“If your cotton is irrigated and you’ve kept drought stress off of it, you might be able to wait for the fungus. If the field is dryland, under drought stress and still has good yield potential, then spraying and relieving that stress might be in order. Research indicates that aphid sprays rarely pay for themselves, so I’m always hesitant to recommend treatment. However, because the fungus is much less predictable and reliable, it is difficult to argue with spraying heavy and uniform aphid populations, especially on young, struggling cotton.
“Pretty soon, we will spray for stink bugs and if the aphids are still hanging around, you can go with a pre-mix of neonics and pyrethroids or tankmix the two to get the aphids and the stink bugs.
“Anecdotal evidence shows bollworm pressure may be a little lighter than usual. Pheromone trap captures have been low. Between that and not seeing them at high numbers in corn, I think cotton growers in our area might have an easier year than usual with bollworm. On the other hand, stink bug numbers will likely be high this season, based on what we are observing in corn.”
Larry Walker, Walker Cotton Technical Services, Flintville, Tennessee:
“A few of our cotton fields began blooming in the last week of June. That part of the crop has had a second shot of Pix and plants responded well. In places, we do have 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 this week. 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-dress 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.”
Brandon Phillips, Phillips Ag Services, LLC, Fitzgerald, Georgia:
“In cotton, the biggest issues so far are stink bugs and aphids. Stink bug pressure is above average. We already are going back with a second stink bug application in fields at threshold. Stink bugs are the worst around corn, and we’re seeing more brown stink bugs, which are harder to control.
“We are finding a few silverleaf whitefly in cotton next to vegetables, and we are urging growers to destroy vegetables as soon as they’re done with them. Silverleaf whitefly is probably the most expensive insect that we have in Georgia. It’s a $15 to $20 an acre treatment every time we go over them.
“In peanuts, we have moderate to light worm pressure, predominately cutworm. We haven’t treated for them yet. We are starting to pick up hopper burn from leafhoppers, but we haven’t found anything at treatable levels.
“Tomato spotted wilt virus is at average levels and we’re not seeing any white mold, but we’ve been on a two-week fungicide schedule and haven’t been late. With the Fourth of July holiday, that spray schedule could be disrupted. We need to say on top of it because conditions are just right for white mold.”
Dominic Reisig, NCSU Extension Specialist, Entomology, Plymouth, North Carolina:
“The bright side is that the plant bug situation looks to be a little better, which is good because we’re going to be spraying bollworms in a month. With that in mind, we sure don’t want to be spraying broad-spectrum insecticides now.
“Stink bug numbers seem to be heavy. But there’s still no reason to treat cotton for stink bugs until we have bolls.
“Corn earworms appear to be everywhere in corn. They were inconsistent last year but this year we’re steadily finding 60% to 70% infestation in non-Bt corn.
“This is pretty good caterpillar weather. We recommend scouting eggs on older cotton varieties and scouting larvae on the cotton that has the Vip trait.
“We have good insecticides to spray stink bug and bollworm, so we’re not in a pickle, but folks definitely need to scout so we’re not caught unaware.”
Eddie McGriff, Regional Extension Agronomist, Northeast Alabama:
“Hail damage right now is our number one concern. About 1,000 acres of cotton were severely damaged by hail and about 500 acres were a total loss.
“Plant bugs are increasing. While they’re getting above threshold, plant bugs haven’t really done much damage yet. Scout each field and make decisions on a field-by-field basis. We don’t want to treat if we don’t have to and we don’t want to flare spider mites, either.