Cotton – Midsouth – More Blooms, Pests And Growth – Welcome To July – AgFax

    Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Kathleen Phillips

    David Bennett, Contributing Editor
    Owen Taylor, Editor

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


    Cotton turning a corner? With a stretch of mostly sunny and rain-free days, growers have largely caught up on field work and plants have visibly responded to better growing conditions and a bit of TLC.

    With growth, comes the need for more plant growth regulator applications – or reapplications where heavier rains fell.

    Potential issues are still lurking around. Plant bugs and aphids are requiring attention and a bollworm moth flight is in the cards. With this season’s widely staggered planting dates, management could be doubly hard.

    In soybeans, redbanded stinkbugs continue to build in the lower Midsouth. Entomologists warn that anyone with grain sorghum needs to closely scout for sugarcane aphids.



    Trent LaMastus, Consultant, Cleveland, Mississippi:

    “We scrambled really hard last week to get our Pix out. Of course, there were a lot of rain delays and we’ve got to catch up. It’s been hard to apply enough Pix after 4 to 8 inches of rain in the last 10 to 14 days. That’s true across pretty much the whole area I work. Keeping up with growth regulators has been worse than dealing with bugs because we’re also trying to properly do variable-rate Pix applications.

    “Weeds are often a problem, as well. A number of growers are behind on their herbicide work. It seems there’s a rain every time we get ready to spray. Our cotton ranges from 5 true leaves to starting the second week of bloom. So, we’ve got a wide, wide gap – from not even squaring to blooming.

    “Plant bugs haven’t been bad but we have treated aphids in the last week or two. We’re picking up occasional spider mites in a spot or two, and have had to deal with them.

    “Our soybeans range from 4 trifoliates up to R-3 with 16 to 18 nodes. Mostly, it’s around 10 to 14 trifoliates. So, soybeans are late just like the cotton. Pest problems haven’t developed in soybeans but we found a couple of redbanded stinkbugs last week and hated to see those. I’m worried about what those numbers might look like in a couple of weeks. We also picked up a couple of kudzu bugs this weekend – actually I found those in cotton and they weren’t causing trouble. We’ll be scouting hard for them in soybeans just knowing they’re around.

    “The corn ranges from R-3 to fields that will be approaching dent by the end of the week. Population are good, although in spots it’s a little skippy where plants didn’t grow off well in saturated, heavy ground. But overall, corn has plenty of potential. We’ve only irrigated corn once, and that was just to move nitrogen into the ground.”

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

    “We’re in so much better shape than we were just a month ago. Back then, we still weren’t even planted. I’m feeling very optimistic this week. A gentleman I worked with 25 years ago would say ‘It isn’t how you start but how you finish.’ I’m holding to that this year. I’m not saying we’re going to have a bumper crop, but it’s so much better than it was. Some of our earliest cotton is now moving into the third week of bloom and looks good. That’s true even for our late-planted cotton.

    “We are starting to pick up immature plant bugs and aphids. We’re also treating for a fair number of spider mites. I’m anticipating a big bollworm egg lay coming pretty quickly with that typical Fourth of July moth flight.

    “Like everyone else in the Midsouth, we’ve had excessive moisture. Now, though, we’re able to get in the fields and layby a good deal of the crop. Cotton is moving fast.

    “We do have weed issues with all the different ages of cotton in the field. But we’re staying on top pretty well with Staple, Roundup and also used some dicamba earlier in the season. It’s starting to look like a cotton crop. First thing this morning, I told my scouts, ‘We’re at July 1, it’s crunch time and time to roll.’

     “About 10% of our beans are at R-5 and we’re starting to pick stinkbugs in those, including redbanded. None of our beans are being watered yet but we may have to start in a couple of days. Corn is at dent and will be at black layer in 2 or 3 weeks. I’m still scouting for disease but things are moving quickly.

    “One potential problem is the lateness of this crop and labor. Four college boys work for me and they will go back to class before things wind down in these crops. That may hurt us with help later in the season. Right now, though, all is well.”

    Lee Rogers, Rogers Entomological Service, Steele, Missouri:

    “Plant bugs have been coming into cotton more and more over the last several weeks, and we’re starting to see spider mites in spots.


    “It’s gotten very hot but rains have been falling, with more chances late this week. The rain this season has been more than we bargained for. That’s why cotton got off to a sketchy start, although it’s now coming on. It’s kind of crazy because we have cotton planted around April 25 all the way to early June.

    “Everyone is trying to kill weeds this week, something they want to finish before we have to deal with bugs. It’s been a tumultuous start this year but I believe it’s getting better.”

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

    “A few of our cotton fields began blooming the last week in June. That part of the crop has had a second shot of Pix and plants responded well. We do have some 5- to 8-leaf cotton intermingled with 10- and 12-leaf cotton, and we’ll have to use a compromised rate of Pix on those fields.

    “With the showers and rains in low fields, weeds grew bigger than we’d like and those needed to be cleaned up last week. That cotton now looks much better. The Engenia post application cleaned up pigweeds and we also included a Dual or Outlook spray. That’s kept things manageable and I don’t think we’ll have to come back with Liberty.

    “We made our top-dressed fertilizer application and treated plant bugs in places where cotton was at 10 to 12 nodes. Plant bugs hit threshold at the end of last week, and treatments seem to have worked well.”

    Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee:

    “In cotton, our plant bug situation remains rather average. Some folks are spraying but, in general, that activity is relatively light. We are seeing a few spider mites but nothing widespread or major.

    “Our earliest cotton is into bloom and 5% of the crop will have a bloom on it this week and more will reach that stage next week.

    “We’ve run bollworm moth traps this week but the numbers were small – nothing compared to what they’re reporting in Arkansas. That’s typical for our region. We normally don’t get a large bollworm flight until the end of July. We may see some bleed-over along the Mississippi River from northern Arkansas but that isn’t happening yet.

    “In soybeans and cotton, a fair number of green stinkbugs are evident. That’s true even in cotton that isn’t blooming yet and now they’re showing up in our earliest beans. I’m urging people not to spray in cotton until we have bolls. In a few cases, people are spraying. Stink bugs are kind of stacking up and waiting for the bolls. At the moment, cotton is acting kind of like a trap crop.

    “Adult kudzu bugs are starting their migration into some soybean fields. Don’t jump the gun with this insect because spraying too early accomplishes very little. Let the migration continue and then treat when immatures are established. The threshold is 1 immature kudzu bug per sweep, and I’m not sure we will hit that number in many acres.

    “The moth flight has started for southwestern corn borer. This is only important for those with non-Bt corn, which is a limited amount of acreage. But we did see a good run of them during the first generation in a few places. In 7 to 10 days, treatments will likely be needed in places.”

    Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist:

    “The most consistent thing we’re seeing across a wide number of acres is aphids. We’ve been dealing with them for about 6 weeks and probably 8 out of every 10 calls lately have had something to do with aphids. It’s been many years since I’ve seen such widespread, large numbers of aphids across a broad area.

    “Typically, folks don’t worry about aphids from a yield reduction standpoint. But this year’s crop is so far behind that we must think about things differently. Where cotton was planted in late May and into June, we don’t want aphids to set it back any more than it already is.

    “With a few exceptions, plant bug numbers are still low to moderate.

    “Of course, we’re very close to the traditional first bollworm moth flight. That hasn’t materialized yet but I think in the next week we’ll be hearing about bollworms showing up. We’ve been catching some moths in traps but this is just the time when they’ll be coming off the corn.

    “In soybeans, people are catching a few redbanded stinkbugs. We’re not concerned about those yet but we’re watching closely. Aside from high numbers of grape colaspis, soybeans are quiet.”

    Sebe Brown, Louisiana Extension Field Crops Entomologist:

    “We’re fighting plant bugs pretty hard. A lot of corn has either dried down or is in the process, so plant bugs are migrating from corn into cotton. A big portion of our cotton is at bloom or will be before next week. All of that means more applications are going out. We’re seeing large numbers of aphids in cotton, too. Guys are typically taking plant bugs and aphids out with Transform at the same time.

    “We haven’t seen a lot of bollworm egg lay yet. Our historic Fourth of July moth flight has been light thus far, although there’s still time. Our trap catches have been low but I’m still holding my breath.

    “Spider mites have shown up in small spots. With the lack of rain in the forecast, everyone needs to watch out for mite outbreaks.

    “In soybeans, redbanded stinkbug numbers are picking up. We have beans that are at R-3 and above with threshold numbers and treatments have started. That’s now happening from north to south Louisiana.

    “Watch for bollworms in the late beans — especially R-1 to R-3 that haven’t lapped the middles. In particular, the short-statured beans are a prime candidate for bollworms.


    “Corn is doing okay and we’re getting our last waterings on. Our earliest corn is starting to dry down and some is hitting dent. In grain sorghum, sugarcane aphids are turning up. Almost every piece of Johnsongrass I’ve looked at is withering from the amount of sugarcane aphids feeding on it, and almost every acre of our grain sorghum has been sprayed for them.”

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

    “Overall, most of the cotton looks good. We’ve had pop-up showers the last few days and it’s hard to get things done. Our older cotton has been blooming since June 24. We still have plants hanging around 8- or 9-nodes above white flower. More than anything, we’re trying to get Pix out because this cotton is growing very fast.

    “We’ve been steadily fighting weeds but we’re about to get them in check. Plant bugs haven’t been terrible. We’re seeing bollworms in the field – not at treatment levels but it does get your attention.

    “We have not watered any cotton yet. The pipe was rolled out and they poked the holes but I don’t think we’ll water any for another 10 days (from 7/3). 

    “We have older soybeans at R-5 and sprayed some for stinkbugs. The later beans should be helped by these latest rains. Except for the latest-planted corn, the crop has tasseled. I’d expect that our oldest corn has moved into the milk stage, maybe a bit further.”

    Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist:

    “In certain areas, plant bugs continue to pour into cotton. A lot of silks are turning dark in corn and that means those adult plant bugs will move into cotton. We’re also beginning to see some immatures. Even if your cotton isn’t quite blooming yet, take shake-sheet samples because we’re already detecting immatures developing in some vegetative cotton. When we’re sweeping, a lot of squares in the net are tagged by plant bugs, so closely check your square retention. If you haven’t got Diamond shots out where plant bugs are bad, it’s time to think about it.

    “Anyone with grain sorghum sure needs to be checking for sugarcane aphids. We’ve got them from the Louisiana-Arkansas line all the way up to Crittenden County.

    “In our soybeans, redbanded stink bug numbers aren’t bad. Quite a few greens and browns are around and a lot of fields have populations at 50% to 100% treatment levels. On the oldest soybeans, a little bollworm flight is moving in. The highest numbers are about 4 to 7 per 25 sweeps – so, not bad numbers.”

    Angus Catchot, Jeff Gore, and Don Cook discuss current situation with early-mid season insect pests issues in Mississippi row crops.
    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.
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