Orlando Flores, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent, El Paso County:
“It’s raining blowing dust today, which is common down here. But the cotton is performing well in this area and up into southeastern New Mexico. Both the Upland and Pima look good. Many fields are into first bloom. Growing conditions are prime with plenty of irrigation and temperatures in the 100s.
“Thanks to a full allotment of irrigation water from the Elephant Butte Reservoir in New Mexico, our farmers will be able to water all or most of the season. Guys applied their second irrigation about mid-June and will water again in 21-day intervals. If they can still irrigate into September, they should see an excellent crop.
“We expect to see lygus bugs. Many farmers spray for them before the problem arises. There are no other insect issues thus far.
“Our growers are fortunate that Roundup Ready cotton still handles weed situations, especially morning glory.”
Scott Meeks, Yield Pro Crop Consulting, Farwell, Texas:
“I check cotton from near Nara Visa in northeastern New Mexico to Darrouzett in the northeastern Texas Panhandle. The most mature fields will likely see first bloom later this week.
“We’re fixing to be watering at full-throttle after finishing round one of applying PGRs and initial fleahopper treatments. The second round of PGR and insect treatments begins shortly. Weed control is nearly wrapped up, and things are clean. There are a few weed escapes but nothing that a little hoeing can’t handle.
“Most of my acres are pushed to full production, with growers shooting for big yields. They designate the majority of their irrigation for cotton. It used to be 90% corn. Now it’s about 85% cotton, which has made a world of difference in cotton production. It’s nearly all center pivot with a little subsurface drip. I’m happy that most of my customer base grows cotton as a primary crop instead of treating it like a stepchild to corn.”
Ben McKnight, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Cotton Specialist, College Station:
“We’re ready for the sun to come out. It has been unusually cloudy for a week or better, which has caused fruit shed in places.
“The cloudy weather is also favorable to bollworm larva. There was a large moth flight further south, and we’re seeing a few bollworm egg masses. Also, scouting is still going on for fleahoppers and stink bugs.
“Herbicide treatments are going out on a few weed and grass flushes after recent rains.
“I haven’t heard of any disease situations in the Blacklands area. Bacterial blight was spotted a few weeks ago in Upper Gulf Coast variety trials. But it was an isolated incident. Farmers are benefiting from disease resistant varieties.”
Blayne Reed, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Hale, Floyd & Swisher Counties:
“Dryland acres are few and far between. The hot, dry, windy conditions were just too much for many fields. Irrigated acres have also suffered from dry weather and spotty hail. But overall, we’re not in bad shape.
“Replants look good and hopefully can tolerate further hailstorms. Nearly all cotton is late. Growth stages range from wildcat cotton that’s at cotyledon, to match-head squares.
“Guys are realistic with how much water they can apply. They have to decide whether to irrigate a full circle of cotton, or a half-circle of corn, which requires more water.
“Thrip threats are growing smaller except for the late planted fields. There are a few fleahoppers, but nothing at threshold. Growers still need to scout for fleahoppers because this area can expect threshold numbers from 5 to 35% of the acres. We need to catch those fields early to help prevent boll loss.
“Fall armyworms are showing up in corn, but most insects are quiet. Stink bugs are also in the area, but they are mozna obtuse stink bugs that normally don’t damage field crops. They’re moving in from mesquite and could threaten pecan trees or other fruit trees. Alfalfa weevil infestations are in the alfalfa fields. Many guys will soon spray for the third time.”
Stephen Biles, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Victoria, Calhoun & Refugio Counties:
“Stink bugs have not shown up, but we expect them to require attention in all crops. Otherwise, we’re not finding many insects that need treatment. That could change quickly.
“Guys who had a proper herbicide program have been successful in controlling weeds, but they need to keep monitoring those fields.
“We’re drying down from last week’s rain, which will allow us to get into the field with sprayers if needed.
“Cotton looks good and ranges from 2 NAWF to 8 or 9 NAWF. We anticipate many fields will be ready for harvest in early August. The recent rain caused a little fruit to shed, but nothing out of the ordinary. Right now, we’re looking at an average to above-average crop in this part of the Upper Coast.
“Sorghum harvest is resuming after the rain. Corn harvest is just beginning. There are a few soybeans this year that are looking good.”
Rex Friesen, Southern Kansas Cotton Growers Co-op, Winfield:
“I hope they’re wrong, but weather forecasters say we’ll hit 103 early this week. But cotton shouldn’t be hurt because we received substantial rain last week.
“Moisture received about June 19 germinated much late-planted seed. Since it’s so late, a few growers are pondering whether to keep it or replant something else. But for the most part, the crop is progressing well after the widest planting window I can remember. Some cotton was planted in late April, and other fields didn’t get planted until the first week of June. We’re everywhere from cotyledon up to more than 12 nodes and 8 squares. That’s an incredible spread.