Cotton – Midsouth – More Twisted Plant Growth, Insects Build – AgFax

    ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

    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.


    Oddly growing plants continue to be reported. Symptoms include aborted terminals, tangled branches and lost fruit set.

    The late-planted Midsouth cotton crop is finding its feet. Much of our coverage area received ample rainfall from the short-lived hurricane, Barry. Most amounts were manageable and generally needed. In isolated spots, too much rain fell. On the western side of Louisiana, farmers needed rain but Barry shorted them.

    Widespread bollworm numbers have yet to materialize, but spot spraying has been necessary. In particular, more egg laying is taking place in north Mississippi.

    Plant bugs are picking up, especially in fields near corn. Stink bugs have demanded attention in places, too.

    In soybeans, redbanded stink bugs haven’t made a strong move outside of Louisiana, but entomologists warn that the threat remains.



    Bob Griffin, Griffin Ag Consulting, Jonesboro, Arkansas:

    “Cotton has perked up. Things are still very wet after 4 or 5 inches of rain from Barry. Even so, it’s drying out quickly and cotton may need watering by the end of the week.

    “We haven’t seen any bollworms but have been finding eggs since the end of last week. Numbers aren’t large, but I suspect that treatments are imminent.

    “We are treating plant bugs in cotton, although I also have cotton that’s gone through bloom and hasn’t had to be sprayed for plant bugs yet. We’ve used Transform in certain places where we found aphids in conjunction with plant bugs. Spider mites have not been a problem.

    “We’ve controlled growth with Pix. The oldest cotton is 6 nodes above white flower and the youngest has yet to bloom, although that young crop should be blooming by week’s end.

    “We haven’t seen southern rust in corn. The ears appear to have filled out well. The oldest corn is at 30% starch line and the youngest should be at dough stage this week.

    “The oldest soybeans are at R-5 and the youngest have just begun blooming. Automatic fungicides have been going out on several fields at R-3.5. Green sting bugs along with a few browns are present in older fields, although not enough to treat. No redbanded stink bugs, yet. If I found 4 or 5 per 25 sweeps, I’d be treating.”

    Ty Edwards, Edwards Ag Consulting, LLC, Water Valley, Mississippi: 

    “Only a small number of cotton acres aren’t blooming yet and the crop is fine, overall. It’s hard to describe, but we’ve picked up some random, crazy-looking cotton over the last few weeks. Those fields have weirdly aborted terminals and lost fruiting sites. In places, this is happening with as much as 25% of the plants in the field.

    “Most of the time, cotton grows out of strange conditions, but this seems to be an exception. In certain cases, it looks like someone burned the fruiting sites off the branch with a torch when they were very young. Other plants don’t have a single square, boll or flower. Meanwhile, the plant next to it has 100% retention.

    “In severe cases, terminals were aborted at varying points on the plant and it ends up with a severe mass of tangled, twisted limbs.

    “It’s odd because a lot of the plants look normal until pulled up for examination. It isn’t herbicide damage, and I’ve ruled out about everything else. I don’t think I’m the only one seeing this. Unfortunately, it seems to be widespread, something physiologically wrong. The only correlation I can identify is that this is mainly appearing in fuller-season varieties.

    “Our moisture situation is excessive. We got 3.5 to 4 inches of rain out of Barry along with another 2 inches in the last 2 days.

    “We’re still dealing with light, steady plant bug pressure. Stink bugs are present in the older cotton that has a boll-load at the bottom. It’s about an even number of browns and greens, and we have had to spray several fields twice.”

    Steve Schutz, Ind. Consultant, Coushatta, Louisiana:

    “Rank growth is our biggest problem, and that’s in cotton where we couldn’t apply Pix at pinhead square.

    “Aphids and spider mites are around, but we haven’t had to treat. Pests have been consistent but not overwhelming.

    “Nearly every acre of soybeans at R-4 to R-5 in the Natchitoches-Shreveport area is being treated for redbanded stink bugs. The numbers aren’t extremely high – about 2 to 5 per 25 sweeps, which is near the bottom of the threshold. We hit a hot spot occasionally with 10 per 25. That’s nothing like a couple of years ago when they were running 20 and 30.


    “Hurricane Barry gave us hardly anything. We wanted 2 inches of rain but received two-tenths.   

    “We have corn at black layer, although in southwest Arkansas a good deal of the corn is still young. We’re spraying a few milo fields for bollworms in north Bossier Parish.”

    Scott Gifford, Gifford Crop Consulting, Manila, Arkansas:

    “Plant bug numbers have picked up in cotton, and we’re treating a number of fields, although we aren’t treating for bollworms. Even with so much rain, we’ve had to spray several fields for spider mites – and it seems to be the same fields where they’re an issue every year.

    “We haven’t completely dried up from Hurricane Barry. The turn rows were drying up but then another 1.5-inches of rain fell today (7/22).

    “In soybeans, we’re finding many more loopers but nothing at treatment level. We’re picking up brown and green stink bugs, and we are waiting to see if we need to spray. Corn earworms are present in soybeans that range from bloom to R-5.”

    Bill Brooks, Mid-South Farmers Cooperative, Alamo, Tennessee:   

    “I’m pleased with the cotton even after the storm (Barry) dumped 4 to 6 inches of rain across a wide area. But no flooding occurred because that rain fell over a 3-day period.

    “We are trying to control growth with Pix and are beginning to see a natural fruit shed. The crop ranges from the second week of bloom to 6 to 7 nodes above white flower.

    “Applications have gone out for plant bugs and we’re waiting for the bollworm flight, which usually begins at the end of July and into early August. 

    “We have a clean cotton crop as far as weeds go. It was a rocky start with residual applications and dodging May weather, but we’ve still done well with the pigweeds.

    “A lot of corn is well into dent, and we’ve put out fungicides. Corn has certainly benefited from the weather. It still has kernel-fill ahead of it, but the rains have set it up for success. We should begin harvesting corn in the last week of August.”

    Joel Moor, Moor Ag Services, LLC, Indianola, Mississippi:

    “Cotton is between 12 and 20 nodes, with weeds cleaned up and layby completed. We began spraying for bollworms after finding eggs last Friday. Our threshold on the Bollgard 2-gene cotton is 20% eggs. So, folks are lining up to spray whenever the rains finally pass. We haven’t had to spray any Bollgard 3.

    “Plant bugs have been spotty. We’re starting to find them in cotton adjacent to corn. Corn planting dates were so sporadic that we have to really watch the cotton field borders. We’ve been piggybacking those sprays with Pix. Most often, that’s the way we do it, but this year we’ve also applied Pix alone. The rains and low bug pressure have dictated much of that.

    “Soybeans are between R-3 and R-5. A few bollworms are in the crop, and I found two redbanded stink bugs this morning – the first we’ve seen.”

    Ashley Peters, Peters Crop Consulting, Crowville, Louisiana:

    “We’re spraying plant bugs and doing Pix work on cotton that’s trying to cut out. A bit more bollworm pressure has developed, and we’re treating a few fields.

    “Hurricane Barry was tough on one grower in Tensas Parish who received 5 to 6 inches of rain. Other than that, amounts were in the 1- to 3-inch range. That gave our corn and soybeans a nice drink. With one more solid rain, we also won’t have to irrigate our older cotton again.

    “Most of the corn is done, although we do have a few young, replanted fields. The crop is shutting down quickly and it won’t be long before combines are running.

    “Soybeans range from just at bloom to R-5. We’re picking up a few redbanded stink bugs but haven’t had to spray. That will likely change in the next 7 to 10 days. We sprayed bollworms this week in places.”

    Andy Tonos, Delta Ag Consulting, Greenville, Mississippi:

    “Plant bug numbers have been steady and some treatments are going out for sporadic bollworm eggs. The moth flight is later this year, probably because the corn maturity is also a bit later.

    “There’s not much cotton in this area anymore. Those who did plant this year may be unhappy because the price fell.

    “The rains from Hurricane Barry were spread out over 3 or 4 days, so the crops weren’t hurt, and growers aren’t irrigating anything this week.


    “Right now, grass is our problem child. The dicamba plus glyphosate treatment hasn’t performed well on barnyardgrass in cotton and soybeans. We’re trying to come up with a solution.

    “We’ve had to spray the low ends of soybean fields for pod worms. Guys say ‘Most of those low ends are replants and now the worms are costing me more money.’ The rest of the fields are pod-heavy all the way to the top, with no pest pressure. In the lush replants, though, the moths have found a home.”

    Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee:

    “Plant bugs are picking up considerably and more treatments are needed. Although some scouts and consultants are reporting bollworm moths, it doesn’t appear that much of a flight has started yet. That should come in another week.

    “A big question has been about rain fastness, although I do think we’re out of a rainy window for at least a few days.

    “Some early soybean fields are hitting stink bug thresholds. In places, defoliation levels exceeded 20%. So, treatments went out in the earliest beans, particularly those at R-5 and beyond.”

    Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist:

    “The bollworm flight is picking up in a broader area. Bollworm treatments have either been made or scheduled in much of the Delta and in our hill cotton. Corn planting was extremely spread out, so we could see an extended flight. 

    “Pressure varies. Bollworm eggs might be covering cotton a mile down the road from you, but that doesn’t mean they are in your field. Many growers are worried that they’re missing them, but it’s normal to see different levels of pressure, even within close proximity.

    “Plant bugs are taking a back seat to the worm applications. Still, we can find plant bug hotspots, even with low counts in other areas. Things can change quickly, though, and usually do at this time of the year.

    “The northwest Delta seems to be a hotspot for spider mites, and that’s meant multiple applications in problem fields. If spider mites are an issue, consider rotating chemistries.

    “We’re spraying for bollworms in Delta soybeans. In the last 5 days, bollworm numbers picked up. In low-count bollworm fields, some folks are trying the virus, Heligen. We’ve had good luck with the virus when used on smaller worms. Where numbers are higher, people are using Intrepid Edge or Prevathon.

    “Redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) are more consistent in the south Delta. With such a late-planted soybean crop, RBSB will become a much more interesting story in the coming weeks.”

    Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist:

    “Bollworms are now moving through Arkansas cotton from Jefferson County south. We’re hitting threshold with eggs at 20% to 25%. Traps are very busy, and last night one trap caught over 200 moths.

    “Late corn and weeds are drying down, which is causing an influx of plant bugs. My untreated check plots in Marianna are running about 15 to 20 per 10 row feet compared to the threshold at 3 per 5 row feet. Control has been good, and we’re maintaining the square set.

    “Two peopled called today (7/24) about redbanded stink bugs in soybeans. In one case, immatures were in beans around Pine Bluff, so they’re moving north.

    “Bollworms are also going to soybeans and are triggering applications. Heligen works well and it’s been going out on many acres.”

    If the US crop gets larger, that’s not altogether a bad thing (it’s a good thing from a farm level production standpoint)—but it would place more emphasis on strong demand and strong exports.
    U.S. cotton exports to China have fallen, along with domestic prices, while stocks climb.
    With a little luck, we should see developing bolls begin to slow vegetative growth in the coming weeks, but don’t expect that slowed growth to occur now.
    Typically, that period in the last two weeks of July and the first two weeks of August is a critical window to manage cotton insects. Plants are setting the bolls that will contribute most to yield, and it’s also when insects are most attracted to cotton. 
    More slippage is being reported in traited cotton in Texas. Reasons aren’t certain.
    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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