Harold Lambert, Independent Consultant, Ventress, Louisiana
“My oldest cotton is about 12 nodes and squaring nicely. Plant bugs have been very light so far. We’ve only treated a few, just small, isolated areas. The counts in other fields are nearly zero. Even next to corn, they are much lower than expected, so the square set still looks really good.
“We haven’t had rain in a while, and the forecast shows continued dry weather. In several fields, we’re treating aphids. They haven’t backed off like we had hoped, and with the lack of rain in the forecast, we have to give those plants some relief.
“I can see a little effect from the beneficial fungus, but there’s not nearly enough of it where I aim to control aphids right now.
“My oldest soybeans are probably at R5, and we’ve already put out fungicides on those fields. A lot of our other soybeans are just at R3 and R4, and those younger fields will receive a fungicide this week.
“We almost had a couple of trap crop situations where we’ve found stinkbugs, but redbanded stink bugs have been pretty scarce. That’s going to change, but we’re thankful for Mother Nature’s reprieve.
“We do have some dryland beans with shallow root systems because they were so wet for so long. Now, we’ve been dry for the last week or two. With their shallow root systems, those soybeans will start showing stress soon.
“My oldest corn is dented with a 20% starch line.
“Most of my corn is nowhere near any threat from disease, but I have had to treat a very few acres of my oldest corn for southern rust. It’s like a race to see if this fungus will develop and take leaf area away from the crop before the plant completes kernel development.
“The conventional wisdom for southern rust is that the threat is mostly over after the corn is dented or after it has started developing a starch layer. The fungus will keep developing, but it won’t have time to shut down the plant before the black layer develops. But those assumptions are based on research done years ago when 150 bushels was a good corn average. I like to watch it closely for quite a while to assure it won’t cause late substantial damage.
“We can’t complain about how the year has gone for us so far. The weather has been good for south Louisiana. We didn’t receive a lot of the excessive spring rains that developed in northeast Louisiana and up through the Delta. It was warm in March, which allowed the corn to make a good start. The sugarcane guys were able to do field work and applications when needed.
“I am a little worried about the dry forecast, and I would like to see a shower on some of the crops pretty soon. We don’t have as much irrigation as the Delta does. Even with the tropical storm last week (Cristobal), we only received around 0.7 of inch of rain. We’re grateful for that, but we could use a little more.”
Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist
“More cotton is starting to move into squaring this week. Plant bugs vary, depending on the location and other factors. In places, they’re hitting threshold but it’s nothing terrible. In other areas, they’re hard to find. In the last couple of years, we’ve seen higher early numbers in the hills, which isn’t typical. In parts of Noxubee County, plant bug numbers are as high or higher than what we typically see in the Delta at the same time. That’s happened over the last couple of years. As we move closer to bloom, though, the counts in the hills tend to decline.
“Again, plant bugs are a mixed bag, but that can change quickly.
“Thrips pressure has been pretty heavy on late cotton, and I suspect we’ll make more foliar applications this year than usual. But we’re moving out of the thrips window now on a lot of the cotton.
“Aphids are spotty, particularly in the Delta. I haven’t heard of any treatments made specifically for aphids. Where cotton is squaring and people need to treat for plant bugs, they might be going with something like Transform if aphids are building. But if it wasn’t for plant bug sprays, I don’t think anyone would be treating just for aphids, based on what people are finding at this time.
“I’m hardly hearing anything about spider mites, especially considering the amount of acephate applied for thrips. A little more Liberty is going out than usual, and it has some activity on mites. That may be beating them back a bit.
“In soybeans, people this week are finding redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) more consistently. Numbers remain low and it’s not alarming, but RBSB are not as hard to find as they have been. With this year’s relatively mild winter, we knew they might be a problem in certain areas and I expect we will be picking up even more soon.”
Tyler Hydrick, Hydrick’s Crop Consulting, Inc., Jonesboro, Arkansas
“We have a lot of five- to seven-leaf cotton, and we’re starting to see our first squares. We’ve started sweeping for plant bugs, but I haven’t had any fields treated for them yet.
“I’m fighting a late thrips infestation just like we went through in 2019. We had plenty of thrips last year, but we actually have more this year. We’re trying to beat them back and move the cotton into squaring. We’re starting to put Pix on fields here and there but haven’t written any mass recommendations (as of 6/15).
“Also, we’re trying to gain control of pigweed. With all those early-season rains, it’s a struggle to beat back pigweed and the grass, too. I do think we’re trending in the right direction now.
“We have a lot of late-planted soybeans. The massive challenge is gaining control of all the weeds. The state’s May 25 cutoff on dicamba is really killing us, aside from the court decision that took dicamba off the table everywhere else. A lot of my beans weren’t planted until just as they announced that decision. Farmers were pressed to plant rice and cotton, plus spray corn, so beans kind of sat on the back burner.
“My farmers have been running from daylight to dark seven days a week. We’re giving them three weeks of work to do in one week.
“Pre-tassel nitrogen started in corn this week, plus Afla-Guard is going out where growers want it.
“We are starting our fungicide rotation in peanuts. Emergence could have been better this year. Something was off with seed quality or germination or something else. Also, these peanuts were mostly planted just before temperatures significantly dropped. At first, peanuts seemed to come up okay, but then we began seeing gaps and overall poor stands in every field.”
Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee
“We’re in kind of that period between thrips and plant bugs. We’ve hopefully finished thrips applications on the latest cotton. Thrips numbers are dropping and cotton is progressing steadily enough that it’s past the point of caring, with scattered exceptions. A few fields are squaring but plant bugs aren’t a factor yet. People either say they’re not finding many or they’re asking where are the plant bugs?
“I think it’s a bit premature to draw any near-term conclusions about plant bugs. When we go through a wet spring, plant bugs typically don’t develop early. All the rain helped sustain wild hosts. Until those plants begin senescing, plant bugs don’t move into cotton quite as quickly. Of course, they are building on wild hosts, so we could run into big populations later in the season.