“We haven’t experienced major CEW pressure since 2010 and 2011, so we’re overdue. We hope it’s not going to be this year. If it is, we are ready. A good number of our cotton acres are planted to newer varieties with three-gene protection and we have tools to control bollworm. Scout and spray according to thresholds. We sure don’t want to spray unless we have to.”
Sally Taylor, Virginia Tech Extension Entomologist, Tidewater REC:
“Tarnished plant bugs are showing up in concentrated areas in individual fields. We’ll check four spots in a field and not find them in three of those stops, but then the numbers will be very high at that fourth spot. Make sure to scout several locations, including the middle of the field. When you identify a hot spot, estimate the area of infestation when making a treatment decision.
“Rank growth can occur when tarnished plant bug damage leads to fruit loss, and that can require additional management inputs. In 2019, an untreated plot in a tarnished plant bug trial grew 7-foot cotton.
“We are seeing corn earworm in hemp and corn. Although most of our acres are infested, this isn’t the wave I’m worried about. The next generation – when CEW move into cotton and soybean – is the challenge.
“Mostly, we need rain. It’s not as dry as last year, but the leaves are starting to curl.”
Bryce Sutherland, S&R Ag Consulting, Sylvester, Georgia:
“Our oldest cotton is in the fourth week of bloom. Crop damage is more significant from deer than from stink bugs. I’m careful about what we use for treating stinkbugs so that we don’t flare spider mites or whiteflies.
“In dry areas, spider mite pressure is visible but hasn’t required treatment. Whiteflies are showing up in southern Worth County, but those don’t need treatments yet, either.
“In peanuts, we are working on gaining good weed kills and keeping a check on insects. Most fields are pegging and starting to put on small pods. Programmed fungicide applications started for control of leaf spots and white mold. We are seeing a little leaf spot but nothing heavy.
“A few three-cornered alfalfa leafhoppers and a lot of beneficial wasps are showing up in peanuts. Our later-planted acres suffered from aspergillus crown rot, but we didn’t find any plant losses and the stands held up. Tomato spotted wilt virus is showing up on June-planted peanuts.
“In silage and field corn, we are moving into the dough/dent stages. About 25% of our corn acreage has required stinkbug sprays. We also are finding Southern rust in some areas. We are scouting hard to make sure we know what we have so we can determine what we can live with and what we can’t.
“In watermelons, harvest is nearly done. The later clipping yielded well, which surprised me. We had a lot of disease pressure in watermelon this year.
“In grain sorghum, about 30% of the fields are at threshold level for sugarcane aphid and sorghum midge, and we’re treating both. We expect more fields to reach threshold soon, and we are scouting closely because sorghum midge has a short treatment window. If you don’t catch them in that window, the damage is already done.”
Scott Graham, Extension Entomologist, Auburn University
A bollworm/corn earworm moth flight started in extreme southeastern Alabama on Tuesday (7/7). We expect the flight to slowly move north, reaching the north end of the state around August 1. With the documented resistance to the two-gene Bt trait, we must be timely when scouting for bollworm.
“We recommend the modified whole-plant method for scouting. Examine the top five nodes for feeding holes, frass, larvae or eggs in the terminal, squares, flowers, and bolls. Also, look in at least one flower and boll in the middle of the canopy per plant. Record the number of eggs, larvae and damaged fruit per plant.
“Thresholds for escaped bollworms in two-gene cotton are based on small larvae, and we define a small larva as being a quarter-inch long. The threshold is 5 small larvae per 100 plants in fields previously treated with an insecticide. Additionally, if fields have not been treated with an insecticide recently and beneficial insects are abundant, you can raise the threshold to 10 small larvae per 100 plants.
“In fields near Headland this week, we found eggs in blooming cotton near the terminals.
In soybean, we are watching kudzu bugs in central and south Alabama. Kudzu bugs often turn up first on field edges. If you find them there, sample across the field. The threshold prior to bloom is 5 adult kudzu bugs per plant. From R1 to R6, the threshold is 25 immature kudzu bugs per 25 sweeps.”
Larry Walker, Walker Cotton Technical Services, Flintville, Tennessee
“We’ve had four straight days when it hasn’t rained (as of 7/6), and I think that’s the longest ‘drought’ we’ve had since October. It’s finally warm enough and with the right moisture levels to really allow the cotton to grow. We’re trying to spray Pix and also apply herbicides to bring weeds under control. In our oldest cotton, we have started spraying for plant bugs.
“Our oldest cotton plants have five to six fruiting branches and are about a week away from blooms. Our fruit set is really good. If the cotton starts blooming next week as it should, we will be two weeks behind last year. Compared to the long-term average, the crop is probably 10 days behind.
“Our concern with cotton being this late is whether we’ll have enough water in August for the crop to grow. Right now, the predictions are that rainfall will be average for that timeframe.
“In the eastern part of the Tennessee Valley, growers are still trying to harvest wheat. We got about 6 inches of rain in the week before July 4.
“We have one 20-acre bottom that averaged 1,800 pounds per acre a couple of years ago. So far this year, it’s been planted and then replanted two more times due to all the rain. At this point, I hope it averages a bale. It’s going to take close management in that field, and it was much easier to make 1,800 pounds on it than it will be to average a bale this year.
“I’m looking at some ragged fields of cotton, but I also remember Will McCarty (former Mississippi Extension Cotton Specialist) saying, ‘You don’t just give up on cotton. It will come along eventually.’ We’ll see how that works out this year. In the Tennessee Valley, June 15 to July 15 is a very important time for cotton growth and development.
“The first beans of the year were planted in the end of April on higher ground, and they look good, and the late MG III beans appear to be making a good crop. We’ve applied a fungicide on the oldest beans. We are aware we have strobilurin-resistant frogeye, so we are staying away from any Qol fungicides.
“Our target harvest date for soybeans is the end of August and into the beginning of September.”
Johnny Parker, Agronomist, Commonwealth Gin, Windsor, Virginia:
“The rainfall this week looks to be a light, restorative event that is perfectly timed for many fields.
“Older cotton likely will start blooming after July 14. Although cotton plants generally aren’t big, some are larger than they should be at this growth stage. We need to consider making a plant growth regulator (PGR) application prior to bloom in those fields. That said, we also should be careful when applying PGRs to light land that has a history of drought stress, leaching or just normally short cotton. A PGR can hurt yield if it stalls out the cotton.