Texas West Plains Cotton: Insects Mostly Quiet, Weeds a Bigger Problem

Cotton ranges from 5 to 13 total nodes with square set very good at +80%. The scouts have been counting at most 5 first position squares. On average the first fruiting position is at node 7. Normally go into bloom on irrigated fields with 8 nodes above white flower.

Therefore, we will need to develop 9 first position squares to then move into first bloom. So, the cotton we have seen which is furthest along with 5 first position squares needs to develop an additional 4 first position squares.

Since it requires approximately 3 days for a square to develop (60 heat units) then we can estimate that it be 12 days (July 13) till we see first bloom on these advanced fields. Much of the cotton acres will not reach first bloom until after July 22.

Cotton insect pests remain very quiet. In the IPM Scouting Program we have noted only hooded beetles, which are inconsequential. We are looking hard for fleahoppers and other plant bugs in field but are only occasionally finding a few in weedy field margins, like ditches. Beneficials numbers are also very low, as there is not a good consistent food source presently.

Weeds seem to currently be the most dominate pest. A long-varied list of weed species have been noted throughout all three counties. In fact, I continue to find weeds which were suppressed by Roundup for many years making a strong comeback.

If you need help identifying a weed and coming up with a control plan give me a call. Remember, these weeds serve as host to many of our cotton pests.

Cotton which survived the rough start and recent weather has made good progress over the last few days. The moisture from last week combined with high temperatures this week have cotton plants taking advantage of the situation. However, it would be more ideal for the temperatures to moderate to the low to mid 90’s, and July rain showers lined up.

Obviously, there have been major hurdles to get to this point and most likely some of those will continue. However, I am generally optimistic. If we receive some measurable precipitation, I will remain optimistic. In fact, if you have gotten the hint the last several days that I would highly suggest you apply a PGR (mepiquat chloride) you are correct.

AgFax Weed Solutions

I would add this to my to-do-list for the very near future if you have not already done so. Between many now having their fertilizer in place, and irrigation water going just a bit further, cotton plants are making good progress in growth. I would hate to get behind this growth curve.

So, I would like to see much of this cotton have 8 oz (possibly more in the next several days) before we get into bloom. If cotton still is ragged up and not turned the corner yet, I would not apply a PGR, maybe a foliar feed.

Peanuts continue to bloom with pegging and pod set beginning soon. We are about 7-14 days behind where we were at this same time last year. Irrigation is critical at this point in peanuts. It is critical not only for the plant to grow but also it creates an environment which is conducive for peg penetration of soil.

If soil surface is too hot and dry pegs will not develop properly, and hence no pod. I have not seen much in the way of pathogens. The dry environment has helped suppress the incidence of foliar diseases so far.

Grain sorghum. I have been asked by many about the sugarcane aphid (SCA) risk for our area. Later planted sorghum is generally an insect risk, not just from SCA. Extension has just recently detected SCA here on the High Plains, albeit in very small numbers.

Producers in Lamb county have tended to deal with SCA in greater frequency most like due to the plume which tends to come through Floyd and Hale counties. Fortunately, we can successfully control the SCA.

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