Cotton – Midsouth – More Squaring, First Blooms – The Crop Is Taking Shape – AgFax

    ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Images

    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.


    Cotton is blooming in scattered parts of the lower Delta, and squares have started forming as far north as Missouri.

    Scattered pest applications are going out. None of our contacts reported widescale issues this week.

    A stretch of dry and sunny weather settled over the Midsouth this week, and that is helping move along the crops. A little irrigation is cranking up in older cotton.



    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.


    “With fewer cotton acres this year, plant bugs will concentrate in the cotton that is out there. We’ll probably have plant bugs, only later.

    “Things are drying out pretty quickly, and some areas could use rain to bring up soybeans. Wheat harvest has started, too, so farmers are planting those soybeans now.”


    Trey Bullock, Bullock’s Ag Consulting, Hattiesburg, Mississippi

    “I wish we were totally done planting cotton, but one guy is still going (as of 6/15). But the rest of my clients have finished. Our cotton ranges from the three-leaf stage up to the twelfth- or thirteenth node. It’s in really good shape. We’ve been able to apply our PGRs and we haven’t run into any major issues.

    “In the last week, a few plant bugs popped up and we also found a few today. We treated certain fields, but it really hasn’t been a large issue so far. Our cotton is growing a little too fast and trying to throw off some fruit, but even that hasn’t been as big of a problem as it could be.

    “I suspect we will see blooms on our oldest cotton by the end of next week. At this point, I think the cotton looks as good as it possibly can.

    “Our peanuts are 30 to 55 days old. We’ve been applying fungicides this week.

    “Down here we really don’t like seeing a dry 10-day forecast, but that’s the prediction right now. I think we’re in good shape to handle it because we did get rain over the weekend (6/13-14).”


    Joel Moor, Moor Ag Services, LLC, Indianola, Mississippi

    “The cotton is getting big enough that we don’t have to worry about thrips anymore, and it’s also big enough that we’ve started sweeping for plant bugs. But we haven’t found a substantial amount of plant bugs, nothing to spray yet.

    “We haven’t seen many aphids yet, either, but I found one plant today (6/15) that was covered in them. That was the only plant on the entire farm that had any, which was kind of unexpected, although I’ve seen that before.

    “My oldest cotton has about 10 nodes, and our latest-planted cotton is around the three- to four-leaf stage. The later-planted cotton got a little stunted by the wind and rain right before the tropical storm (Cristobal). This area received anywhere from one to six inches of rain from the storm.

    “In corn, people are starting to lay out polypipe where it hadn’t already been put in place. We haven’t started watering yet. But with the temperatures so high, I’m sure we will be by the end of the week. I think there’s a 30% chance of rain for this weekend.

    “Our oldest soybeans are at about R2 to R2.5. I found a couple of stink bugs, but they’re not really amounting to anything yet, kind of like the plant bugs in the cotton.

    “Nothing is really going on with the peanuts, but we have finally cleaned up the grass, and I think we’ll start with our fungicides next week.

    “With peanuts, we didn’t have great emergence this year. I’ve seen comments on Twitter about how seed quality coming out of Georgia wasn’t very good, and I know they were having some problems. We planted around May 1, and that little cold snap came through shortly afterwards. I don’t know if our issue was seed quality or if that cold spell stunted plants. Enough emerged to make at least a partial stand, but we didn’t have the emergence we would have liked.”


    Victor Roth, Roth Farm Service, Malden, Missouri

    “The cotton is coming along, and we have seen a square. Overall, though, it looks ragged. I’m not sure if that’s due to wind, thrips, a preemergent chemical or something else that’s causing it to appear less than ideal.

    “The cold weather the cotton had to withstand this year didn’t help. Anything planted before May 20 or so had to go through some temperatures we don’t like to see during that time of the year.

    “Some of our cotton is around the six-leaf stage, so the squares should be right there. A lot of the cotton is around the three- to four-leaf stage, and things will eventually start happening with it. We should have blooms by July 4.

    “It’s going to be a fast season because we were late in planting. Our planting window closes about May 20, but we have some cotton that was planted between May 21 and May 24 or even later. Even with these late planting dates, I think the opportunity is still there to make a good crop.

    “I haven’t had what I would call a tremendous infestation of thrips, but we have sprayed a few fields in the past couple of weeks. Some cotton has done quite well with the seed treatment. We used the same seed treatment, but certain fields needed a thrips treatment while others didn’t. There’s not always a rhyme or reason to what we do. You just have to look at the crop in each field.

    “The cotton has a mind of its own, but I have confidence that when October and November come around it will be a delightful sight.”


    Hank Jones, RHJ Ag Services, Winnsboro, Louisiana

    “We’ve planted all of our cotton, and it looks good. For probably the first year in my entire career, we have no replants. Cotton this year seemed to come out of the ground kicking and screaming. My oldest is at the eleventh node and the youngest is at fifth node, so we don’t have a massive gap in ages.

    “We only had to spray 75% of our acres for thrips this year, which rarely happens. We usually spray 100% of the crop.

    “This week, we started spraying plant bugs in our oldest cotton. Our corn is beginning to mature, so plant bugs are moving out of it and into the cotton. I’ve already had to treat a couple of fields for aphids, but we haven’t done a widespread spray yet.

    “As for the dicamba ruling, it hasn’t affected too many of my acres yet. We made one dicamba shot on all the cotton before the ruling. Right now, it doesn’t look like we’ll need to make another dicamba application.


    “I would grade our cotton crop at an A right now. In fact, this might be the best collection of crops I’ve ever checked. I won’t say it will be the highest yielding because we have a long way to go, but it’s a good set of crops across the board. The corn crop is quite respectable, and we’ve cleaned up the beans.

    “Redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) have started appearing in soybeans. The older the beans get, the more RBSB I find. I’m not doing any widespread sprays yet because they’re not at threshold, but RBSB are certainty around. It’s early in the year for me to be seeing so many, but I expect to have a large influx here in about 10 days. I don’t want to scare anybody, but it’s probably going to be a bad situation for late-planted beans in July through September.”


    Kyle Skinner, Skinner Ag, Starkville, Mississippi

    “Some of our cotton is pretty water stressed, and it’s going to need a couple of weeks of dry weather to dry up. In places, we received plenty of rain from that tropical storm (Cristobal), so this dry week in the forecast will really help with that. Other than water stress in places, our cotton looks good.

    “We’re finding 5% to 7% plant bugs in the cotton, and we’ve just now started spraying them. I’m also putting out Pix regularly since everything has been nitrated. I’m making sure to not fall behind on that.

    “The corn is starting to tassel here, and it looks great. If the weather cooperates for the rest of the season and we receive enough rain, the corn should do well.

    “A few of my growers have soybeans this year, and beans are anywhere from ankle-high to about to bloom. Mostly, the crop looks pretty good. No insect issues in the beans, but we’re having to stay on top of weed control.

    “I have around 300 to 400 acres of peanuts this year, which are about to start blooming at 35 days. We’ll probably apply the first fungicide this week, and we’ll apply a herbicide since it finally quit raining. That tropical storm (Cristobal) brought about 3 inches of rain to the Monroe County area where the peanuts are.”


    Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist

    “In cotton, we’ve pretty much transitioned out of the thrips situation. It’s been a pretty busy year for thrips, with some of the worst pressure I’ve seen. In Tiller, my untreated checks were running 160 thrips on 5 plants or about 32 thrips per plant – enough to kill a plant.

    “We have a lot of cotton going into the ninth and tenth nodes, and plant bugs are moving into cotton at that growth stage throughout the state. We’re seeing a pretty good movement of plant bugs now that some of the corn is beginning to tassel, and even more will be coming when silks start turning brown. Plant bugs will likely move into cotton in the next week or two, especially if it gets drier and weeds begin to dry down. Watch cotton going into the ninth and tenth node. A few treatments are going out.

    “Some aphid activity is going on in the six- to eight-node cotton. I think part of that is due to foliar thrips applications killing beneficials.

    “We tripled our previous-high bollworm trap counts last week. We counted around 830 moths in one trap on a four-day catch and several others ran 500 to 600. These are pretty high numbers for this early in the year. Most of this population probably is going to corn, but a few will leak out into beans and cotton. The next generation of moths will come out of corn in 28 to 30 days when cotton and beans are blooming, so we’d better be ready.

    “It looks like trap counts will be high again this week, too.

    “We looked at a field of pre-blooming Bollgard II cotton on the Louisiana line with bollworms already in it. Those worms were surviving, so that’s not a good sign. They were burrowing into terminals, feeding on the plant and feeding on little fruit.

    “In soybeans, blister beetles are popping up in places. Scout for them. They’ll defoliate a spot the size of the truck hood or even the size of a truck. They’ll eat every leaf off the plants, then move to another spot. They’re prolific. When you see one blister beetle, you’re just as likely to find 10,000.”


    Sebe Brown, Louisiana Extension Field Crops Entomologist

    “It’s still hot and dry. Aphid numbers are increasing, and more applications are going out. A lot of guys are making their clean-up weed shots and are including something in the tank for aphids. More plant bug applications are going out. We’re into the third week of squaring, with some cotton starting to bloom.

    “This is ideal cotton-growing weather. It’s hot and it’s dry. Growers are irrigating corn, but if it doesn’t rain soon, they’ll also start irrigating cotton. The vast majority of our cotton was planted in the first to second week of May and is mostly at matchhead square, maybe a little beyond that.

    “But our earliest cotton has squares, and blooms are cranking up, too. That cotton is moving into setting those first bolls, and growers are running pipe so they can begin watering those fields when it’s needed.

    “I haven’t heard much about spider mites yet. We are seeing high numbers of worms in corn, and I hope our guys are ready for bollworms. It hasn’t been uncommon to find three or four worms in one ear in corn that carries the same technology as Bollgard II cotton. Today, we collected about 200 worms in 30 minutes.

    “That corn isn’t slowing down the worms at all. If they’re making it through corn at this rate, Bollgard II doesn’t stand a chance. They’ll walk right through it, too.

    “Based on the growth stages of the worms we’re finding, we can expect a pretty big moth flight around the Fourth of July.”

    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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