“Cotton tends to compensate for poorly performing neighbors, so that is also part of the equation. Continue checking for it.
“In peanuts, keep your eyes open for peanut rust because it has been reported in Georgia. Growers may need to shorten up their spray intervals and confirm they have products in their program that are effective against peanut rust. It’s a disease that can get out of hand.”
Brad Smith, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Selma, Alabama:
“We accumulated plenty of heat units in the last 10 days, and it’s been dry. I ran a water hose at home for 30 minutes this morning and didn’t accumulate any surface water. We could start defoliating 5% to 10% of the cotton next week. If it rains to any extent, insect scouting will still be required in the later planted cotton. Insect pressure has been incredibly light this season, but we need to stay on guard.
“Insect pressure remains low in soybeans, but the hot, dry weather isn’t doing our soybean acres any good. We will start desiccating Group IVs in the next couple of weeks. Yield will depend on whether it rains this week. Some Group Vs planted on dryland received rain, so they might make 35 to bu/acre. Yield this season is going to be all about planting date.
“Dryland corn, which is most of our acreage, is disappointing. Yields are 75 to 125 bu/acre. Irrigated corn looks really good, with yields around 200 to 225 bu/acre. Depending on the field, that corn was irrigated eight to twelve times, making it an expensive crop.
Dominic Reisig, NCSU Extension Specialist, Entomology, Plymouth, North Carolina:
“Insect activity is picking up. In cotton, we’re expecting our biggest moth flight later this month or in early September. We’re also hoping they will behave normally, which means they won’t materialize in the field.
“Corn growers in eastern North Carolina, including our Blacklands region, are encountering an increasing level of problems with Southern corn billbug. It was a major yield-limiting pest about 20 years ago but then disappeared with the advent of neonicotinoids. Now, they reemerged in areas where we have problems getting water off the field. We don’t have a plugin solution for billbugs. One grower is going to adjust his rotation and planting date.
“This is usually an early-season pest, which causing stunting and tillering. Now, though, the larvae are feeding in the bottom of the plant, which will lead to yield loss. It’s probably more widespread than we know. Where billbugs aren’t present in a field, that corn should yield well. That’s a reason they grow corn in eastern North Carolina: it’s good corn ground.
“People have called all season about maggots in corn. Essentially, they are not a corn pest and are harmlessly feeding on old residue in no-till fields.
“In soybeans, the dry weather seems to be triggering a small amount of lesser cornstalk borer activity, which is something we don’t see every year. An assortment of foliage feeders is present. Loopers are moving in early, and one grower had to treat kudzu bugs, which also hasn’t happened in many years. We’re not treating every acre and plenty of areas have no pressure at all, but heavy and unusual problems have developed in spots.”
Jack Royal, Royal’s Agricultural Consulting Co., Inc., Leary, Georgia:
“We are in a Catch 22 situation. We have dry pockets that need rain but also have fields in the eighth or ninth week of bloom that are starting to open, and we don’t want the kind of rain that could prompt boll rot. About 80% of the crop is in the sixth to ninth week of bloom and 10% to 15% is in the second or third week of bloom, with a small percentage is in between those two.
“Most of the bolls are too big for stink bugs to hurt. We haven’t sprayed any cotton with a fungicide and still haven’t seen any disease. Plants have set a good crop, and we hope nothing comes in and busts us up like the hurricane (Michael) did last year.
“In peanuts, dryland acres are suffering, and irrigated fields look good. Most of our acres are on a strong fungicide schedule with premium products. With the pressure we have, you better put out a premium fungicide. We treated 60% to 70% of our peanut acres for foliage feeders – corn earworm, velvetbean caterpillar and a few loopers.
“We sprayed very little up until the last two weeks. We’re using a good bit of the diamide chemistry that gives us long residual, and that should carry us to the end of the season.
“Corn is yielding around 225 to 275 bu/acre, with the yield varying with irrigation capabilities. The majority of our corn went into grain bins, and we’ll hold it until this fall and hope prices improve. If you’re in corn production for the long haul, you definitely need to put it in grain bins. A lot of corn sells out of bins in December or January at higher prices than you can get selling at harvest.”
Bryce Sutherland, Extension Agent, Worth County, Georgia:
“We are about 10 days from defoliating our oldest cotton, which is about 10% to 15% of our acres. We planted more than 20% of our crop in April this year, which is earlier than usual. The whole crop is running two to three weeks ahead because of the heat.
“In a good deal of our younger fields, we are battling stink bugs, and more fields are reaching threshold for silver leaf whiteflies. With the right timing for a whitefly treatment, we might make it to the end of the season with a single spray. If stink bugs are at threshold, we need to consider whitefly pressure when we decide whether to spray those.
“In peanuts, we started maturity clinics this week. The crop is clearly stressed, and vine decline is becoming apparent in a small percentage of acres. White mold is prevalent, but strong spray programs are managing the disease.