Ben McKnight, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Cotton Specialist, College Station:
“We’re in the field this morning (5/11) planting research trials west of College Station across the Brazos River. Overall, cotton is coming up. We’re probably at 2 true leaves on many fields, while earlier fields have progressed a little more.
“There are reports of thrips in the region, but we’ve seen none on the research farm. Weed control appears to be good. With rain forecast for later this week, we’ll likely see flushes of pigweed and grasses in areas where there were no pre-emerge herbicides applied.”
Gary Beverage, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Artesia, New Mexico/Southwest Texas:
“We’re 40 to 50% planted. Ground temps are 60-plus degrees, which is promising for the rest of our planting season. The stands we have look good. It’s a little early for thrips, but I’m seeing them in chili peppers and other crops. There are a few armyworms, and we had a good cutworm moth flight.
“Most guys applied pre-plant burndowns. But there is potential for weed problems due to heavy winter moisture.
“I feel fairly comfortable about the crop, even though cotton acres will be down about 10-15%. Last year we had issues with seed quality, but seed seems better this year.”
John David Gonzales, Director of Agronomy, Parmer County Cotton Growers, Inc.:
“We wrapped up planting early corn and moved to cotton in late April. Temperatures were warm and we had a good soil profile. The earliest plants are coming up now. Overall, we’re about 80% planted and have a good stand.
“Growers are watching for soil pests and thrips. Also, with sandy soils and heavy organic matter after being planted behind corn or sorghum last year, it’s a perfect storm for seed corn maggots. They are nipping at cotton seedings. Wireworms are also a concern. We’re picking them up where cotton followed wheat. They should be monitored, especially on untreated seed.
“Weed control looks good. With little moisture and guys burning-down early, everything is fairly clean.”
Kate Crumley, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Jackson, Wharton & Matagorda Counties:
“The Upper Coast is a little dry. Cotton is looking okay, even though there are a few places where it appears rough due to dry weather.
“Lack of rain has helped hold weeds back. Only two fields I watch have bad weed situations, particularly where guys didn’t have time to get pre-emerges applied. There are also patches of henbit and a few grass species.
“I’m scouting for fleahoppers today (5/11). That’s my main concern. There haven’t been high numbers, but fleahoppers are there, as well as aphids. When scouting, I check about 25 plants per stop in a field. The threshold is 15 to 25 fleahoppers per 100 plants. Growers should check plants once they start squaring.
“The aphid threshold is 50 aphids per leaf. I remind growers that fleahopper nymphs are the size of aphids, but are much more mobile. I’ve seen quite a few ladybugs, pirate bugs, and other beneficials that should help hold aphid numbers down.
“Corn in the Upper Coast is looking good, but could also use rain. It’s pollinating well.”
Scott Meeks, Yield Pro Crop Consulting, Farwell, Texas/Western Panhandle:
“We finished planting on May 4. That was after a 10-day window of warm temperatures. Unfortunately, some cotton was blown out after winds gusted to 60 mph last Friday (5/8). We’re replanting about 500 acres.
“Most of mine is conventional-tilled behind corn. We’ll have a dime-size true leaf by next Monday. Weed control looks good. All residuals were applied, and we’ll soon start with our first shot of Liberty and Warrant, along with Orthene and acephate. The acephate should control any thrips pressure.
“With our decline in groundwater for irrigation, I’ve made it a routine to plant cotton first and then corn. The lighter the water gets, the more it changes your thinking. We can stretch water a little farther by planting corn late. Mine is just now spiking the ground.”
Joe Renfro, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Southwestern Oklahoma:
“We’re hoping for rain tonight (5/11) because a bunch of cotton was dry-planted and it needs moisture to come up. Growers have planted about 50 to 60% of their cotton, but very little is up. If it rains early this week and turns off warm, probably all cotton will be planted in southwestern Oklahoma by next week.