Cotton – Midsouth – Insect Mix Plus “Funny” Plant Growth – AgFax

Trap with Bollworm - Corn Earworm - CEW moths. Photo: Gus Lorenz, Extension Entomologist, University of Arkansas, Division of Ag

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.


Hurricane Barry’s effects varied widely. Growers either received a much-needed rain or way too much, without much middle ground, it seems.

Regulating growth – that’s a big focus across the region this week. Rains have kept sprayers out of the field when treatments are needed the most. Plants also are shedding squares after this prolonged stretch of rain and cloudy weather.

Plant bugs demand attention through parts of the region. The bollworm moth flight has been slow to form, although it’s gaining a little momentum in places.

Spider mites also require treatments in certain areas, despite the rain. For more on spider mites, connect in our Also of Note section to a Mississippi Extension podcast that also delves into rainfastness questions.

Aphids are crashing in more locations now.

Weird growth has been reported in some cotton in Arkansas. Reasons aren’t known. See comments by Gus Lorenz.

Redbanded stink bug treatments are picking up in Louisiana soybeans and the insect has clearly moved farther north.



David Hydrick, Hydrick s Crop Consulting, Inc., Jonesboro, Arkansas: 

“So far, it’s rained about 4 inches. Rain fell all day Sunday and hasn’t stopped today (7/15). This hasn’t hurt our crops much but water is standing in low ends. However, the rain is keeping us from making applications where they’re needed.

“Lower temperatures haven’t helped with advancing maturity, but the forecast says that a hotter spell is coming, so that should help.

“Because of the unfavorable early spring, maybe 15% of our acres went into prevented planting. I understand that the number is higher in areas west of us. Crops are probably running a month late and a portion of our cotton isn’t blooming yet.

“Our biggest problem in cotton is applying Pix. As soon as things dry up enough to spray, it rains again. We’re also having a devil of a time keeping plant bugs off.

“We have soybeans that are just coming up. In the late soybeans, we’re still facing issues with pigweeds, and chopping has been necessary in places. A portion of our soybeans — especially the wheat beans — haven’t had a shot of herbicide yet. The corn is at dent and we’re 3 or 4 weeks from cutting water.”

Dale Wells, Ind. Cotton Services, Inc., Leachville, Arkansas:

“The total from Barry was 2.5 inches and it came in the form of a good soaking rain. Hopefully, the system will move out fast enough that we won’t have too much cloudy weather that would trigger square loss.

“Cotton is coming on well. We’ve sporadically treated plant bugs and have stayed on top of herbicide application, so cotton has turned around from what had been a weedy, late mess.

“Pix applications started last week – generally, 16 to 20 ounces per acre, and it went out even where we weren’t treating plant bugs. We needed to shorten the internodes and it was time to slow down the plants.

“We haven’t seen the bollworm activity we’d normally expect (as of 7/15).

“In corn, everything has been treated with a fungicide and Afla-Guard. With the storm, we were worried that southern rust might explode, so we put a priority on making that fungicide application. The vast majority of our soybeans are so late that they haven’t begun flowering.

“Our peanuts are beginning to look good. They’ll be later this year, and we’ll need a good fall to get everything out.”

Tucker Miller, Ind. Consultant, Drew, Mississippi: 

“We got 1.5 to 2.5 inches of rain out of Barry. We’d started irrigating our older cotton, so the system saved us some pumping costs. Our cotton looks decent, although we’ve got varying ages: 18 nodes down to 10 nodes, and some of our late cotton is still 10 days from bloom. If it’s a decent harvest season, we should be okay.

“Insect haven’t been a problem yet. We actually sprayed Pix in places by itself without including an insecticide in the tank. Last week, we treated plant bugs and aphids in certain areas but have yet to see many bollworm moths.

“We anticipate a flight but haven’t found eggs yet. There’s a full moon this week, and that’s when the flight usually occurs.


“Our soybeans are at R4 and we’ve sprayed a few fields for stink bugs, mostly greens and browns. We worry about redbanded stink bugs but haven’t had to treat them yet. A good many of our soybeans were planted late, and we’ll be on the lookout for bollworms in those fields next week.”

Keith Collins, Extension Agent, Richland, Ouachita and Franklin Parishes, Rayville, Louisiana:

“The storms have rolled through and we’re actually receiving some welcomed sunshine in northeast Louisiana. Barry gave us 2 to 3 inches of rain and it was a slow, soaking event. I understand that other areas in this part of the state did receive heavier amounts, from 6 to 7 inches.

“A large percentage of our cotton is now setting bolls and Pix management is the focus. We’d started irrigating cotton last week, so these latest rains hit us just right.

“We’ve treated on a wider basis for aphids than in the past several years and are running into plant bug issues as cotton reaches the second or third week of bloom. Bollworm trap counts have been low for this time of year, but we expect them to pick up as corn begins drying down.

“Rains hit our soybeans at a good time and they seem to be podding up well. We have beans planted all the way to the first week of July. After such a mild winter, everyone was expecting heavy redbanded stink bug numbers but I’ve only caught 2 all season. Around R5 is when they normally show up in northeast Louisiana and we’re not there yet.”

Dennis Reginelli, Area Extension Agent and Agronomist (Retired), East-Central Mississippi:

“Rainfall total from Barry ranged from 1 to 6 inches. Hopefully, all the rain won’t trigger much fruit shed in the cotton. We are fighting plant bugs and aphids in places. Folks are also applying plant growth regulators to hold growth in check.”

Phillip McKibben, McKibben Ag Services, Mathiston, Mississippi: 

“We’re just starting to dry out from Barry. Obviously, our dryland crops now have plenty of moisture. We knew the rains were coming so we made last-minute Pix applications in fields where it had been 10 days or longer since the last application. We also made preventive treatments for plant bugs where we knew we couldn’t get in the field again for a week.

“Our cotton looks good and most is in the second week of bloom, with our oldest in the fourth week. We haven’t seen bollworm moths yet. Last week, we flushed a moth – literally a single moth all week.

“We’ve been able to keep weeds under control in cotton and are still touching up late-planted soybeans. It’s been a challenge with all the rain.

“We also work sweet potatoes. Roundup drift turned up earlier in the year and we are still monitoring it closely and are attempting to track recovery through hyperspectral imagery. This week, dicamba drift injury appeared on almost 2,000 acres of sweet potatoes, and some of it looks serious. We need the auxin technology, but it is difficult to coordinate the planting of all of the crops and still maintain good relationships with our neighbors. And good relationships are so important going into the future.

“Our corn is well into dent. We haven’t had to water corn much this year and yield potential looks good.

“We picked up some redbanded stink bugs last week. That’s about when they first showed up 4 years ago. We don’t foresee a big problem with them this year.”

Sebe Brown, Louisiana Extension Field Crops Entomologist: 

“Soils are saturated across much of Louisiana. Areas from Alexandria south received at least a foot of rain. In central Louisiana, about 7 inches have fallen (as of 7/16) and it’s still coming down. A few fields went under water and it’ll take a while for them to drain off.

“With the cloudy weather and the sheer amount of rainfall, fruit is shedding. We’re still fighting plant bugs. Bollworm egg laying has been very slow and the expected numbers haven’t materialized, at least not yet.

“In soybeans, redbanded stink bugs are still hanging around and growers are spraying all over the state. Numbers aren’t huge because no one is allowing them to get above threshold.”

Gary Wolfe, La-Ark Agricultural Consulting, Ida, Louisiana: 

“Our cotton is quiet right now. Plant bug and moth activity have been slow. We are making plant bug applications and are adding pyrethroids. We missed the rains from Barry and, in fact, actually need rain here in northwest Louisiana.

“The cotton crop is incredibly strung out in terms of planting dates. Maybe 25% looks great, 50% looks average and 25% is poor. As far as weeds go, our fields are clean. I’m sure wondering how this late crop will turn out on the back end.”

Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee:

“It’s rained a good deal in West Tennessee, from 1 inch to 5 inches with some flooding, and that’s hampered field work. Plant bugs appear to be rather light. Adults are moving into cotton but that’s happening late. I suspect this is due to wet weather keeping wild hosts green enough to hold populations longer.

“The bollworm moth flight hasn’t kicked off yet and counts were very low last week.

“We’re beginning to hear reports of target spot. That’s to be expected after 4 or 5 days of cloudy weather. I expect there will be some spraying for that. Look for it in tight, closed canopies.”

Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist: 

“Aphids are still present in some of our cotton, although populations are crashing in a few areas. In my aphid trials, numbers are falling off hard in places, and rains across the state may have helped speed that along.


“Our bollworm flight is taking shape, with threshold numbers of eggs being reported. That’s mainly in the south Delta below the U.S. 82 corridor. North of U.S. 82, folks are starting to flush moths, so we can expect to see more eggs there soon.

“Plant bugs numbers range from above threshold to almost nonexistent. Even in places in the Delta that are traditional hotspots, plant bug numbers are low, although I suspect that will change quickly.”

Eddy Cates, Cates Agritech Inc., Marion, Arkansas:

“Our cotton is primarily at first bloom. We’ve received around 4.5 inches of rain in the last 3 days, so everything is saturated. We’ve been spraying for plant bugs and also treated several fields for spider mites. Plenty of Pix is being applied, too.

“We’re hearing about a bollworm moth flight south of us. We’re normally due for bollworms about July 20, so we’re right on schedule.

“We’re scouting 1,200 acres of peanuts this year and those are into pod development. So far, we have made 1 fungicide application for early leaf spot. No insect activity in the peanuts and we hope things remain calm.”

Trey Bullock, Bullock’s Ag Consulting, Hattiesburg, Mississippi:

“It really got dry last week. Up until then, it had rained about an inch every week. But when it quit raining and the heat index jumped above 100, you could just about watch the cotton burning up. The hurricane (Barry) really saved us. The rain sure helped and we also didn’t have enough wind to hurt.

“Like everyone else, our cotton is all over the board – from maybe the fifth node to fields at 20 nodes and trying to cut out.

“Our biggest problem has been aphids, and I’ve never seen anything quite like this. We might be in a 100-acre field on a Thursday and put on the report ‘light aphids’ or ‘a few aphids,’ but then come back Monday and find them on 100% of the plants and with honeydew showing. It’s been amazing how quickly they’ve developed this year.

“We’ve done okay controlling them, but yesterday (7/16) I was already finding aphids in several fields that we treated about 10 days ago. Over the last 3 or 4 years, the fungus hasn’t been as reliable as in the past.

“I found the season’s first fungus in Lawrence County last week. I rode through there on my way to Port Gibson today (6/17). I spot-checked a couple of fields where it hadn’t been present last week and did find the fungus on that cotton this morning. So far, though, the fungus hasn’t developed in cotton in any of the other 18 counties where I work.

“We started picking up bollworm eggs last week and we did end up spraying worms in about 1,300 acres of cotton in Claiborne County today.

“Our peanuts look good. Like cotton, peanuts are all over the board from 45 days old today to fields at 90 days.”

Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist: 

“Despite the rain, spider mites are flaring in cotton. We saw fields today (7/17) in northeast Arkansas with extremely high populations. So if you come across any spider mite symptoms, pull out your lens and take a hard look.

“Bollworm moths are turning up in the south Delta. We should hit at least a few egg thresholds in that area this week. What’s most concerning are reports from Mississippi about worms going through 3-gene corn. In Texas, worms are reportedly reaching treatable levels in 3-gene cotton. We’re not in a panic but everyone sure needs to scout their 3-gene cotton for worms.

“Anyone who sees bollworms in their dual-gene or 3-gene cotton, please let us know. It’s important to get the word out. Also, plant bug numbers are still building in places.

“We’ve seen some cotton in the last week that is growing funny for lack of a better way of putting it. This is weird, funky growth with loss of terminal dominance, twisted petioles and swollen nodes, among other things. On many plants, there’s little or no fruit.

“That’s a somewhat vague description, but we’re finding a good deal of variability in how these plants look. This is happening on multiple varieties and in various rotational patterns.

“If you’re finding something along these lines, immediately contact your county ag agent. He or she can forward your report to the people who are looking into this.

“In soybeans, a weird thing is happening. Winds from the south have blown many bollworms and other pests from the western side of Arkansas into Oklahoma and even into Kansas. In those states, they’re finding a complex of garden webworms and high numbers of earworms on V3 to V4 soybeans.

“The redbanded stink bug keeps creeping north. We haven’t found any at treatment levels but that will probably happen in the southern half of the state in the next week.”

“We’ve had growers with cotton beginning to square along with cotton still at cotyledon. That’s a crazy difference in age “
“I have seen prickly sida escape dicamba tankmixed with glyphosate in some research here at the station as well. This appears to have been a building problem as I recall similar, though fewer, calls last year.”
“While this is late relatively speaking, in 2013 we planted a large portion of our crop after May 20, and our state average yield was 1,203 pounds per acre,.”
When factors warrant a fungicide application, later fungicide application timings had the best probability of decreasing defoliation and protecting yield.
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Mississippi Extension entomologists discuss spider mite pressure and options, plus rainfastness of applications when plenty of rain continues to fall.
Richard Griffing, Griffing Consulting, LLC, Monterey, Louisiana, tweeted this shot that clearly indicates bollworm moths are active.
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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