“Every insect we’ve dealt with in cotton this year has been to the extreme side: thrips, plant bugs, aphids, stink bugs. This is going to be the most expensive crop I’ve ever been involved with – and with some of the lowest market prices.”
“In peanuts, more tomato spotted wilt virus has turned up than we have had in a long time. Of course, stands were skippier than normal for a number of reasons. For one thing, seed vigor isn’t what we previously expected, plus we planted deeper to get to moisture and then conditions turned dry early on.
“In corn, we’re not fully at black layer yet, but soil moisture is good enough to carry us to it. We are finding rust. It’s not everywhere, but it is coming to the top. We are treating fields that need a fungicide to maintain stalk strength. Fingers crossed – I think this is going to be a good corn year for us.”
Dominic Reisig, NCSU Extension Specialist, Entomology, Plymouth, North Carolina:
“Crop conditions are looking up in our Blacklands, but the season is a little dicey on the Coastal Plain and the Piedmont.
“Our bollworm flight started. If there is a ‘normal’ for when it begins, this is a little early but no one is reporting crazy-high egg lays this week. It’s probably best to let the Bts work. Growers can be a bit looser on the broad-spectrum pesticides when they have the 3-toxin varieties. In an insecticide trial we did, even when there was damage, there was no yield benefit to spraying 3-toxin cotton.
“Just scout and follow our thresholds. We have them for a reason.
“Growers with multiple pests who want to clean up the field can wait until the fifth week of bloom, go out with a heavy hitter-type material and clean up the stink bugs and plant bugs. The grower will likely be done for the season. That said, we can never walk away from it. Keep scouting.
“In soybean, stink bug pressure is spotty. Pay attention to stink bugs from pods to R6 or R7. At R7 you probably can double your threshold and still be okay. At R8, you can stop worrying about stink bugs altogether.”
John D. Beasley, South Georgia Crop Services, Inc., Screven, Georgia:
“Rains have been spotty, but most everything is holding up.
“The fungus wiped out our aphids. We do have stink bugs and they’re heavier than normal but aren’t widespread. But where we have them, the numbers are high and they’re mostly browns, so we have to treat. Spider mite pressure is lower. Whiteflies are in the area, but nothing alarming, and we’re watching those. So far, we haven’t treated any worms. We are right in the start of a corn earworm flight.
“We sprayed a few fields for target spot, mostly irrigated land where the cotton is getting big and we saw target spot low in the canopy. We have a good cotton crop coming, I think. At 60 cents, we’ll sure have to have a good crop.”
“In peanuts, several foliage feeder species are present and we’re treating where it’s needed. White mold is showing up here and there, but nothing out of the ordinary.”
Richard Davis, Davis Ag Consulting, Montgomery, Alabama:
“Good rain fell on all our cotton, anywhere from about 0.6 to 2 inches.
“Aphids have completely crashed. We are beginning to pick up stink bugs and finding some damage. We started spraying older fields this week. As this corn dries down, we do expect heavy stink bug pressure.
“I’m mostly basing treatment decisions on damage. Of the adults I’ve seen, most are browns. A bollworm moth flight started last week, but we are not picking up anything. I have mostly 2-gene cotton and it is fruiting heavily right now. It has real promise, provided timely rains continue.”
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 but we 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 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.”
Ron Smith, Alabama Extension Entomologist:
“Plant bugs — both adults and immatures – are in the system, as well as stink bugs, and they all need to be cleaned up. Farmers aren’t anxious to take that step because they see a lot of beneficials out there, but it’s time to decide – are you going to set fruit or protect beneficials? We simply can’t keep these bugs in the system any longer.