Texas West Plains Cotton: All Quiet on the Insect Front

I began finding blooms and small bolls on Monday, July 15, mostly in Cochran County. Plant mapping data indicates that area cotton is going into bloom with 8.5 nodes above white flower.

This places first bloom in most fields near July 25, with remaining fields hitting first bloom sometime in August. Just recall that August 20 is the date when we can say with some confidence that a boll formed on that day will have time to mature out. Blooms formed after that point the odds of it having time to mature out decrease greatly.

We can also look at it from this angle. A square takes about 30 days to make a flower. If that flower needs to be formed by August 20th then any squares formed after tomorrow, July 20th, do not have much chance to contribute to yield.

What squares you see on the plant tomorrow is basically your crop. Protect it!

It remains very quiet currently on the cotton insect front. I would continue to watch for fleahoppers. The scouts and I are not finding Lygus, but I have seen many clusters of sink bug eggs. Be sure to keep an eye out for worm pests.

I did find some 1-2-day old bollworms earlier in the week. They did not have a chance though with the number of spiders in those fields. As time goes survival will most assuredly increase.

My priority list for this upcoming week:

  • Keep close watch out for fleahoppers on young squaring cotton; and Lygus, stink bugs, and worms on everything.
  • Stay on top of weed control. Cultivate, hoe, spot spray whatever it takes to keep the pigweed from going to seed. It’s a numbers game.
  • Let’s get all fertilizer in place before the end of this month. This applies even to late cotton. Late fertilizer applications will only delay maturity.
  • Look at the top 3-4 nodes on your cotton, if longer than 1.5″ consider additional plant growth regulator. Call and we can visit more about this.
  • So maybe not a to-do priority but a comment back on this weed control issue. I know we have had a hard time finding good days to spray, and it has caused us to delay applications to the point where weeds are much larger than we would like them to be. The picture to the left tells the story of how resistance develops. No doubt we have killed many of the pigweed and other species, but there are several that are not mortally injured and will most likely produce viable seed in near future. This technology cannot survive long under these conditions.

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