“In some of the later-planted irrigated soils, we are still fighting plant bugs, although these aren’t concerning populations. One could almost let the numbers build up because they are sitting so high in the plant. The heat is limiting the younger immatures’ survival, too. We have a couple weeks left to deal with plant bugs, based on the age of our youngest cotton.
“We treated a limited number of acres last week for bollworms, but the pressure hasn’t been anything out of the ordinary for me
“Although it’s nothing yield-limiting, we’re finding patches of target spot and other trash fungal diseases in the tops.
“Things are a little more active in the soybeans. Redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) are here to stay at this point in the year. The majority of the acres I check have been sprayed at least once for RBSBs, and 15% to 20% have been sprayed twice. This will be the biggest pest across all the crop for the rest of the season.
“That second treatment was triggered by an explosion in the redbanded numbers. When beans reached R5.5 to R6.5, RBSBs rapidly gained a foothold. I am actually checking a lot of beans twice a week to assure RBSBs are not coming in behind me. All the treatments going out for redbanded stink bugs are working well, so far.
“Most of our beans are R5.5 or older. We will probably start putting out Gramoxone next week, but the forecast shows some showers for late this week. Most of my guys with beans close to being ready are harvesting corn right now, so a lot of the beans may be past the point of ideal Gramoxone application.
“We are starting to pick up a few loopers, but populations are not high enough to spray for specifically. As we continue to treat RBSBs, we are bound to flare the loopers.
“South of I-20, most of the corn is being harvested. Yields are 5% to 10% above what we expected, and a lot of corn acres are yielding 200-plus bushels per acre. The only yield issues I’m hearing of are in areas where northern corn leaf blight got bad, and those yields are slightly disappointing.
“If it’s going to rain, it needs to do so this week. Some beans and cotton could use a little rain, but it’s going to interrupt corn harvest. In 10 days, the cotton will be opening up and the beans will be maturing, so I’d rather it not rain at that point.”
Tyler Hydrick, Hydrick’s Crop Consulting, Inc., Jonesboro, Arkansas
“Some of the oldest cotton has about a week left for further irrigation. Most of the cotton is 3 to 5 NAWF, and we are spraying bollworms like crazy. We’re in the first week of the heavy flight. We sprayed a good amount of Bollgard II acres last week for egg lay, and what wasn’t sprayed then is being sprayed this week.
“In Bollgard 3 cotton, we’re going with a bifenthrin-acephate spray for treatment-level plant bugs. If a bollworm slips through the three-gene technology, that mix has worked well to eliminate those.
“We’ve let go of over 50% of the corn. One of my growers will start cutting corn in the next two weeks (from 8/10), going at high moisture and running it through a dryer. For the majority of my guys, it will be another month before harvest really starts. Most of the corn is at or beyond the 75% starch line.
“In soybeans, we’re pretty much just fighting bollworms now. Everyone is trying to justify what to spray on $8 beans for bollworms. Bollworm sprays aren’t cheap, but those worms cause so much damage that you can’t afford not to spray.
“Luckily, I haven’t heard of any issues with redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) in our area. I keep up with what people around Marianna are seeing because they usually get pests before we do. If August stays hot like it is, followed by a warm September, the late-planted soybeans will likely need a treatment for RBSBs.
“We will be digging peanuts in a month.”
Sebe Brown, Louisiana Extension Field Crops Entomologist
“Our bollworm trap catches in cotton have pretty much gone to zero, which is what we expected. We saw a big surge last week, but counts dropped from 150 moths per trap down to 20 this week. Egg lay has declined, too. Hopefully, that is the last of this flight.
“A fair amount of time is left in the season, so we may still see a few bollworm spikes, but I hope the majority of the flights are behind us.
“It is extremely hot and dry, and what rain was in the forecast has now been eliminated for the next 10 days (as of 8/11). This is great news for anyone harvesting corn. Also, cotton is rapidly gaining heat units, so it will quickly mature past the plant bug and bollworm susceptible stages. When it comes to cutting corn and finishing cotton, I’m always thankful for a hot, dry August.
“This is spider mite weather. We are still finding them, but the cotton is slowly gaining enough heat units that spider mites will no longer be an issue.
“Plant bugs are still hanging on, depending on the location, and are concentrating in the small amount of later-planted cotton that is at 6 to 7 NAWF. They are also concentrating in the top of the plant as the blooms move closer to the top.
“Guys are setting up for a final cleanup shot to take care of everything they can. In particular, the earlier-planted cotton is approaching the point that it can be turned loose, and everyone is itching to do so.
“A big migration of redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) is underway in the northeastern part of the state. I’m getting a lot of questions regarding treatment options. As we harvest corn, the native stink bugs are concentrating more heavily in soybeans, too.
“Depending on the stage of soybeans, the redbandeds mixed with the native stink bugs are presenting quite a challenge to growers.
“Defoliators are also on the rise and steadily moving into beans. Guys are still finding loopers every day and velvetbean caterpillars are turning up in large numbers.”
Kyle Skinner, Skinner Ag, Starkville, Mississippi
“Our cotton is anywhere from cutout to 3 NAWF. We are running the last irrigation on quite a bit of acres ahead of when bolls begin opening next week. Right now, we think we will start defoliating cotton around September 10. Hopefully, we will then have pickers running around September 20.
“We are making applications for native stink bugs. Aside from a few hotspots requiring a spray, bollworms have really calmed down. Those hotspots have been a few isolated fields of later-planted cotton. Plant bugs and spider mites aren’t issues at this point, either.
“We aren’t seeing anything of concern with disease in cotton yet. What we’re finding is normal for this time of the year.
“Most of the corn is at least at black layer, and a few growers started harvest today (8/10). The moisture levels are still a little high, but I think by the beginning of next week a lot of harvest will be starting.
“It is hot. We could really use a good rain, but the forecast is only in the medium range – around a 50% chance. We have short root systems due to so much rain in the beginning of the season, so crops are drying out quickly in this heat.
“I’m ready to get this season finished up.”
Trey Bullock, Bullock’s Ag Consulting, Hattiesburg, Mississippi
“We’ll have open bolls next week, I think, and the crop looks really good. The forecast calls for rain over the next 7 to 8 days (from 8/11). We had one stretch with 16 or 17 days of rain, which ended about 10 days ago. Going into that period, we already had more-than-adequate soil moisture, so it wasn’t like the crops were suffering. The biggest part of the rain fell in counties around Hattiesburg.
“With all that rain, we fell behind on Pix applications. Target spot also came in really badly in places, and I’ve never seen it get that bad that fast. In places, we’ve been applying fungicides just to hold onto the top 35% of the foliage. Target spot blasted through the canopy and leaves were dropping fast, and it didn’t matter which variety you planted.
“That cotton does look better and cleaner now (8/11). I don’t know if that’s due to the fungicide, the drier weather or some combination of both. For certain, this drier weather was just what we needed, and we’re to the point that we actually could use a good rain. But we don’t need another extended pounding like that last one.
“In our latest-planted cotton, we’re again running into bollworms and bollworm eggs, plus brown stink bugs. Aphids blew up a second time, but the fungus is taking them out. This later cotton got in a hurry, and it sure seems to be finishing fast.
“We’ll look at some of the older cotton one more time next week. I’m not saying we won’t check it again, but there isn’t a lot we would do in it. Overall, our cotton crop looks fine, although I really don’t know how that’s possible, considering this season’s conditions.
“In peanuts, we’re about 30 days from harvest in the earliest fields. Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) is present, but it’s a virus and we can’t do anything about it. TSWV does seem to be getting a little worse every year.
“Overall, I do see a light at the end of the tunnel. I hope it’s not a train.”
Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee
“As a whole, we’ve seen a substantial uptick in bug activity in the last 7 to 10 days. Also, a fair number of bollworms are showing up in some cotton, but the moth flight is not as big as I predicted.
“The moth flight is late, but so is some of our cotton. On younger cotton, get ahead of the game and, if warranted, treat with a diamide. On the more mature cotton, a cheaper alternative like a pyrethroid and acephate mix should be sufficient since the older crop doesn’t need extended residual.
“Some cotton in drier, earlier-planted areas is already past the susceptible stage. It’s well into cutout and at 350 to 400 DD-60s past NAWF 5. However, a bunch of our crop is at 4 to 7 NAWF. If the younger cotton is Bollgard II, it’s very likely we will be spraying it for bollworms.
“Guys are still spraying for plant bugs and stink bugs in the later cotton. Although spider mites and aphids have been light all year, we are seeing a some spikes in infestations now (as of 8/12), but that’s common for the end of the season.
“Insects in soybeans are pretty active. Green cloverworms (GCW) are showing up in pretty heavy pockets, especially in later planted fields. We don’t usually have to treat for GCWs, but treatments are going out in those pockets – particularly in later beans. People really need to get out and scout the later soybeans, but GCWs aren’t in every field.
“The good thing about GCWs is they are relatively easy to control. But don’t just run out and spray them because they often disappear as quickly as they show up without a treatment. We do have a larval-based threshold but watching for the defoliation threshold is often a better indicator of if treatment is needed. If your beans are watered and actively growing, the plants will stay ahead of GCW.
“In addition to GCW, we’re seeing several types of armyworms, saltmarsh caterpillars, and corn earworms. However, this mix is not everywhere. Scout closely and make sure you actually have a reason to treat.
“Stink bugs, and in some places kudzu bugs, are starting to build a little. They are still behind schedule, and I’m not expecting a large number of sprays for another couple of weeks.
“In places, we’re accumulating a lot of defoliation from multiple types of worms. Three types of insects each might be below threshold in a field, but in certain fields they all might add up to justification to treat.
“Don’t make a panic spray. Again, closely scout and make sure you need to spend the money.
“Corn harvest will start in 7 to 10 days, and we’re just waiting on it to dry down. Here in Jackson and other dry areas, some of the corn ‘prematurely matured’ from lack of water.”
Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist
“A lot of this cotton is finishing up. Most guys I’ve talked to are between 4 NAWF to completely flowered out the top. In the next 10 to 14 days, a lot of cotton will likely be turned loose.
“A few plant bug hotspots have popped up, so treatments will likely be going out on the cotton that has a little time left before it matures. Spider mites are also still being treated in a few areas.