Cotton – Midsouth – More Fields Cutting Out But Still A Ways To Go With Insects – AgFax

    Laykyn Rainbolt, Contributing Editor

    Owen Taylor, Editor

    Here is this week’s issue of AgFax Midsouth Cotton, sponsored by the Midsouth Cotton Team of Amvac Chemical Corporation.


    More bolls are opening in the earlier fields in Louisiana, and cotton has reached cutout on a wider basis this week through parts of the region. In certain places, plants are loaded up and ready to call it a season. In other cases, heat and lack of rain pushed dryland cotton past the point of no return. So far, only a small amount of acreage has been terminated in terms of insect management.

    Bollworms and plant bugs continue to eat into budgets. Dual-gene cotton has been the main focus in terms of bollworms. The triple-gene technology is mostly holding, based on this week’s reports.

    Spider mites remain a factor, and this current round of heat could push populations. Aphids remain active in scattered areas.



    Trent LaMastus, Consultant, Cleveland, Mississippi

    “We are in the midst of the largest bollworm moth flight that we’ve seen in a few years. We applied a diamide starting on July 19 and it performed well. That application held for about 15 days. However, egg lays have been continuous for nearly two weeks and became extremely heavy on August 1. With certain areas reaching 100% egg lays, along with some worm survival, we’re treating again with the diamides.

    “In places where we have streached out the diamide applications, plant bugs are building up. They have not been terrible this year, though. For the most part , we have been able to control plant bugs and worms at the same time without many in-between applications. We are trying to limit trips as much as possible. Every situation is different.

    “Spider mites are picking up pretty much across the board. Again, trying to save on application cost, we’re watching them and waiting to include a miticide when we address plant bugs and/or worms.

    “No worms are coming through in the Bollgard 3 or WideStrike 3 fields at this time. When we treat for plant bugs in the Bollgard 3 and WideStrike 3 we are using acephate and a pyrethroid. It knocks out a lot of bollworm moths, which helps reduce the egg lay and helps take pressure off the Bollgard 3 and WideStrike 3 technology. For the same reason, we add the same combo to our diamide applications in Bollgard II.

    “We’re close to the end and we’re hoping to make our last treatment on some fields within two weeks. Most of my cotton is past cutout, NAWF5. Very little of my cotton is at 6 NAWF now. We will cut loose a few fields in two weeks, and we’ll be done with applications on 90% of the cotton before the end of August.

    “Our soybeans are mostly at R5 to R6. We watered a good bit last week. Redbanded and other stink bug species are picking up, mainly on field edges. Loopers have been flaring up but also crashing in places. We did have to treat them in a couple of fields and I expect more will be needing trestment within a week or so. Bollworms became an issue in some later planted bean fields last week, but we’ve mostly cleaned them up. Soybeans look good but some are pretty tall and lodged a liitle in a recent storm with 50 mph winds.

    “I turned loose all of our corn today (8/4).”


    Lee Rogers, Rogers Entomological Service, Steele, Missouri

    “In dryland fields, the cotton is right at cutout, and irrigation is still going out where we have it. August is finally here, so the end is in sight.

    “It is cooler today (8/4), but we still need a good rain. We’ve had spotty showers, but it has been over a month since we had a good general rain. The forecast will tell us there’s a 50% to 60% chance for rain, but anything out there disappears before it reaches us. Most of our cotton is irrigated, but fields of every crop are starting to suffer – including cotton.

    “Bollworm activity is increasing below us, but it hasn’t hit here yet. Everyone sure needs to be on the lookout for worms. They may or may not move in here in the next few weeks.

    “We are still fighting red spider mites in a few fields. Although scattered treatments are still going out, the red spiders aren’t as bad as they were in last couple of weeks. 

    “So far, the cotton is relatively disease-free.

    “Some of the earliest-planted corn is close to the finish line, but a lot of corn still hasn’t put on the brown silk yet.”


    Larry Walker, Walker Cotton Technical Services, Flintville, Tennessee

    “Cotton is right at peak bloom, so we have several weeks left. We had showers over the weekend (8/1-2), and ample amounts of rain fell in July. We hope to be finished or only have one more Pix application left to make, but we are working with some pretty tall cotton from all the rain in July. 

    “In July, alone, we got over 5 inches. We are already over our annual average of 52 inches, and I think we have been over the monthly average every month since December 2019. One projection says that August will have average to above-average rainfall, as well. We do need the rest of the rain in August to finish out the crop. It hasn’t wilted a single day, and we are not looking to start that now.

    “The cotton has to have a pretty shallow root system from all those many days it sat in saturated soil. It’s grown a lot on top in the past month, so surely the cotton put down some more roots.

    “Insects have been light. We sprayed over half the crop for thrips, and we’ve sprayed for plant bugs. We’re feeling good about moving into August with the crop we have. A couple more insect sprays should round out the season if everything goes like it has been.


    “Some of our MG III beans planted on high red soil look really good. Those beans are two-thirds grown in the pods and are relatively insect-free. 

    “Double-cropped beans behind wheat already have threecornered alfalfa hoppers, green cloverworms and loopers. They were finally planted around July 1 and are a couple of feet tall. The double-crop beans still need rain, weed control and insecticides. 

    “We are starting to see spotty efficiency rates with Engenia killing pigweed. We made an application and took out a lot of pigweed, but some was left. Going forward, we’ll have to expand our herbicide rotations to take care of those issues.

    “Corn is past the dent stage, but the latest-planted is really going to need rain in August.”


    Sebe Brown, Louisiana Extension Field Crops Entomologist

    “We’re still seeing a lot of bollworm egg lay, and trap catches remain high. We had no trouble finding eggs on our station plots in central Louisiana today (8/4), and a pretty large bollworm flight continues across the state. 

    “This last flush of moths is just now coming out of this year’s last corn. With that corn dried down now, moth numbers hopefully will start slacking off over the next 10 days. But don’t let your guard down yet because we’re still seeing plenty of moths in trap catches.

    “Diamides are still performing well against bollworms. I haven’t had any complaints as far as that goes. 

    “Three-gene cotton is also holding up well, and I have still only heard one complaint about it. We are advising against spraying eggs on three-gene cotton, and most people are following that recommendation. However, guys aren’t even giving dual-gene a chance to fail, and they’re spraying it regardless. All the dual-gene acres have been treated. 

    “Some guys are done with plant bugs, but others are still fighting them. It really depends on the landscape around the cotton field and the age of the cotton.

    “Spider mites are starting to pick up. Hot, dry weather towards the end of the season is the perfect recipe for increasing spider mites. Some miticides are going out, but I expect more treatments. People will shift to harsher chemistries for plant bugs and stink bugs as we approach the finish line, and that allows mites to build. With the current forecast, spider mite pressure will likely continue increasing

    “Rainfall has varied widely. It rained three-tenths of an inch over the weekend (8/1-2) at the Dean Lee REC, but we haven’t had a good rain in the last week or so and certainly need one. But in areas south of here, it rained 4 inches over the weekend.

    “In soybeans, plenty of defoliators are starting to move in, especially in south Louisiana. Velvetbean caterpillars, soybean loopers and green cloverworms are all being reported. In places, any of the three are hitting threshold, but soybean loopers are reaching threshold more readily, based on reports.

    For loopers, the threshold is 150 worms per 100 sweeps. Soybean loopers are harder to control than the other two, which makes them a conern, and we’re recommending a high rate of a diamide when dealing with threshold counts.

    “Redbanded and native stink bug species vary, depending on location. A lot of treatments are going out in places, and spraying will continue until just about when beans are in the truck.

    “Stink bug scouting will be really time-intensive because we have such a wide range of beans in terms of growth stages. Stink bugs may concentrate in one field but not in the field across the turnrow due to differences in the ages and growth stages of those two fields. As beans come out of the more advanced fields, stink bugs will increasingly concentrate in any susceptible acres still left.”


    Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee

    “Some cotton in the drier areas and earlier-planted fields is at NAWF 1 to 2, so we are primarily done managing insects on those fields. 

    “We’re on the front end of the bollworm flight. Quite a few people are reporting a few moths and eggs, but I’m still expecting a fairly large bollworm flight this year. It’s picking up, and I think we’ll see a lot more in the next 5-10 days.

    “In cotton, the main concern is the Bollgard II cotton. I expect the Bollgard 3 and WideStrike 3 to hold up against the worms, but they still need to be scouted. We still have a fair amount of Bollgard II is in the system, so we’re primarily focused on spraying worms in those fields.

    “A lot of plant bug treatments have gone out in the last week. Plant bugs are lighter than normal, but a lot of fields are still reaching or exceeding threshold, and we are seeing stink bugs in some places. Overall, I think most people have their plant bugs under control.

    “People are trying to decide what materials to apply for some combination of plant bugs and stink bugs in certain cases, plus the incoming bollworm flight. It’s a little early to get too excited about bollworms, but in 5 to 7 days I expect a lot of sprays to go out. In the vast majority of situations, I’m encouraging them to start with the diamide insecticides. 

    “Some are using an acephate mixed with a pyrethroid this week, aiming to clean up plant bugs and stink bugs. They also hope this buys them a few days of worm control before they possibly have to come back with a diamide for bollworms. 

    “More corn earworms (CEW) are turning up in the late-planted soybeans than in cotton. I’ve heard about really high moth numbers in some areas near the Mississippi River, which is our typical hotspot. These CEW moths will focus their attention in beans that are flowering, and especially if the canopy hasn’t closed up.

    “Based on reports, all kinds of worms have turned up in soybeans – cloverworms, a mix of loopers, and corn earworms in various places but certainly not everywhere. Scout beans closely. I expect a lot of sprays to start going out in the next week for corn earworms in our latest soybeans.

    “I want to remind everyone that the biggest bollworm issues in soybean, and sometimes cotton, are often seen in the Mississippi River bottoms. I’m pretty confident those moths use the Mississippi River as a navigational route, so the crops nearby sometimes suffer the consequences. Having said that, economic infestations of bollworm in cotton can occur anywhere in the state.

    “Stink bugs and kudzu bugs are still relatively light in beans, but we will see more spraying for these pests in the coming weeks.

    “Most corn is in dent or beyond except for a few late-planted fields. It could use some rain to finish up in some places. We’ve not had a good, widespread rain.  Some places have had good rainfall, others are dry. Currently, and the forecast doesn’t look promising.”


    Richard Griffing, Griffing Consulting, LLC, Monterey, Louisiana

    “Cotton is cutting out pretty good, and it’s really maturing fast. We have had open bolls on the oldest for a couple of weeks, but the youngest hasn’t opened up quite yet. The cotton has had a fairly easy season so far, and it still looks really promising.

    “We’re having to really stay on top of plant bugs and bollworms. Two shots of diamide already has gone out on most of the cotton, and we’re treating for plant bugs every 8 to 9 days. This has been one of the lighter years for plant bugs, but we’re still having to spray them, of course. 

    “Spider mites have also been fairly light. I have only treated a couple hundred acres all year. That could all change at any point. I usually have a lot of spider mite issues, but this has not been one of those years.

    “We are seeing some target spot. It’s not terrible, but the cotton was wet for up to 18 hours per day from all the showers. A nice front is coming through right now (8/3), and no rain is in the forecast for the next 10 days, plus low humidity. I hope the target spot will float out with the front. 

    “I have seen very little bacterial blight on the bolls. Again, I’m hoping this weather will come in and clear up a lot of diseases we’re beginning to see. There’s plenty of sunshine and favorable temperatures in the forecast, so I think all the crops will start maturing faster. 

    “We’re beginning to desiccate a lot of soybeans. Within the next 7 days, we’ll have 70% done, and in the next 14 days 80% will be desiccated.

    “Redbanded stink bugs are horrible, and we’re having to spray them every 10 days. 

    “A few of my clients are harvesting beans. No word on yields, but growers seem to be pleased. In another week, we will be heavy into soybean harvest.

    “Corn harvest is just starting, and so far, it’s looking really good. One of my farmers harvested about 1,000 acres and used the word ‘exceptional’ to describe it. Like the beans, it’ll be another week before we are really wide open on harvesting corn.”


    Eddy Cates, Cates Agritech Inc., Marion, Arkansas

    “We’re still spraying plant bugs, and we have been fighting them for well over a month and a half. We are also spraying spider mites, but they are about under control. 

    “A moth flight is just beginning (8/4), and we are seeing a few moths dribbling into the cotton. Treatments moving forward will likely be for a mix of plant bugs and worms. The heaviest plant bug pressure is still in cotton surrounded by corn, but even in areas away from corn we are fighting them, only with somewhat longer intervals.

    “A lot of our cotton is right at cutout or at NAWF 2-3. We are trying to shut down that cotton, but a lot of the irrigated cotton is still at NAWF 5-6. In the next couple of days, a lot of our cotton should be at or past cutout. 

    “Soybeans range from R3 to R6. This week, we are spraying bollworms on several fields at R2 to R3.5. In addition to bollworms, a heavy infestation of green cloverworms (GCW) has developed. In some situations, we are at 1 per sweep. We’re watching the levels of defoliation, and it’s looking like we will have to spray a few fields for GCW. The worms continue increasing. Last week, they were just at 25% on 100 sweeps.

    “I haven’t had to spray for GCW before, but the way this looks we will this year. I’m hearing that some people are hitting as high as 200% when they sweep. If we reach 10% to 15% defoliation and with these numbers when we sweep, GCW will have to be sprayed. I have fields at 7% defoliation now.

    “Corn is very close to being done. A lot is at a quarter to half on the starch line. We’re watering it this week and maybe next week, but we will start terminating corn next week at half-starch.”


    Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist

    “It’s becoming extremely busy in the cotton (8/5). Bollworm counts are increasing. A second flight is underway in south Arkansas, but for some parts of the state this may be the third flight. A heavy egg lay is ongoing in the southern half of the state, and a lot of sprays are going out. Some guys are actually spraying their second Prevathon or Besiege application on numerous fields.

    “This has really been an extended, heavy bollworm flight. Plenty of eggs were laid in our plots in Tillar, and we’re also seeing significant damage where we didn’t spray the dual-gene cotton. But all the three-gene cotton – the Bollgard 3, WideStrike 3 and TwinLink Plus – it seems to be holding up well. 

    “Plant bugs are still a problem and numbers are still high. It seems like there’s a new wave of plant bugs coming in fields regularly, and a lot of guys are battling plant bugs and worms at the same time. 

    “Plant bugs actually started light this year, but it’s been a normal year in terms of overall plant bug pressure. Some farmers have only sprayed plant bugs once or twice, but others have treated 4 to 6 times. Look for boll damage and monitor plant bug numbers to determine when to spray. 

    “We still have scattered aphids in some fields. Spider mites appear to be building in areas, particularly in northeast Arkansas.


    “In soybeans, redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) have reached threshold up through the southern third of the state in the early-planted fields. RBSBs are definitely on the rise, and numerous applications are going out.

    “The bollworm flight in the beans is pretty heavy, too, with up to 40 in 25 sweeps. The threshold is 9 per 25. The average population seems to run between 15 and 25 per 25 sweeps. Numbers are increasing, as are the number of bean fields being treated. 

    “A lot of Heligen, Prevathon and Besiege sprays are going out. At least two-thirds of the state is under this bollworm flight now (8/5), and it’s moving north, so closely scout soybeans.”


    Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist

    “We are still dealing with this wave of plant bugs that picked up about 2.5 weeks ago (as of 8/5). For the most part, our typical plant bug regimen is working well. A few hotspots have required treatments in close intervals to get under control.

    “Over the last 5 to 6 days, an extremely heavy bollworm egg lay started in cotton. This isn’t everywhere, but where it’s happening it’s been impressive. Several consultants say it’s the heaviest they’ve seen in years.

    “A lot of cotton is approaching or past cutout. This raises the tough question, ‘How much money should spend on cotton now to battle bollworms?’ When making that decision, you have to consider how far the crop is from accumulating 300 to 350 heat units past NAWF 5, the point when harvestable fruit is safe.

    “Some fields are past NAWF 5 and the white flower count is quickly moving up the plant. In those cases, we’re going after the worms with a pyrethroid and acephate to knock them back without spending money on diamides.

    “In situations where cotton is at NAWF 5 to NAWF 6, we still have 17 to 20 days left to protect the crop, so we are using a diamide in those situations. We’re utilizing the residual of the diamide to hopefully finish the crop out. We want to finish this crop out without spending unnecessary money.

    “With the hot, dry weather we’ve had, we are still treating spider mites. The numbers seem to be increasing, but we’re achieving good control. Surprisingly, we are seeing just as many issues in the hills as we are in the Delta this year.

    “If the cotton is fairly clean at NAWF 5 plus 350 heat units, you can terminate spider mite sprays. A lot of our research shows that, so we should be getting close to the end of spider mite applications in many fields over the next week.

    “Rain has been extremely spotty. A slight chance is in the forecast for next Tuesday (from 8/5), but we’ve seen feeble popup showers creating wash-offs in a few areas that had a 0% chance of rain. The dry weather is pushing these non-irrigated crops fast.

    “A lot of people are reporting redbanded stink bugs (RBSBs) this week. Numbers are getting really high in certain areas, but RBSBs are showing up for the first time in other areas. The consensus is that the numbers are greatly increasing over a wider geography right now.

    “I expect to see pretty big increases in RBSB numbers over the next 10 to 14 days as more early beans mature and later beans hit R5.5 to R6. Redbandeds really like the beans within that stage. Applications keep increasing daily across a wider region. 

    “Loopers are also starting to increase in the beans in quite a few areas. More treatments are going out, and we are picking them up in our own plots, too. We have been flushing a lot of looper moths lately, and I expect loopers to be a hot topic by the end of next week.

    “Green cloverworms (GCW) numbers are probably as high as we’ve seen in the past few years. Luckily, they are pretty easy to control. If we make an application for any other pest, it will likely kill GCWs. We’ve actually seen a few targeted sprays go out for GCWs, which is extremely unusual.”

    AgFax Midsouth Cotton is published by AgFax Media LLC
    Owen Taylor, Editorial Director.
    Working-Copy%5B1%5D.jpgThis weekly report is distributed during the cotton production 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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