Cotton – Midsouth – Moving Into Summer Amid The Dicamba Disruption – AgFax

    Laykyn Rainbolt, 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.


    Tropical Storm Cristobal delivered rain early in the week. Heavy amounts fell in places, but in many areas the totals were mostly low to moderate. It all depended on how the rain bands moved over the region. The farther west, the lower the amounts tended to be.

    The weather will now turn dry and hot for a week or more if current forecasts hold. In places, dryland acres might stress a bit. The trend also could push up pest numbers.

    The “dicamba disruption” – as we’ve come to call it – has thrown a monkey wrench into weed control plans for many growers who went with dicamba-tolerant technology. A federal court decision late last week voided registrations on three key dicamba formulations tied to the traited varieties. To connect to more information, check out the related links in our Also Of Note section.



    Trent LaMastus, Consultant, Cleveland, Mississippi

    “Parts of my area were hit by strong winds and some hail last week, and we now have a wide range of green snap damage in many corn fields. It seems to range from less than 5% to as high as 35% in certain cases.

    “The corn at R1-plus suffered the least. Fields with the most damage were at V12-plus when the storm hit.

    “Our soybeans look so much better than they did at this point last year. The only negative has been the large number of acres planted later than we would like. Hopefully, the healthier, uniform stands will help make up a little time and produce more consistent yields.

    “We were flushing plenty of boll worm moths out of our V9 to V10 beans last week. We will be sweeping some of those tomorrow (6/10), looking for small worms. A few green stink bugs also started showing up last week, but we haven’t seen redbanded stink bugs yet.

    “Most of our cotton was treated for thrips over the last two weeks. Generally, that went out with herbicide applications but some thrips had to be treated separately. We didn’t gain the level of control I’d like to see, but in most cases it was enough to help the cotton grow out of the thrips stage with minimal damage.

    “Our oldest cotton is a V7 to V9 and received a stout shot of Pix last week. We backed off a little on rates with the 5- to 7-node cotton. More Pix will be applied this week after we start scouting behind the tropical storm. We will add an insecticide where needed.

    “As mentioned earlier, we had wind and hail damage in some locations last week. It wasn’t too severe but did thin stands in some cotton fields. Tomorrow, I’ll scout several fields that were sandblasted last Friday, and I expect to find some degree of damage.

    “I think all of my growers are in decent shape with regards to the loss of dicamba. It’s another unwelcomed hurdle, but they will get past it somehow.”


    Richard Griffing, Griffing Consulting, LLC, Monterey, Louisiana

    “In cotton, I’ve found my earliest bloom in 34 years of working in the crop. I saw it on Friday (6/5). Until now, the earliest bloom I ever found was on June 12.

    “I’d say half of my cotton is at first bloom and the other half is up to six nodes. It all looks really good, but we’ll soon start spraying for plant bugs. We’ve already found a few adults. We sprayed part of it at pinhead-square and the other half will receive a second shot as soon as it dries up, which should be soon. We have already hit it with dicamba, so it’s not in bad shape in terms of weeds.

    “So far, spider mites are nonexistent, but I’m sure that will change. Aphids have been very light. Things have actually been running smoothly, which I can’t say very often at this point in the year.

    “When I got up this morning (6/8) there was seven tenths of an inch of rain in my gauge, but several rain bands came through since then. When I checked this afternoon, we had an inch and three tenths. We’re hoping to get 2 inches of rain out of this storm (Cristobal) because things were getting pretty dry. The way our luck usually runs with tropical systems, it’ll rain 6 inches or nothing. We have been irrigating soybeans and corn like crazy.

    “A lot of our soybeans are between R3 and R4, and fungicides were applied. We started planting beans around March 18, and those are moving quickly now. I’d say 80% of the beans were planted by April 10.

    “We applied 90% of the dicamba we expected to use on soybeans. Even with that remaining 10%, our soybean fields are in pretty good shape.

    “Corn looks excellent, and this rain was perfectly timed for it. We are just past pollination.

    “We have been very fortunate this year. We missed rains this spring that held up field work and planting to the north of us. I can’t think of another year when we planted so much this early.”


    Larry Walker, Walker Cotton Technical Services, Flintville, Tennessee

    “Our cotton is all planted and ranges from cotyledon to five leaves (as of 6/8). We really have two cotton crops this year. We planted about half the cotton by the end of April, and that crop is at four to five leaves. The second cotton crop went in around May 25 when fields finally dried up again. That cotton is up to two leaves, which means the older cotton is only 7 to 8 days ahead of the later planted crop, physiologically speaking.

    “On this end of the cotton belt we’re always watching the calendar, trying to predict where we will be at any given point in the future. Last year, cotton bloomed around the end of June, but looking at our crop this year, I don’t think it will bloom until July 10. Since we want six weeks of bloom, we’ll likely enter September with our blooms. We want to grow the bolls for 35 to 40 days, which pushes defoliation into October.

    “The late-planted cotton has had ideal growing conditions. We would have liked to have planted it earlier, of course, but it was much too cold and wet in May to do that. With those cold conditions, we were afraid we might lose some cotton acres we already had planted.

    “We’ve done very little field replanting but have had to spot-replant a large amount of cotton in low areas. We sprayed the more mature cotton for thrips.


    “Farmers planted plenty of soybeans in the past 7 to 10 days, working around showers. Thank goodness we haven’t had a large, general rain. Farmers could find enough dry fields to keep going, and they’re pushing hard now to finish soybeans.

    “With all the unfavorable weather, farmers weren’t able to spray herbicides earlier. A number of tank mix combinations have been going out now to take care of big winter and spring weeds, plus leave residual protection.

    “Farmers weren’t able to plant all the corn they intended, and those remaining acres are going into soybeans now.”


    Lee Rogers, Rogers Entomological Service, Steele, Missouri

    “Everyone is through planting cotton. I think all of my guys finished before June 1 and, overall, it looks good. Most of it is coming up, thanks to these warm temperatures, sunshine and soil moisture. It’s just late.

    “We are dealing with thrips in a few fields – nothing too heavy. We sprayed a few fields last week, but I think a few more will require a treatment in the near future.

    “Light showers have been falling on and off, but it really hasn’t rained much yet today (afternoon, 6/8). The rain percentage for this afternoon has varied greatly from forecast to forecast, from 50% up to 80%.”


    Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee

    “A small amount of our cotton is starting to square.

    “We’re in the middle of a pretty big thrips flight. Farmers planted quite a bit of cotton very late in May and into the first week of June, and it’s syncing with the thrips migration.

    “We run into thrips issues every year, but this year they developed into an unusually high concern. Last week, I told a number of our growers that pretty much any of the cotton in the susceptible one- to two-leaf stage needs to be treated soon.

    “The real challenge is deciding what to apply. We have been collecting data for several years, and it shows that acephate does not perform as well as in the past. I’ve been suggesting that people try Intrepid Edge, and I’ve been a little surprised by how many have been willing to do that. Intrepid Edge has been noticeably better in my trials. I’m not saying acephate doesn’t work, but it’s not as consistent as it once was.

    “A grad student is gathering data from all over the area, collecting populations and comparing different materials. Initially, this situation with acephate seemed to only be happening in Tennessee. Some colleagues in adjoining states are now seeing some probable slippage with acephate, but it’s not everywhere. A lot of people have been using acephate for a long time because it is inexpensive, so it’s not surprising we appear to be seeing some resistance in tobacco thrips populations in some areas.

    “An initial bit of information suggests that Bidrin is doing a little better than acephate. Intrepid Edge is a pre-mix that has spinetoram in it. Intrepid Edge is cheaper than Radiant, which is the same chemistry but marketed more for vegetable production. But I still wouldn’t say Intrepid Edge is cheap. You’re spending $2 per acre for thrips control with acephate compared to $8 an acre for Intrepid Edge. With low cotton prices, Intrepid Edge has been a tough sell.

    “Everyone is focusing on weed control, which is normal for this time of the year. But the dicamba issue (voiding of key dicamba labels) hasn’t helped anything. On top of that, it rained today (6/9), which will force everyone out of the fields for a few days.”


    Eddy Cates, Cates Agritech Inc., Marion, Arkansas

    “It’s raining now (6/8). We could use a small shower in a few fields, but the forecast predicts 3 to 4 inches of rain from this storm (Cristobal). Some of the late-planted soybean and cotton fields could use up to an inch, but we’re still on the east side of this storm with large rains expected. We’ll see.

    “Most of our cotton is between the three- to five-leaf stage, but some late-planted cotton ranges from just out of the ground to the one-leaf stage.

    “We’ve had quite a bit of thrips activity, so we’ve sprayed most fields. Thrips have been the biggest issue so far, but we also are dealing with a few weed control issues. We are fighting pigweed pretty hard, and our dicamba cutoff date was May 25, so we are trying to apply Liberty now.

    “It’s almost a nightmare trying to control the weeds and avoid all the showers. For best results, you really need 8 hours of sunshine and at least 80-degree temperatures when applying Liberty. We’ve had the heat, and it’s been over 90 degrees a few days, but we can’t catch a solid day without rain.

    “We have been going out with Roundup and Outlook to gain some preemergent control and kill grasses, then follow up those with Liberty to kill the pigweed.

    “Most of our corn is at V9 or V10. It won’t be long before we start a pre-tassel nitrogen application. All of our corn has been laid by.

    “Our soybeans are anywhere from just planted to full bloom. There’s a big difference in the ages of our soybeans, and we don’t have a lot of early planted beans this year. The majority of them are probably at V2 to V4.

    “In peanuts, we’ve had more trouble establishing good, thick stands than I’ve seen in the past. I’m not sure if that’s due to seed quality or something else. All the peanuts were planted in a timely manner – not early or late – but they still struggled. I would say 90% of the peanuts did eventually come up to a good stand.”


    Sebe Brown, Louisiana Extension Field Crops Entomologist

    “Rainfall amounts from tropical storm Cristobal varied, depending on location and how the rain bands moved over the state. Totals ran from a tenth to about 3 tenths of an inch in some areas but increased to a half-inch to 1.5 inches on the eastern side of Louisiana. On the western side, hardly any rain fell. A cold front came through last night (6/9) and actually dropped more rain than the storm.

    “We needed rain and still do. It turned dry, and we’re now heading into 10 to 12 days of hot, dry weather.

    “Aphids are still out there, and we’re seeing large numbers building in a lot of cotton. Guys are either making applications or considering it. The rain at least gave us a brief reprieve from the aphids.


    “We saw a late blowup of thrips in certain areas, so they’re still present. Cotton, though, is mostly moving past the point of susceptibility, and even the late-planted cotton is mostly out of the thrips window. Thrips might still be an issue in really late cotton or in replanted acres.

    “Cotton is blooming in places. A number of people have sent me photos of their first blooms, and cotton in my plots will be blooming next week. Scattered plant bug treatments have gone out in squaring cotton. The plant bug numbers I’m finding are about normal for this time of the year. They aren’t carrying us away, but plant bugs definitely are around.

    “Boll worms will be coming in a few weeks, based on the number of worms we’re finding in Intrasect and Double PRO corn. Most of our corn this year was planted within a two-week window, which could set us up for a normal boll worm year.

    “By normal, I mean we will see a clearly defined start to egg laying in cotton. With weather delays last spring, farmers planted corn over a stretched-out period, which created a trickle effect in terms of egg laying.

    “That makes it difficult to know when to treat. You never see enough eggs at any given time to know whether to make an application in dual-gene cotton. Also, you only see small amounts of damage over time and can’t always gauge whether it adds up to enough to justify treating.

    “If the boll worm numbers we’re finding in corn are any indication, we can expect a definite start to egg laying, and we should know when to treat in dual-gene fields. Keep in mind, though, that we don’t recommend spraying on egg counts in triple-gene cotton.

    “With this hot and dry weather, spider mites are showing up. Some treatments were made, but mite activity very much depends right now on location. It’s not a general situation.”


    Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist

    “During the 7 to 10 days before that tropical storm (Cristobal), we slipped into a dry spell and heavy thrips pressure developed in places. In my own plots, the counts were heavier than we have seen in several years. Many growers have already made a foliar application and some have made two.

    “No doubt, this rain will help short-term. In my plots, numbers significantly declined after the storm. But the extended forecast puts us into a fairly dry period for a while, so thrips may reoccur in younger cotton.

    “In some of the squaring cotton, pinhead applications for plant bugs have been going out. The numbers aren’t big but the counts have been at threshold in a few places. Next week, squaring will start in more cotton, so plant bug activity might increase with that.

    “People are finding aphids in places, but they’re not widespread yet. However, with the hot and dry forecast, the aphid situation could change quickly, especially where acephate was applied earlier for thrips.

    “Some Bidrin went out for thrips during a rainy period. I also would have liked to have seen growers try Intrepid Edge or Radiant because they’re less likely to disrupt beneficial insects. But folks keep telling me it is cost prohibitive where those materials are currently priced for thrips. With low cotton prices, farmers just aren’t as likely to do that. If they go with a cheaper approach and flare something later, they’ll deal with it. If they don’t flare anything, they’ve saved money.”


    Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist

    “Our bollworm moth trap counts have really blown out. We caught more moths at Lonoke on the first run this week than we have for any entire week so far this year. At Tiller, one trap topped 800. So, it appears that we’re in the middle of a bollworm flight.

    “Thrips pressure has been pretty heavy in spots. Plant bugs don’t seem to be too bad right now (6/10) in our oldest cotton.”

    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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