Paul Pilsner, Pilsner Consulting, Wharton, Texas:
“The crop is beautiful so far, partly because we got weeds under control early. The cotton I watch is pretty much a straight Liberty program used with the Enlist technology system. Residuals were applied just before blooming. We’ll have to mop it up with a few escapes, but overall weed control has been excellent.
“Insects have also been light. We held back fleahoppers by applying an insecticide while spraying for weeds. There wasn’t a long migration. We had a run of aphids on 20 to 30% of fields. Transform controlled them. We’re seeing a huge moth flight, which should only affect 2-gene bollworm Bt technologies. If you have it, you need to be watching closely.
“Plentiful rain helped the crop. All cotton is well into bloom, and some fields bloomed 3 weeks ago. About the only issue we face is if we get too wet to get Pix applied. I just hope we can get this crop out before something crazy happens.
“On the grain side, the northern Upper Coast received substantial rain and could see a record dryland corn crop. Other areas didn’t have quite as much moisture and their corn will finish quicker. Sorghum appears to be above average.”
Emi Kimura, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Area Agronomist, Vernon/Rolling Plains:
“There are very few issues with weeds because producers did an excellent job applying burndown and residual herbicides. I imagine many of them are happy that they can still apply the dicamba products until July 31.
“I’m not hearing about any thrips, but I’m sure they will increase. Many producers are just now planting their dryland fields and hoping for more rain. We need moisture because we’re still dry, and temperatures are forecast to be in the 100-degree range again soon.
“Wheat harvest is showing mixed results. Dryland fields that missed the freeze in April are seeing yields in the 70-bushel range. Freeze-damaged fields are yielding empty heads.”
Tyler Mays, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Hill County:
“Fleahopper populations increased last week and only a handful of fields have not been sprayed. The fleahopper threshold is 12 to 13 per 100 plants. On the low side, I’ve seen 8 or less. On the high side, it’s 15 to 17 per 100 plants. Most are adults, but nymphs are also present. We must scout for them because we could easily see square loss. When spraying, try to select an insecticide that doesn’t kill beneficials, which could cause an aphid flare-up.
“There are big spider mite colonies on older corn in the late milk stage. We’re hitting the upper 90s with no rain for nearly 2 weeks. That’s scary because it promotes mites. Younger corn can be susceptible to spider mites, which can also move into cotton. The threshold for cotton is when 40% of the plants are showing damage. I encourage growers to contact me if they see spider mites in corn. We can discuss whether it’s cost-effective to spray, depending on the crop’s maturity.
“Cotton weed control is holding up strong. Luckily, guys who bought dicamba can at least use it. Cotton is progressing well. It ranges from 4 true leaves to match-head square.
“Wheat harvest is wrapping up. We’re 95% harvested, which is pushing thrips into the corn and cotton. But most of the cotton is nearly beyond where it can suffer thrips damage.”
Gary Beverage, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Southeast New Mexico/Southwest Texas, Artesia, New Mexico:
“We’ve finally gotten control of the false chinch bug, which has been an issue for 2 to 3 weeks. They damaged the edges of fields after moving out of thick mustard weed. It required several sprays but they are finally cycling out.
“Earlier planted cotton is in the 5- to 12-leaf stage with 2 to 3 squares. So far, fleahoppers are not a problem for cotton, but they’re in peppers and other crops. Also, we probably cleaned out many fleahoppers when we sprayed for false chinch bugs.
“Weed control is much better this year. There was early weed pressure, but we made timely herbicide applications to keep them in check. Probably 50 to 75% of our cotton has received post-emerge herbicide applications.
“We’re moving forward with our normal herbicide program after waiting on a ruling from the EPA regarding the use of Xtendimax and Engenia. I haven’t applied much residual yet. On the later cotton, we’ll apply dicamba and either Prowl, Warrant or Outlook.
“I hope we can keep this label for dicamba products. It’s vital that we have access to it. Otherwise, it will be difficult to stay on top of many weeds, especially resistant pigweed, because you can’t touch it with Roundup.”
Jose Mendosa, Crop Quest Consulting, Spearman/Northern Texas Panhandle:
“Cotton fields remain pretty clean after going in with pre-plant herbicides that made a difference in weed control. That’s for dryland and irrigated, although a few pigweeds are coming up in irrigated fields. We’ve been able to keep them under control.
“Post-emerge herbicide treatments are underway. We’ll overlap residuals where fields remain clean. Then we’ll go with herbicide mixes to take care of escapes. If we cannot use dicamba or Engenia, we’ll look at Tavium from Syngenta. As much as these fields have been blowing, I want to stay away from the plow and cultivation.