Texas West Plains Cotton: Keep Watching for Aphids

Aphids on cotton leaf.

For some, August has brought some rain showers which have helped. While others have received nary a drop. So, this patchwork of wet and dry has made it difficult to say with certainty “this is what I would recommend”, especially on irrigation.

Fortunately, the heat has continued to drive the cotton to an end. Many fields are bolled to the top and have accumulated enough heat units (400) since 5 nodes above white flower (~August 5th) to make cotton safe from most insect pests this coming week (August 26-31).

However, and there is always a “however”, cotton aphids continue to be found in most area fields with some continuing to build in numbers, while others are declining rapidly. Most of these colonies have good beneficial insect activity. Keep close watch on these aphids. Check leaves from various parts of the field. Look at 50 leaves, first fully expanded leaf near top of plant, and 50 leaves near the middle of the plant. Average all the aphids you find.

At this point we are still using 40-70 aphids per leaf as the threshold. Once we have open cotton then that threshold is lowered to near 10 per leaf. Also, continue to watch for bollworms on cotton which still has more than 3 nodes above white flower. Stink bugs are still with us. I have started seeing both green and Conchuela stink bugs.

Cotton Insect Guide

On irrigation, we are still looking at some high temperature days next week. I would encourage you to stay with the water for another week, and then start pinching it back.

In peanuts we continue to closely monitor foliage diseases and pod health. Fields are still healthy and making good progress in pod fill. Try to keep peanuts freshened up on a regular basis. By next week a 1” irrigation on a weekly basis should be sufficient to prevent severe wilt to maintain vine health till harvest.

Corn and grain sorghum are all over the board in terms of development and maturity. Ensilage is being cut up in Lamb County now for near a week. Heat has been tough on pollinating corn. Mites continue to build in some corn acres, and sugarcane aphids should be monitored in sorghum. Some extreme numbers of corn leaf aphids have been reported in corn.


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