“We don’t want to do any automatic spraying and we need to avoid any treatments unless a significant problem arises during the next six weeks. That doesn’t mean letting stinkbugs go wide open, but we should spray only when necessary. We need all the beneficials we can hold in the field.
“In peanuts and soybeans, velvetbean caterpillars are showing up on a majority of the acres in Southwest Alabama. They started appearing last week, and pressure is getting heavy this week. We’re only finding a few soybean loopers.
“Scattered thunderstorms have been infrequent in the last week, so we are in dry situations over much of the crop.”
Bryce Sutherland, S&R Ag Consulting, Sylvester, Georgia
“We caught some much-needed rain last week, and it was critical for a big part of the dryland acres I have.
“We are treating about 30% of our acres for whiteflies and nearly all those acres needed two treatments. Although the pressure isn’t as heavy as 2017, we are focused on making timely applications. Timeliness is critical.
“We have a few hot spots with spider mites, but so far have treated only a handful of fields. We are keeping a close eye on them.
“We are collecting samples for cotton leafroll dwarf virus. We need to learn about the virus, and part of that is evaluating whether varieties respond differently.
“We are finding target spot in the lower canopy on irrigated land.
“In peanuts, we are starting to see white mold on 80- to 90-day peanuts and we have scattered incidents of leaf spots. Most of the fungicide programs are holding up well. We treated a few dryland fields for lesser cornstalk borer. We’re seeing other worm populations increase, but we haven’t had to treat yet.
“Signs of dryness are showing up in fields and tomato spotted wilt virus is increasing, with more of it in the skippy stands. However, the level of tomato spotted wilt virus isn’t worrisome so far.
“Corn is drying down to heavy black layer and it looks like we’ll have a good crop, with a nice percentage of ears filling out to the end.
“We are about a week from harvesting grain sorghum. We treated nearly every acre for sugarcane aphid and wiped them out early. We also treated some acres for sorghum midge. Yield potential is pretty good. Even the dryland acres caught rains at the right time.”
Sally Taylor, Virginia Tech Extension Entomologist, Tidewater REC
“It finally rained in eastern Virginia. That’s good because a lot of our acres needed it. Hopefully, the rain also wiped out spider mites.
“Our restraint in spraying fields early-season is paying off. We have large populations of natural insect enemies in many fields, which in part can be attributed to non-economic aphid populations. As a result, we had few plant bug or bollworm sprays. I’ve never seen a year with these few pest problems in cotton.
“Bollworm pressure is light. Some of our moth traps in the central and southeastern part of the state started going up over the weekend, but we haven’t seen a huge influx of worms in cotton. We are currently scouting for eggs. I haven’t seen any worms in fruit.
“Everybody should check terminals and leaves close to blooms. If 25% of the locations you look at in any given field have eggs, we recommend a preventive spray.
“High numbers of foliage-feeding caterpillars have shown up in several peanut fields. Keep in mind that peanut can tolerate 4 to 8 worms per row foot, and we have found worms at that level in peanut fields this year. But I would definitely scout before spraying. Many fields are 100% clean.
“Low numbers of small worms have been showing up in soybean. At this point, check beans weekly for worms and stink bugs if you haven’t been doing so already.”
Scott Graham, Extension Entomologist, Auburn University
“Spider mites are picking up in southeast Alabama. That area has been hot and dry for a couple of weeks, so we expected more spider mite activity.
“If we look long enough, we can find an escaped worm or a damaged square, but bollworm pressure isn’t bad.
“Plant bugs have increased a good deal in north Alabama, with significant numbers of small immature tarnished plant bugs in drop cloth samples. We were below threshold at Belle Mina the last 2 weeks but hit three times threshold this week.
“Redbanded stinkbugs (RBSB) are in soybeans in the Black Belt region in west Alabama, but that’s the only area where we have received reports of RBSB. We have sprayed 12,000 to 13,000 acres, or about 5% of the crop in that region, and the treatments are working.
“We are just starting to pick up loopers in soybeans, including a few we found on the station in Prattville. At Prattville, we also found Beauveria bassiana, the fungus that control kudzu bugs. Surprisingly, we are still seeing kudzu bugs in the Black Belt region west of the station, but most are not at treatable levels.
“Stinkbugs are sporadic but seem to be picking up. In a trial in Prattville that was checked 14 days after spray the pressure was picking up in untreated plots and in treatments with a shorter residual.”
Jeremy Greene, Clemson University Entomologist, Blackville, South Carolina
“We didn’t get any rain here in Blackville from the hurricane (Isaias), and we are just 80 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. If a storm misses us on the east side, we get nothing or next to nothing, and we have seen this many times before.
“We’re finding more bollworm injury in cotton. We scouted some trials today, and most of the two-gene cotton looks good, but in some we found boll injury at threshold. In one field, we found damage to 6% of the bolls, 3% of the squares and 2% of the blooms.
“Stinkbugs are in the system. As long as we follow the dynamic boll-injury threshold for treatment, we should be fine. The question is whether we should protect some fields with additional sprays going forward.
“With this dry weather, at what point do we pull back on inputs? If a field gets rain, picks up and sets a renewed bloom and fruit load that offers good yield potential, then protect those bolls. In lower South Carolina – generally referred to as ‘below the lakes’ – we can harvest bolls that are set by early September. Above the lakes, bolls have to be set sooner to reliably reach harvest.
“Spider mites will probably be an issue in areas that miss scattered showers, making them another stressor for plants in dryland fields.