Cotton – Southwest – Hanna Hits LRGV | Enlist Gets Reprieve – AgFax

    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.


    Hurricane Hanna. The Lower Rio Grande Valley was ransacked last weekend (7/25) when Hanna’s high winds and pounding rain ripped through the region destroying everything in its wake, including a promising cotton crop. As of Tuesday (7/28), rain continued to fall in some areas. Damage estimates will take time since structures, fields and roadways remain under water.  

    Enlist reprieve. Ruling against multiple environmental groups, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has denied a petition to vacate the registration of Corteva Agriscience’s Enlist Duo herbicide. Scroll down to AgFax News Links to read the DTN article.

    High Plains rain. Northwest Texas and western Oklahoma received enough rain that more PGR applications could be necessary.



    Danielle Sekula, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Lower Rio Grande Valley:

    “Hurricane Hanna devastated cotton and other crops across the entire Valley. Flooding and power outages have impacted nearly everyone. I’ve called our growers and many of them have told me they’ve lost their whole crop. Cotton that was defoliated is on the ground. Harvest had barely started last week. All of our research plots are gone.

    “From 14 to 15” of rain fell in Harlingen and up to 20 inches elsewhere. It’s raining today (7/28) and water is barely receding. Insurance adjusters will work with growers to determine if any of the late cotton is potentially salvageable. I’m afraid everything is going to rot.

    “Farmers are happy that their corn and sorghum is harvested. But we lost a beautiful cotton crop. For some guys, it’s the third straight year for a crop disaster. The AgriLife team, along with others, will assist growers and examine the damage. We appreciate the thoughts and prayers we’ve received from across the state.”


    Justin Chopelas, JWC Consulting, Odem, Texas/Coastal Bend:

    “There will be yield and quality reduction from Hanna, but the majority of the Coastal Bend got lucky. The hurricane slipped by us and turned south. Our losses are nothing compared to what they had in the Valley.

    “We got one to 5 inches of rain with the wind. But it was enough to hurt our color grade. One thing is for sure, with the poor color, we’ll have plenty for mattress stuffing and Q-tips.

    “Honestly, I think this would have been our best crop ever, at least in the top three. I had cotton that would have made 2,200 to 2,400 pounds, but I haven’t looked at it yet. It will be late this week before we can get ground machines in the drier areas.

    ” We need good weather to get this crop harvested. We were less than 10% defoliated and below 1% picked. I picked part of one early field that yielded 3.64 bales – and it was dryland.

    “But this is 2020. We went from droughty conditions to the pandemic and then to a hurricane. How much turmoil can we stand?”


    John Thobe, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension IPM Agent, Bailey & Castro Counties:

    “I toured southern Bailey County this morning (7/27), and on average, fields are about 7 NAWF, while a few are setting at five. The crop is pushing through and should be all right. The area caught showers in the past few days. About 1.25” fell at Muleshoe. Hart and Flagg got close to half an inch.

    “Guys have managed their herbicide applications well, and since the area was dry before the showers, weeds have remained mostly in check.

    “There are still a few lygus and stink bugs around. But consultants tell me the lygus population is the lightest they have seen in 10 to 15 years. We hope that continues.

    “In parts of the region, corn took a hit due to low rainfall and high temperatures in June and early July.”


    Paul Pilsner, Pilsner Consulting, Wharton, Texas:

     “The strongest part of Hurricane Hanna mostly stayed south of the Upper Coast. There are only a few fields that received too much rain. We feel for growers further south around Corpus and into the Rio Grande Valley. That region got hit hard.

    “We’re 40 to 50% open and don’t need any rain. We’ll start defoliating heavily as soon as it dries out. As of now, yields should be above average.

    “There are a few insect issues on later cotton. We’ve had to spray for lygus and whitefly. Stink bugs have been relentless and they are still around.

    “We’re looking at record corn and milo crops. Dryland corn has approached 200 bushels per acre. One dryland field of milo yielded 8,800 pounds. That farmer had never cut over 5,000.

    “Even though we feel good about the cotton crop, you get nervous after a weather event like Hanna. Good yields are in the field, but we can’t rest easy until the other tropical storm that’s brewing decides which way to turn.”


    Murilo Maeda, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Cotton Specialist, Lubbock:

    “Dry conditions still prevail over most of the South Plains. However, pop-up showers have been beneficial to those lucky enough to find themselves under a nice cloud.

    “Most irrigated fields are well into bloom and will benefit from the additional moisture and cooler weather. Irrigated fields that are in bloom range from 5 to 9 NAWF and 80 to 90% retention. The crop is turning the corner and looks good. Weed control remains strong.

    “While we had been well into the 100s for the better part of July, most fields handled the heat well. The negative impact of the heat stress on this late crop may have been lower than expected. It would likely have been worse if it had been in peak bloom.

     “We’ll continue to keep our friends and colleagues in south Texas in our thoughts and prayers as they deal with issues created by Hurricane Hanna.”

    Rex Friesen, Southern Kansas Cotton Growers Co-op, Winfield:

    “The crop is gorgeous and doing what it’s supposed to do. Some fields are at cutout, 5 to 6 NAWF and loaded. Others have plants at about 11 stem nodes with no blooms. There’s also late-emerged stuff that didn’t come up until after a rain on June 19. It’s nearly 3 weeks behind, and will need a perfect fall to mature and maintain quality.

    “We’ve been blessed with timely rains. It rained last weekend with many fields getting 1.5 inches. About 1” fell at the gin at Winfield. So, we have sufficient moisture.

    “It’s hard to find insects. But consultants advise growers that they need to be ready for tarnished plant bugs.

    “Guys have kept ahead of weeds, even with the rain. The crop is performing well. Those with dryland are even talking about PGRs.”


    Stephen Biles, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Victoria, Calhoun & Refugio Counties:

    “We caught 2 to 3” of rain between Port Lavaca and Victoria, but nothing compared to what they got south of Corpus. We’re ready for it to be dry for a while.

    “The cotton looks good, and nearly every field has open bolls. In a conservative boll count, yields will go over 2 bales per acre, and some will pick three. The potential is there. The area is nearly finished with insect threats unless we have a surprise. We’ll just wait and see.

    “The rain shut down the grain harvest. Many yields were good for corn and sorghum. But others suffered. While much corn will hit 120 to 130 bushels, others are as low as 40.”


    Joe Renfro, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Southwestern Oklahoma:

    “I’ve visited many fields today (7/27), and cotton is beginning to take off. It’s time for PGR applications where they have sufficient water. There’s rain in the forecast and that will push growth even more, which may mean more PGRs.

    “Fleahoppers had been quiet, but they’re showing up late. Growers need to check carefully for them and spray to prevent damage.

    “At today’s stage, irrigated fields should be a little better than average. The dryland potential depends on whether it was under a shower. But some dryland is holding on despite the lack of rain.

    “Cotton south of Duke could push 4 bales. These new varieties can load up. However, a few fields have started to shed around Altus due to the heat. They may need additional potash to help prevent it.

    “Late planted dryland milo has a fair stand and is coming up nicely. Alfalfa is making good yields and should provide 5 cuttings.” 


    Tim Ballinger, Ballinger Innovative Agronomics, Dumas, Texas:

    “Cotton is mostly at mid-bloom, and 10 to 20% has fruit developed into bolls. Most cotton is around 80 days growth, which is 20 days ahead of schedule. Peak water use is about 100 days, so we’ve welcomed spotty showers after such a dry, hot period.

    “Those showers have produced weeds, so we’re running post-emerge herbicides layby to stay ahead of them. Our key focus is on PGRs. With the recent rain, we need to hold down growth. We’re about 2.5 weeks from August 15. That’s an important date because whatever is on the plant should typically make it to October 15 or the first freeze. It should be a harvestable boll.

    “Heat units have been high. Insects are light, and the crop is nice and uniform. We just need to finish.

    “Corn is also performing well after being through hell with hot weather and days of high winds. But ears are filling out, and we should know about ear formation by next week. Mite treatments are still going out. There is also a little ear smut caused by damage from the high winds. The chances for smut are always high with continuous wind pressure.”

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

    “The crop looks good, and pests remain quiet. Fields planted early have a good boll set. Others are flowering. There is stink bug pressure, but nothing compared to last year. It was green stink bugs that gave us problems in 2019. This year it’s the Conchuela stink bug. Thankfully, numbers are low.

    “Precipitation has been low, so we’ve kept irrigation going. We finally dropped out of the 100s last week and that helped everything. Weeds are mostly under control, but there are a few problems with Russian thistle. It can be hard to control.

    “We’re watching for rust in areas that received a little rain.”


    Wayne Keeling, Texas A&M AgriLife Research Weed Specialist, Lubbock:

    “With all of the dry weather on the South Plains, it remains quiet on the weed front. Growers fortunate enough to receive rain need to catch weed flushes while they are small and finish post-emerge applications that include residuals. We can’t let a weed seed bank build up for next year.

    “Guys have done a good job getting their dicamba down before the July 31 deadline allowed by the 9th Circuit Court ruling. Users of the Enlist were glad to see the court’s ruling in favor of that technology.

    “But there are many questions for 2021. With all of the court rulings and uncertainties, we’re unsure what herbicide programs will look like next year. It puts growers in a tough spot. There’s as much uncertainty as there was over 5 years ago when pigweed resistance became a problem. We hope that common sense prevails. We need to be both optimistic and realistic.”


    Alan Sietz, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Wilcox, Arizona:

    “Most cotton is just past mid-bloom and looks fantastic. PGRs are still going out in a few fields. We’re also treating for lygus and mites, with a few spot weed treatments.

    “We had a real blessing last week. Temperatures were lower and a nice rain fell around the valley, from 0.4” to 3 inches. But that has disappeared, and we’ll have smoking hot temps again. As long as we can keep the water, it’s good for cotton.

    “Plants are loaded. However, after the monsoons and cooler weather, they’re shucking off fruit. With the strong growth of the plants, some fields could stand to shed a little.

    “After multiple rains we’re scouting for southwestern cotton rust. Root rot is also on our radar.”


    AgFax News Links

    Enlist Herbicide Receives Federal Court Reprieve – DTN   7-24

    Farmers Having Their Day In Court On Missouri Farmland Flooding – DTN   7-28

    Shurley on Cotton: Rally Stalls, Market Looking More Uncertain   7-28

    Cleveland On Cotton: Plenty Of News To Spook The Market  7-24

    Weekly Cotton Market Review – USDA   7-24

    Mystery Seed Recipients Advised to Report Shipments to USDA 7-28

    Texas Rice: Hurricane Hanna Impacts on Ratoon Crop 7-27

    Texas High Plains Cotton: Plant Bugs Widespread and Building 7-24

    Texas: 9 Counties Designated Natural Disaster Areas to Drought 7-24

    Texas LRGV Cotton: Heavy Whiteflies, Late Season Thrips 7-23

    Texas High Plains Cotton: Lygus Still a Threat, Be Careful with PGRs – Podcast 7-23

    Kansas: 7 Counties Designated Natural Disaster Areas to Drought, Freeze Events 7-24

    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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