“Of the moths in that small flight last week, most went into corn like we predicted. We are seeing just a scattering of bollworms trying to get in the cotton, but it’s nothing major right now.
“Our soybeans are going into R2 to R3, and we’re regularly picking up redbanded stink bugs (RBSB), which concerns me more than anything else right now. The numbers we’re picking up are nothing close to treatment level, but the population is definitely out there. This is really early for them to show up here. We have a lot of late-planted beans, and I’m really concerned about how bad RBSB will be in this crop.
“Every day, multiple people tell me that they are finding RBSB in R2 or R3 beans, and these reports are coming from as far north as Pine Bluff. I’m afraid this is shaping up a lot like 2017, which was a bad RBSB season. If this trends like 2017, RBSB will be all across the state by the end of the year. Just about everyone has late beans, so I think these bugs will be an issue for everyone.”
Sebe Brown, Louisiana Extension Field Crops Entomologist
“Cotton is progressing nicely. More is starting to bloom, and we’re picking up the heat units we need. A lot of areas are catching a welcomed rain, with pretty significant amounts in places.
“We’re seeing larger spikes in aphid populations. In the last week the counts have risen greatly due to the hot, dry weather, and they’ve started multiplying in many fields. Applications have gone out, and with a week of rain in the forecast (as of 6/23), a lot of guys went ahead and sprayed.
“More popup thunderstorms begin developing at this point in the summer. So, if growers see a dry window, they’ll make an application where they need it. That way, they can get ahead of things, mitigate pressure and avoid wash-off concerns. They’re really trying to make a conscious effort to save money, especially with these low commodity prices.
“We haven’t seen a lot of plant bugs, but our cotton isn’t quite there yet. Once we really move into bloom, I expect that plant bug applications will increase.
“A lot of our fields are just now at bloom, with the earliest-planted cotton about two weeks into bloom. The mid-April planted cotton just started blooming this week, and the May cotton is in about the third week of squaring.
“In soybeans, I have had a report of spider mites on beans, something I don’t hear about very often. With this hot, dry weather, it’s a concern where the farmer has found them. If the rain in the forecast (as of 6/23) doesn’t knock them off, the farmer will treat. In all the years I’ve been here, this is only the second time I’ve ever gotten a call about spider mites in beans.
“The farmer would just as soon not treat. He’s in south Louisiana, and those growers already spend a good deal of money on applications just for redbanded stink bugs (RBSB). They try to avoid any excess application if they can.
“We’ve already been fighting RBSB really hard in the southern part of the state where soybeans are rotated with sugarcane. A lot of those growers already have made three to five RBSB treatments this year. Those soybeans are planted in March or even late February. Soybeans hit R5 down there first, so those fields are the only thing in large acreage for RBSB to feed on.
“As for the northern part of the state, RBSB are there, but I haven’t heard of any guys making an application yet. A few treatments have gone out in central Louisiana.
“The rain is especially appreciated in the corn fields. Some of our corn is moving into dent, and the most advanced corn is progressing to the point that irrigation will be cut off soon if it hasn’t already shut down in places. We have a great looking corn crop this year.”
Phillip McKibben, McKibben Ag Services, Mathiston, Mississippi
“Our cotton is just entering the third week of squaring, and square retention looks good. We’ve probably treated 30% of the cotton for plant bugs (as of 6/23), and we will start Pix applications next week.
“We’ve pretty much taken care of everything in cotton as far as weed control goes and are about ready for layby applications.
“Most of our soybeans are between V8 and V12 and blooming.
“The June solstice – the longest day of the year – was on June 20 this year, and our beans were not at the optimum growth stage to utilize the extended daylight hours. It has been well documented that beans must be at peak bloom, or an R3 growth stage, during this period for optimal yield potential.
“To achieve that in our areas, beans would have to be planted around April 20-25. Supposedly, that is why four-tenths of a bushel of yield potential is lost every day after April 25 that you plant. If you plant on May 1, you’re giving up a couple of bushels because your peak bloom will be just after the summer solstice. This has been widely talked about, and we’ve been paying attention to the concept.
“We did lose some corn to green snap when that quick-moving cold front blew through on June 5. In some fields, we lost up to 20% of the plants. That front came through like a train. The wind only blew about 15 minutes and we didn’t get much rain, but it left behind a trail of lower yields.
“Despite that, all of our corn looks really good now. It’s all in tassel and moving into the silking stage. The temperature and moisture levels have been ideal over the past three weeks, so we’re excited about our yield potential.”
Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee
“In cotton, we’re still in that lull between thrips and plant bugs. Plant bug pressure is pretty light, based on reports so far, and that’s the way it seems in my plots, as well. Due to the cool, wet spring, plenty of wild hosts remain green and are still holding plant bugs, so they will be a bit delayed migrating into cotton. Quite a bit of cotton is starting to square.
“A few soybeans are beginning to flower. Soybean pest pressure appears to be normal, which means pretty light. I received a few calls about Japanese beetles showing up in pretty good numbers last week. They caused defoliation on the top of the plant, but that’s almost never an economic issue. Both the damage and the beetles are easy to see, so this insect comes up every year and people want to know whether they should do something.
“But Japanese beetles aren’t as bad as they used to be. That seems to be the trend with this insect. They’re really bad for the first couple of years after they show up in an area, but natural enemies and diseases help reduce the population.
“In non-Bt corn, we’re right in between our two big Southwestern corn borer moth flights. We had a decent sized moth flight, but moth catches have now dropped to nothing. It’s typical for the numbers to drop because the original moths are gone and we’re just waiting for the next generation to pop up, which I think will be around July 10.
“We’re one of the few places that has an issue with them. We have so many non-Bt corn acres that West Tennessee is an easy target. A lot of those acres are on wildlife refuges, and farmers aren’t allowed to grow Bt corn on that land.
“We’re having the same issue in a few other areas, such as where farmers are growing corn for the organic market. Also, we have a higher percentage of non-Bt acres around Carroll and Henry Counties, which are the areas where we deal with chronic Southwestern corn borer issues. Some farmers also grow white corn for a premium, which mostly tends to be non-Bt corn.
“Only a very small percentage of our acres are affected right now, but it’s a pretty good infestation this year in those few areas.
“We could use a little more rain in places. Corn is starting to tassel in a lot of fields, so a few guys would like just a little more rain.”
Dale Wells, Ind. Cotton Services, Inc., Leachville, Arkansas
“Scattered showers have been falling today (6/22), and we probably received 2 tenths of an inch today. But between 1 and 1.5 inches fell over the weekend, so we were not desperate for rain.
“For the most part, everybody applied a residual herbicide ahead of the weekend rain, so the rain helped activate those materials. The rain also perked up the plants and gave a little more time to the guys who hadn’t laid out polypipe yet.