Cotton – Southwest – Freaky Weather | Bugs | What to Plant? – AgFax

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Larry Stalcup, Field Editor

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Texas weather? Freakish June “norther” adds insult to already injured cotton in the Panhandle. Sandfighters are as common as planters in the South Plains. Thermometer pops 108 in South Texas.

Coastal Bend – Justin Chopelas reports the bug complex “is higher than I’ve seen in 15 years.”

Looking for a bright spot. Kerry Siders says weeds may have come in unexpectedly handy in this delayed start.

Catch crop planting ideas are being tossed around: short-season corn varieties, sorghum, sunflowers and even talk of soybeans.

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CROP REPORTS

Gary Beverage, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Artesia, New Mexico/Southwest Texas:

“Our crop looks good, but we had a run of hail storms that damaged a significant amount of cotton the past 2 weeks. The Pecos Valley and the Dell City, Texas areas really saw some heavy hail damage. Some guys lost at least 20% of their crop.

“The crops ranged from approaching the first true leaf to 3- to 4-leaf. It was behind like most of our cotton. The cooler weather this spring has prevented us from getting the heat units we need. But all in all, what’s growing is growing well.

“We had a big run of chinch bugs and grasshoppers. They came out of mustard weed growth that was promoted by the added winter and spring moisture we received.

Also, with all of the rain, we’ll have to scout soon for cotton rust.

“Weed control seems to be holding up. Most cotton is either Enlist or Extend technology. We’ve been pleasantly surprised with the newer varieties. They have come up very well.”

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

“Crop conditions are widely variable around Lubbock. There are some good looking crops south and southeast of Lubbock. As we move east, they’ve had more rain and many fields did not get planted. With the high winds we had Sunday (6/9), sandfighters were running and planters were parked. Most tried to save the crop that was already planted.

“There are still fields growers want to get replanted but it’s too wet. Unfortunately, there’s more rain in the forecast. That could push replanting past the partial insurance deadline this week.

“We’re still seeing more weeds coming up. Just driving south on I-27 through Lamesa and you see many weedy fields. Folks need to follow their herbicide plans, especially where they have spent a lot of money on seed and fertilizer.”

David Drake, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension IPM Agent, Northeast Texas:

“We got a lot of cotton planted the past week or two. We’re optimistic. The week of warm weather really popped it out of the ground. But overall acres are down by about 50% after the excessive wet spring. Stands look good despite being late. Most fields are still in the cotyledon stage or approaching the first true leaf.

“We need to catch up on weed control. Fields weren’t worked as well as they could have been due to the wet weather. But herbicides seem to be working. We’re watching for thrips but haven’t seen big numbers. Most pastures are still pretty green so thrips aren’t abandoning them yet.

“Wheat is dry and ready to harvest. Our dryland wheat trial plots are yielding 90 bushels per acre. The average farmer yields are in the 60s.”

Jaime Lopez, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent, Frio County:

“Summer is definitely here. We were at 108 yesterday. Fortunately, we’re at 82 now (6/10).

“We’ve also had some good scattered showers to benefit our crops. Cotton is expected to starting blooming this week and fields are looking clean. We’re seeing a lot of fleahoppers and having to spray for them.

“Corn is maturing, and we just finished wheat harvest a week ago. Peanuts are half planted. Most peanut fields are within a high fence to keep feral hogs and deer from getting to them.”

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Alan Seitz, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Wilcox, Arizona:

“It’s cloudy here and we could see a little shower today (6/10). It has been too cool for this cotton. The replant is up and growing, but overall, the stuff isn’t growing very fast. Thankfully, we finally hit the 90s last week. We’re supposed to be in the mid- to upper-90s this week.

“We’re making thrips applications to try and protect the young plants. We had some chinch bug issues, but they weren’t a big problem.

We’re making Roundup applications and will soon apply some post-emerge Prowl and Treflan. There are problem areas with bindweed, thistle and morning glory problems.”

Jourdan Bell, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agronomist, Amarillo:

“A lot of Panhandle acres have been lost due to the wet, cool spring and cold, windy weather this past weekend. Producers expected to plant 300,000 acres or more north of I-40 and 800,000 across the Panhandle. It’s too early to know exactly how many acres won’t be in cotton, but I would guess it’s easily 30% below what we had expected.

“Cotton that’s up varies from decent to bad. There are several fields with a good stand, but development is very delayed. It is cotyledon to first true leaf. There are many reports of seedling disease and seed rotting in the field. There’s also crusting, resulting in poor emergence and poor stands.

“Some producers are having difficulty deciding whether to keep it, terminate it or replant in another crop. Fertility and herbicide chemistries may limit what can be planted. There are lots of uncertainties. Even though I anticipate herbicide movement after all of the rain, we can’t be sure all of it is gone. There could be significant injury to a subsequent crop if herbicide label restrictions are not followed.

“A number of producers have decided to come back with short-season corn varieties. Many are considering sorghum or sunflower. A few are even talking about planting soybeans into the good soil profile. But soybeans have rarely performed well in the Panhandle region due to overall water requirements.”

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

“Today (6/10) is the deadline for getting irrigated cotton planted or replanted. There will still be a great deal of dryland planted before the June 20 deadline, especially in the southwest corner of the state. But up north, if folks don’t have a stand by now, they probably need to go with something other than cotton.

“Cotton that’s up is a bit late over most of the state. It goes back to the conditions we’ve had with cool, wet weather. Whether fields didn’t get planted on time or whether they suffered other weather damage, cotton is smaller than we would like to see.

“Considering the conditions, most growers are doing a good job at controlling weeds. They were able to get yellows and residuals applied. The rainfall helped activate those herbicides.

“We’re seeing thrips on the young cotton. Many growers are spraying at first true leaf to control them until plants get to the 4- to 5-true-leaf stage. If guys didn’t use a seed treatment or apply an in-furrow insecticide, they really need to scout for thrips.”

Kerry Siders, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Hockley, Cochran & Lamb Counties:

“Our high was only 69 yesterday (6/9). That’s definitely not cotton growing weather. There aren’t enough heat units for it to make any growth. Along with the cold temperatures, we had a north wind at 30 mph with gusts from 40 to 50. We can’t catch a break to move this cotton along.

“My scout crew and I have been looking at fields in eastern Lamb County this morning. Many are still at the cotyledon stage. Several guys were out there with rotary hoes but some lost stands to blowing sand from the high winds.

“Many fields have been replanted a second and third time. There are more weeds than we would like to see. It’s been tough to stay on top of them when you’re trying to get stands established. However, I hate to say it, but those weeds have provided a little cover for the young cotton plants.

“Thrips are not yet a problem. The rains have washed them off. But we’ll be watching closely for them in a week or two.

“The overall bad weather is the story we’ve had since early May. We just to need to get those 80- and 90-degree days to get this cotton going.”

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Tyler Mays, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Hill County:

“Our cotton is performing well after we stopped getting the heavy rainfall. But with growth comes insects. Fleahoppers moved in with a vengeance last week. We sprayed fields that were squaring and got them under control. There are still a few around but not at threshold numbers.

“We’re also spraying for thrips. Their populations are at about 1.5 per true leaf, well above the threshold of 1 per true leaf. A few aphids are also hanging around, but they’re under control in fields sprayed for fleahoppers and thrips.

“Some nutrient deficiencies are showing up in fields that were standing in water for long periods. Guys will have to measure for deficiencies that could hurt their crop.

“Weeds are starting to come out after all the rain. Post herbicide applications are needed, but there are still fields too wet to make post apps. It’s easy to get stuck in the mud, but if we keep having sunny days, it should be dry enough by week’s end to get fields sprayed. Hopefully weeds will still be small enough to handle.

“Wheat is being cut again after rain slowed harvest last week. Corn is looking good, but I’ve picked up common leaf rust in a corn trial. That’s not a big concern for yield. I’m also finding northern corn leaf blight lesions on susceptible varieties.

“Earworms have hatched and are in the tips of the ears. They will cycle out and move into cotton. We have to monitor fields closely for them.”

Stu Duncan, Kansas State University Crops & Soils Specialist, Manhattan, Kansas:

“We’ve finally got a number of fields planted and there are still a few guys planting late past the insurance deadline. But due to the bad weather conditions this spring, we won’t have as many cotton acres as predicted.

“Guys are coming back with corn or soybeans, but there are fewer soybean replants the further west you go. It depends on what herbicide they were using and whether they are labeled for beans. They’re just looking for options after the tough spring.

“The cotton is fair to good in southwest Kansas. They finally got some decent growing days. They’re still pretty optimistic out there.”

Justin Chopelas, JWC Consulting, Odem, Texas/Coastal Bend:

“Cotton is in a good place with square set and well into bloom on 50% of it. Some looks as good as I could ask for. The oldest is 2 to 3 NAWF, while the youngest is at 10 to 11 nodes and hasn’t started blooming.

“The crop has benefitted from good growing conditions, even though the weather is still playing tricks on us. It was only 105 here yesterday, but a cool front with rain blew in this afternoon (6/10) and it’s 76 now. It should help the cotton after we received a timely gentle rain last week. We’re still looking at an average crop, but if we can catch more rain in the next few weeks, it could be a lot better.

“We have strong insect pressure, so much that the bug complex is higher than I’ve seen in 15 years. We’re battling stink bugs and plant bugs. There are also bollworm issues. But remember it’s June – which is usually hell on earth for crops in the Coastal Bend.

“Grain sorghum and corn are looking very good. Sorghum may see the highest yields these guys have ever made. There is some 6,000- to 7,000-lb. sorghum, plus the sugarcane aphid problems have been low.”

Stephen Biles, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Victoria, Calhoun & Refugio Counties:

“We’re doing well in the mid- and upper coast region. Rainfall from last week is helping a bunch. Our early cotton is blooming, but later cotton is still at third-grown to half-grown square.

“We’re treating for cotton fleahoppers in the younger stuff. We’re also seeing weed control problems after all of the rain. Residuals didn’t hold as well as we would have liked, so a good post-emerge herbicide program is needed.

“Stink bugs have been a problem in sorghum the past week but growers are taking care of them.”


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


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