Cotton – Southwest – Triple Digits Ahead – AgFax

    Mid season cotton. Photo: Jerry Goodson, OSU

    Larry Stalcup, Contributing Editor

    Debra Ferguson, Editor

    Here is this week’s issue of AgFax Southwest Cotton, sponsored by the Southwest team of PhytoGen cottonseed.


    Can irrigation keep up?
    Spotty showers finally cooled off parts of the Panhandle and South Plains. But with a forecast calling for at least a week of 100-degree days, even irrigation pumps running at high capacity will be stressed.

    Weed management just got harder as pre and postemerge residuals breakdown after recent rains. Peter Dotray cautions growers to stay on label when using mid-season herbicide options.

    Moths “fat with eggs” are moving in on central Texas cotton.



    Gary Beverage, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Artesia, New Mexico/Southwest Texas:

    “Overall, the crop looks good. A few fields have thumb-sized bolls, and others are starting to flower. Later planted cotton is also growing off well.

    “The only pests we’re seeing are grasshoppers and false chinch bugs. Grasshoppers don’t seem as heavy this year, but they’re feeding more on crops because everything else is brown, dry and crispy. The chinch bugs were a problem much of the spring and early summer. It was hard to keep the treatments up with them. Thankfully they’re finally thinning out. 

    “We’re staying ahead of weeds because guys have been timely on herbicide applications.

    “For other crops, alfalfa has improved, and chili peppers look great, but heat stress could hurt the peppers a little.”


    Peter Dotray, Texas Tech University Weed Scientist (joint appointment with Texas A&M AgriLife), Lubbock:

    “Weeds are coming on fast in parts of the South Plains that received rainfall over the weekend. I’m in a field near Lubbock that received 1 inch or more and it’s still muddy this morning (7/7). We’ll soon need herbicide applications to handle new weed growth. There will be a large flush where it rained, especially with the 100-degree temperatures in the forecast for the next week or more.

    “In our irrigated trials, where we used residuals at-plant and early post, those herbicides are breaking. Growers who used that type of program will likely see similar breakdowns.

    “Growers with supplies of the 3 dicamba products – XtendiMax, Engenia and FeXapan – may use them for 90 days after planting or until July 31. Tavium, for example, is a dicamba product that is not labeled for use 60 days after planting. Whatever product you use, make sure to follow the labels.

    “Growers need to be aware of wind speed and possible temperature inversion that can cause drift. That applies to both dicamba and Enlist technologies. If they were using dicamba before the 9th circuit court ruling and don’t have access to more products, they will likely depend on Roundup or Liberty.

    “But remember, Liberty doesn’t work well when conditions get hot and dry. Early morning or late afternoon applications may be more feasible. I recommend the 43-ounce application rate. Hopefully, growers will be ready for mid-season weed flushes.”


    Mark Nemec, MJN Consulting, Waco, Texas:

    “It’s overcast and a pleasant 88 degrees in the central Blacklands this afternoon (7/6), with a chance for showers tonight and in the morning. But it’s going to approach 100 later this week. If rain doesn’t come, our dryland is done. A little of it has cutout, but most is 6 NAWF and blooming very well.

    “The irrigated crop looks good. However, down on the Brazos Bottom there was much fruit shed in late June after heavy rain and 5 days of cloudiness.

    “Corn is drying up, and spider mites are moving out of it in spots. They’re predicted to build up later this week when the heat returns, so we need to scout the cotton. There’s also a sizable moth flight. Moths are slowing down, which means they’re likely fat with eggs. We’re a day or two behind the Upper Coast where they’ve already had a big egg lay in places. 

    “Weeds are mostly taken care of, other than a few grassy areas on sandy edges. We’re hitting them with Roundup.

    “Corn cutting starts in about 2 weeks. Sorghum looks good, but we had to spray for sugarcane aphids that blew in last week. Headworms are also in the later sorghum.”


    Jerry Goodson, Oklahoma State University Extension entomologist, Altus:

    “We’ve had spotty rains in southwestern Oklahoma and weeds are starting to slip through burndown and other early herbicide applications.


    “The crop looks good, despite the need for more rain. It’s mostly at match-head square. Fortunately, insect pressure remains light. Moth traps are showing few catches. But growers still need to watch bollworms and aphids as the crop progresses.”


    Emi Kimura, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Area Agronomist, Vernon:

    “Cotton is better than expected after the dry, hot May and June. Although several dryland fields did not come up. Last weekend, rain crusted over a few fields that were still trying to get established. But it helped cotton that was already up, as did rain yesterday (7/5) and today. 

    “A few cotton plants are just coming up after a late planting. Others are just now 2 nodes tall. Irrigated fields look good. They are squaring, and producers are spraying for fleahoppers. We need more rain in the next couple of weeks to keep the crop going.

    “Unfortunately, we’re getting weedy after the rains. When it dries up, producers need to apply herbicide while weeds are still small. They can apply dicamba until July 31, but don’t let weeds get too big. Check the labels, especially on Tavium, which can only be applied up to 60 days after planting.

    “The wheat yields were up and down due to a hot, dry early spring, the mid-April freeze, and a hailstorm in early May. Growers and county agents report that yields range from zero up to 60 to 70 bushels. My wheat trials were lucky – up to 40 to 50 bushes – because they missed the worst of the weather.”


    David Drake, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension IPM Agent, Northeast Texas:

    “We suffered through one of the driest Junes on record, but finally got rain today (7/6). It will be a while before we need PGRs.

    “There are a few fleahoppers in the area, as well as light bollworm numbers. Grasshoppers are also annoying, but they won’t hurt cotton. Weeds took off early, but we caught up to them and the lack of rainfall helped. We have a chance for a good crop but need more rain. Roots can’t get to the soil profile down deep.

    “Corn is close to pollinating, and soybeans look better than expected with the dry conditions. Sorghum is filling, and we’re not seeing any hot spots for sugarcane aphid.”


    Loren Seaman, Seaman Crop Consulting, Hugoton, Kansas:

    “It has been rough with so much wind damage. Guys who planted into a good cover crop are doing well, but many areas didn’t have enough cover to prevent wind damage 3 weeks ago.

    “In general, cotton is at early to mid-square. We should still see production on about 85% of our planted acres. The better fields are at 15 to 16 leaf, but growth is slow due to the wind.

    “We’re seeing a few fleahoppers, but nothing that’s threatening so far. Most varieties have Bt technology, so we don’t expect bollworm damage. In fact, very little cotton up here has needed bollworm treatments in the past 20 years.

    “Growers are finishing up with herbicides, but the wind has made it difficult to make timely applications. Overall, it’s a decent crop. Heat units are near normal, but it needs more moisture. Dryland cotton is hanging on because we had good subsoil moisture.”


    Kyle Aljoe, Crop Quest Consulting, Dimmitt, Texas:

    “The older irrigated crop in the Castro County area is starting to bloom or is close to it. But if it doesn’t rain soon it will suffer.

    ‘If cotton shares irrigation water with corn or any other crop with higher water demands, it’s not getting any. With the forecast for 7 days of 100-degree weather, it’s going to be pretty tough on everything.

    “Corn looks good, but farmers are having a hard time keeping up with water demands even in fields with high irrigation capacity. This county has had just over 5 inches of rain this year. It’s tough to get anything to grow with those conditions.

    “There are no major insect issues other than a few fleahoppers and lygus bugs. Weeds are under control.”


    Chris Locke, CSL Consulting Inc., Sudan, Texas/Eastern New Mexico:

    “Insect pressure is minimal. There are no plant bugs, fleahoppers or lygus situations anywhere.  Grasshoppers are the only bug problems, and they’re on the field edges.

    “Irrigated fields are still holding up during this dry spell. Plants range from 6 to 7 nodes up to 12 to 14 nodes. Early fields might bloom by July 12, while the later cotton will bloom towards the end of the month. It is squaring with an average square at about the 7th node. Square retention is around 90%.


    “Some growers in southern Bailey County sustained hail and wind damage a few weeks ago. Many replanted sorghum or silage corn. The dry weather and heat caused nearly all dryland cotton to fail and a lot of those acres went into sorghum.

    “Weed control remains strong, although a couple of fields got away from us due to high winds. Careless weed is being plowed out. For the most part, preemerges are holding up. Dicamba and Roundup applications are working. There are no PGR issues yet due to heat and lack of rain. 

    “Peanuts are pegging and look decent, but the dry, hot conditions are tough on the crop. The hot ground can burn those pegs.  

    “Preventive Comite treatments are going out on all corn. The hot temperatures forecast for later this week will test whether irrigation water can keep up with ET. Older corn is 2 weeks away from tassel, and hot weather could be detrimental.”


    Aaron Turner, All-Terrain Ag Management, Victoria, Texas:

    “Cotton should finish beautifully after recent rains in the past 2 weeks. Most of my stuff is 1 to 2 NAWF or already finished. Later stuff is still at 5 NAWF and week 3 of bloom.

    “We saw the first open boll last week and hope to defoliate about 30 days from now. We’re sitting on a good crop. Yields should be better than average. Insect pressure has been light, other than cleaning up a few worms and stink bugs last week.

    “Milo harvest is underway and yields look good. Early corn is also being harvested.  Full blown corn harvest will start in the next 2 weeks.”


    Jourdan Bell, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agronomist, Amarillo:

    “Despite spotty rains that fell over the Panhandle, the limitations on irrigation water have producers worried about their cotton and corn, especially since we expect several days of 100-plus temperatures later this week.

    In the northwest in Dallam and Hartley counties, sandy soils make it difficult for the root zone to hold irrigation water. Sprinklers can’t keep up. Corn under irrigation is already burning up. Cotton is also stressed.

    “Meanwhile, cotton is squaring over much of the region ranging from pinhead to matchhead square. There are also a few blooms. However, the extensive heat in the forecast could cause squares and blooms to shed.

    “Producers who received rain need to be on top of weed flushes. Hoe crews are already out in several fields to catch weeds before they get out of control.

    “A few fleahoppers have been reported, but not enough to cause losses. The hot weather will also promote spider mites in corn. They can get away from us quickly in both corn for grain and silage. Production quantity and quality can be impacted.”


    Ben McKnight, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Cotton Specialist, College Station:

    “We had a full moon Sunday and expected a big moth flight after already seeing egg lays. Guys need to scout fields for the bollworms.

    “The crop continues to progress nicely, although there was fruit shed after several days of cloudy conditions. After the recent rain, there will likely be more PGRs applied. We need them at the research farm to prevent rank growth.

    “Growers are starting to see a few flushes on the perimeter of fields, or areas where there was a skip or two in herbicide treatments. For the most part, residuals are still holding up. I’m not seeing any pigweeds or johnsongrass poking through.

    “The region needs to catch rain today to help crops handle the long-term forecast for hot weather.”

    AgFax News Links

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    AgFax Southwest Cotton is published by AgFax Media LLC
    Owen Taylor, Editorial Director. It covers cotton production in Arizona, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
    Working-Copy%5B1%5D.jpgThis weekly report is distributed during the main cotton growing 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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