Cotton – Midsouth – First Defoliation Gearing Up – AgFax

    ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Images

    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.


    More bolls are opening, and a limited amount of defoliation might crank up this week in Louisiana (if it hasn’t already).

    Plant bugs and bollworms remain a concern in places. 

    Corn harvest continues across the southern portions of our coverage area, although rain has kept combines parked at times.

    Loopers have built in soybeans in certain areas. Bollworms and stink bugs also remain in the game.

    Rice harvest has started in the lower half of the Midsouth. Rice stink bugs are a problem where later fields remain vulnerable.


    In our links section this week, connect to:

    • Estimating Cotton Yields Based On Boll Counts: How to assess all the variables.
    • Glyphosate’s Effect On pH In Dicamba Spray Mixtures: Delving into volatility issues.
    • Mississippi – Insect Control Slippage This Year – An Overview. A podcast with three entomologists assesses 2019 outcomes.
    • Cotton Outlook – U.S. Production Predicted Higher. Compared to 2018, farmers in the Southwest kept more of what they planted.



    Steve Schutz, Ind. Consultant, Coushatta, Louisiana:

    “A bit of cotton is opening, and the crop looks good. A few bollworms are around, but plant bugs are the main thing that has triggered any treatments.

    “Corn harvest is underway, and yields are about average, which we expected. Nobody is despondent and no one is posting screenshots of yield monitors on Facebook. Growers who are cutting corn are working around pop-up showers. That’s the big problem.

    “Some soybeans may be defoliated next week. Crop maturity isn’t uniform. We’ve sprayed redbanded stink bugs in places, but they haven’t hit the soybeans as hard as we’ve seen in the past. For the first time, kudzu bugs prompted a treatment in a field in north Caddo Parish. Aerial blight hasn’t blown up yet, and soybean disease pressure is light.”

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

    “Overall, the cotton has fruited up very well, and we are finding bolls opening in older cotton planted in late April and the first week of May. We planted the remainder of the crop in mid-May, so we do have a gap, and we probably will have to respray the late cotton for plant bugs.

    “Our growers have had to irrigate some fields lately but not across the entire area. Yesterday (8/18), 2.5 inches of rain fell in Indianola and an area north of town received 5 inches. But in Glendora, only a brief shower came through, and that’s where they’ve watered. I don’t like to water down the row this late in August.

    “We sprayed bollworms twice in one field. Otherwise, our cotton has had a single treatment, and that was several weeks ago. The number of eggs has dwindled since then.

    “Where growers mowed turnrows, spider mites are nearly everywhere. They’ll move from the grass into field edges and then start working their way deeper into the field.

    “So far, corn yields are average. Some operations are waiting for moisture levels to come down a bit more before starting to cut.

    “We sprayed several older soybean fields for stink bugs, but not redbanded stink bugs. Many of our younger beans have been treated for bollworms. Disease pressure has been very low, and disease resistance is holding up well.”


    Bob Griffin, Griffin Ag Consulting, Jonesboro, Arkansas:

    “We’re finishing up a good-looking cotton crop. In another two weeks, most of the fields won’t have time to make any more bolls.

    “Over the last 3 weeks, we’ve treated most of the Bollgard 2 and WideStrike for bollworms. That provided very good control, although a few areas received a bit too much damage. We treated a few fields of WideStrike 3 where we found 50%-plus egg lay.  

    “Overall, we’re tidying up. Pix is going out in very late cotton, and we’ve treated a few fields for plant bugs. Spider mites are around field edges. Worms are light, and the flight seems to have moved away.

    “Soybeans range from R-4 through R-6. We’ll begin letting go of some fields after this week. We’ve been treating green and brown stink bugs and also sprayed bollworms a week ago in later beans that hadn’t lapped. Only a few soybean fields were planted in early April, and those are about ready for harvest. We’ll cut the first corn samples this week, and I expect the crop to turn out well.”


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

    “Most of the cotton is winding down, and we’ve released 25% to 30% of it. We’re finding open bolls in the bottom. The rest of the crop is getting close, and only a few plant bug/stink bug shots went out lately.

    “I hope we won’t have to deal with bollworms again. However, I did spray a few fields in the hills for bollworms for the first time.


    “The boll load looks good. Plants have shed a portion of the top crop. But that seemed likely because they already were carrying such a good boll load below. I suspect that the crazy amounts of Pix we were applying during all the earlier rain had something to do with that.

    “The gin I manage will probably crank up in a month. We initially need enough available cotton so that we aren’t forced to stop and start. But I do think we’ll be able to begin ginning a bit earlier than usual. We usually start between October 1 and 10. This year, it appears we’ll start running in September.

    “In soybeans, we’ve sprayed 30% to 40% of our fields for podworms. In one area, I sprayed 1,500 acres for heavy looper activity. We also treated several fields in the Charleston area for stink bugs, and about a third of them were redbanded.”


    Ashley Peters, Peters Crop Consulting, Crowville, Louisiana:

    “Cotton is progressing quickly, with most fields between 1 to 5 nodes above white flower. The warm days and nights are pushing the crop. I’m pleased with cotton in certain spots but not in others. Several weeks ago, plants shed a lot of small boll shed. With such a wide range of maturity, it’s hard to tell how good yields will be. 

    “We made some final Pix applications and cleaned up plant bugs and stink bugs in places. Only a few treatments went out for spider mites, all in Tensas Parish. Bollworms have been quiet after Prevathon applications in the third and fourth weeks of July.

    “We may begin defoliation at the end of this week.

    “We’re about half done with cutting corn. Ridge-ground yields are respectable, heavier ground not so much. In soybeans, we’re 2 or 3 weeks away from making widespread harvest aid applications. We’re finding stink bugs in many beans at R-5.5.”


    Andy Tonos, Delta Ag Consulting, Greenville, Mississippi:

    “Our cotton ranges from 0 to 4 nodes above white flower. We’ve been spraying Pix and treating plant bugs and spider mites. We sprayed Prevathon once for an egg lay, and that’s kept the bollworms controlled.

    “With all the rains and cloudy weather, significant boll shed occurred, but the crop does appear to be sound.

    “We began cutting corn at the end of last week, but things shut down with the latest rains. Combines should start running again this week.

    “Except for 300 acres, we have drained all of our rice — some for 3 weeks. Farmers will cut samples this afternoon (8/19) and see what the moisture is.

    “Soybean fields range from good to poor, and stands lack uniformity in both maturity and yield potential. Some fields were planted too late, while others have had too much rain. We already could have desiccated several fields but rains prevented it.”


    Scott Gifford, Gifford Crop Consulting, Manila, Arkansas:

    “We turned loose some cotton last week and should be done with the majority of the crop this week. In places, though, bollworm and plant bug applications are likely.

    “Last week, a huge bollworm population developed in soybeans, and that was one of the toughest weeks in years. They weren’t as bad in R-5 and older beans. But in younger plants, worms were extremely heavy, especially if the crop hadn’t lapped the middles.

     “We’ve drained a few rice fields. By the end of next week, I expect to pull 50% of the boards. I’m pleased with the crop after fighting stink bugs in early fields. We’ve also fought grass since planting. Some of our later rice was heading during this latest heatwave, so we may see blanks.”


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

    “Overall, the cotton crop looks excellent, and some of our earliest planted cotton is beginning to change colors and get ‘that look’ of a mature crop. We’ve turned loose several fields that reached 350 DD-60s past 5 nodes above white flower. However, we’re still battling plant bugs and bollworms in places.


    “Treatments for bollworms began last week, and this week they are hot and heavy. The main focus now is protecting this crop as we approach the termination of insecticide applications. Plenty of late-May cotton is out there, which will keep us busy for a couple of more weeks.

    “Aphids built two weeks ago, but they aren’t a problem now. Spider mite treatments have been sporadic.

    “Some areas are beginning to get dry, although we haven’t seen much wilted cotton. An unexpected system moved through this weekend and brought needed rain to places. One area received 3 inches but other locations picked up only a trace.

    “We’ll begin corn harvest in August. Some of it hit black layer around August 5. Almost all fungicide spraying has wrapped up in soybeans. We’re scouting hard for corn earworms, but bean pests aren’t an issue right now.”


    Sebe Brown, Louisiana Extension Field Crops Entomologist:

    “Bolls are opening in early cotton. Defoliation is approaching, and we should see pickers in the field within 6 weeks. In places, cotton looks great, but I’ve also been in areas where it’s kind of scary. Plenty of boll shed occurred, and many growers are anxious to see what that will mean for yields. I do think it will end up being a decent crop.

    “We’re still tackling a few plant bugs and scattered bollworms.

    “We’re dry right now and have been rolling through corn harvest unabated for the last 10 days. Overall, most farmers are happy with the corn. Across dryland and irrigated, I’ve heard yields ranging from 160 to 250-plus bu/acre.

    “Stink bugs remain active in soybeans. Loopers are pushing northwards, and I expect more dedicated looper sprays in the next 7 to 10 days. Velvetbean caterpillars and green cloverworms are in the mix, as well.

    “Many guys are considering mixing acephate or Lannate with Gramoxone. Louisiana sets a 2-pound annual use limit for acephate. If a grower has reached his acephate limit, he can substitute Lannate in a defoliation shot. The rate on that is 16 ounces of Lannate, which is equal in efficacy to one pound of acephate.”


    Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist:

    “A significant portion of cotton is cutting out, and final sprays are lined up for plant bugs and straggling bollworms. A lesser percentage of the crop is still young. It’s been a crazy year for bollworms. I’ve been flushing moths since mid-July, and people are still calling about substantial egg lays in isolated spots.

    “We’re well into corn harvest and have cut some soybeans, too. The early-planted fields from both crops seem to be yielding well, but we have a long way to go with all those late beans.

    “Redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) are picking up in soybeans at late R5/R-6. Treatments are going out in places, and I expect those to increase. The forecast includes chances for rain every day over the next week, and RBSB and rain are a horrible combination due to potential insecticide wash off.”


    Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist:

    “Our cotton crop is almost done. The late crop is catching the brunt of problems with plant bugs and bollworms. If it’s still green, the moths are laying eggs in it. The latest heatwave has pushed the maturity of all the crops. It has been incredibly hot.

    “In R-5.5/R-6 soybeans, loopers and stink bugs – browns and greens — are blowing up. On the other hand, redbanded stink bug numbers are not increasing.

    “We’re also dealing with heavy bollworm pressure in the late-planted crop. The R-2/R-3 soybeans are taking the biggest bollworm punch. We saw fields yesterday (8/20) just beginning to bloom that already were at treatment level for bollworms. That’s a tight situation. If you shoot your insecticide bullet too early, you’ll run out of residual control.

    “Rice harvest started, and we’ve seen late movement of rice stink bugs (RSB) into the crop. It seems like RSB are moving into fields again when they are drained, and the bugs are at treatment level in nearly every field that is still green. Remember: don’t terminate insecticides until you hit 60% hard dough. Don’t end this season with pecky rice.”

    Understanding issues with estimating yields and defining the number of bolls required to produce one and two bales at various row spacings and patterns.
    “If pH is the main driver for dicamba volatility, then the substantial pH changes we’re seeing from the addition of glyphosate could have profound effects on volatility, as well as herbicide efficacy.”
    MSU entomologists Angus Catchot, Don Cook, and Jeff Gore sit down with Bobby Golden to discuss what has worked, what hasn’t worked and what you can accept as okay.
    With improved growing conditions this season in the Southwest — compared with a year ag0 — 2019 abandonment is projected to be significantly below last season and below the 5-year average.
    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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