Texas West Plains IPM: Give Your Cotton Plants a Little Time

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Cotton ranges from seed just placed in the ground to 5 true leaf cotton.

I cannot review all the scenarios which have played out over the last 5 to 6 weeks during planting. Just suffice to say that it has been a real struggle to get a stand of cotton. Between cool temps (high of 69 degrees just this last Monday), to incessant wind, hail and hard driving rain.

Hopefully,  your situation is beginning to straighten out and this current weather will be more conducive for progress. However, I know there are still many uncertainties for some. Here is a document which may help shed some light on some of these hard decisions.

Insects are Light

I have seen very little insect activity. Thrips have been extremely light. I suspect that the recent intense rains have helped on this front. I have seen many grasshoppers out near the State line. Keep a close watch on this situation over the next several weeks.

One interesting thing which has occurred this spring to early summer is a buildup of hemipteran species, or true bugs, like stink bugs, and chinch bugs just to mention a couple. The stink bugs have taken some toll on small grains. Most of these bugs built on the numerous winter weeds we developed which have now dried and are disappearing.

The chinch bugs, false chinch bugs more accurately, when found can be in very high numbers, but rarely cause economic injury to cotton. In the near 30 years I have scouted cotton, only once did I even consider treating a small area of a field for this insect. So do not get overly concerned with this insect.

Give Cotton Plants Time

Most of the injury I am seeing can be attributed to a plant that has not grown at a fast enough pace, and any and all injury from wind, sand, debris, hail etc. has accumulated on the plant to really cause us to second guess the viability of this crop. My stance today is let us give these plants a week of hot temps and sunshine, look at it again and I suspect it will have made good or better progress than what we have seen this week.


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