Texas West Plains IPM: Critical Period for All Crops, Keep Scouting Fields

    Photo: Texas AgriLife Extension

    Cotton ranges from just beginning to bloom with more than 6 nodes above white flower (NAWF) to past physiological cutout with 2 NAWF. Using our IPM scouting fields as a representation of area cotton crop, we see that 68% of fields have reached physiological cutout (<5 NAWF) this week.

    For those fields we need approximately 400 more heat units (HU) to accumulate to be safe from bollworms. With the current weather trend of +20 heat units per day, those fields which have reached cutout should be safe from bollworms around August 23-27.

    The remaining 32% of the cotton acreage has such a wide range of maturity levels that it would be difficult to be as certain of when it will be safe from worms. I would approach these later maturing fields from this angle. We historically say or last effective bloom date ranges from August 20 (out on state line) to August 25 (near Ropesville).

    These are dates in which a boll can be formed, have time to mature, and contribute to yield. Therefore, if we continue with this weather pattern into September, and we are accumulating 20 HU/day, we can add 20 days to these dates. Thus, would give us a target of September 9-14 for those late fields needing to be scouted and protected from worm issues.

    The point being is that NAWF is an important gauge of maturity and can help project time needed to be safe from worms and even manage irrigation.

    Currently, bollworms are infesting area fields and need to be scouted and possibly treated; particularly those varieties with Bollgard II or no Bt technology. Lygus, stinkbug, and cotton aphids should be included in those scouting procedures.

    Peanuts are generally healthy and developing a good pod load. Those who have keep up with water demands of peanuts this last month should be seeing a very good bloom, peg, and pod load. In general, the dry-hot weather has suppressed disease pressure.

    Reports from the south of us indicate some spider mite activity. I am seeing very light worm feeding to foliage. Weeds continue to be a challenge where irrigation is mostly continual.

    Grains are all over the board in terms of growth stage. Sugarcane aphids are present in few fields mostly north of the Sandhills in Lamb County. Worms and mites are also present.

    You or someone must scout. We are in a critical period in all crops. Do not drop the ball now as we go deeper into the second half.

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