quantify the number of plant bugs out there. In the heat of the day, they’re down in the plant and you might never see one without sweeping. Personally, I’d rather base decisions on the number of adult plant bugs.
“As I mentioned, you might not see the effect on retention right away. But if plant bugs are in the cotton, you can react. Again, without a scout or a sweep net, you’re just guessing.”
Jennifer Bearden, Extension Agricultural Agent, Okaloosa County, Florida:
“We got a little rain, so right now we’re happy. Since most of our cotton is dryland, we had been sweating it. From 3 to 4 inches fell in most of our areas over a 5-day period. It started last week and rained through the weekend and even a little yesterday (6/10).
“Most of our cotton is 30 to 40 days old and much of that is squaring. Some replants were necessary due to deer feeding. We’re mostly done with peanut planting. About the only thing left to finish are some soybeans.”
Dominic Reisig, NCSU Extension Specialist, Entomology, Plymouth, North Carolina:
“In places, folks are still cleaning up thrips in cotton but plant bugs are starting to move in, so they’re becoming the focus. Square retention is beginning to drop in places.
“As far as sweep counts go, nothing crazy is turning up in the nets but counts are at or above threshold in places. Our threshold is 80% retention and 8 plant bugs in 100 sweeps.