“Whether we grow cotton or vegetables, we all need to do our part to manage the overall population of whiteflies. In Georgia, we grow crops 12 months a year that give whiteflies a place to reproduce and build populations. When we harvest a field, we need to eliminate that crop – whatever it is – as a source for building populations.
“We can’t let up on SLWF management just because it’s raining. Where they are entrenched, the rain will suppress adult whiteflies, but it won’t make them go away. The rain simply gives us a break for a few days until the immatures turn into adults. For those fringe areas with lighter populations, the rain may be enough to help us win this race to the finish line.
“For cotton growers, the pressure this year is nowhere like the outbreak of 2017. Our growers have done an excellent job of managing SLWF. Their proactive approach helped us avoid a lot of what we saw in 2017. When we work together, we all benefit.
“Conserving beneficial insect populations helped – and was easier to do this year because stinkbug numbers have mostly been low, which helped us reduce sprays. We’re fortunate to have the opportunity to use natural controls.
“We are addressing corn earworm on scattered fields. It’s important to scout.
“It’s raining almost every day, and that’s helping some of our dryland cotton. But we’re also starting to detect a little boll rot. We’re at the point where this rain helps cotton in places but hurts it in others. Overall, we have an above-average crop and hopefully we’ll wrap it up soon.”
John Burleson, Consultant, Swan Quarter, North Carolina
“Our cotton is about done. The crop is anywhere from cutout to 5 nodes above white bloom. We have a little time left to protect that younger cotton, but we’re not finding much pest pressure.
“In general, we saw lighter stinkbug pressure and more plant bugs than normal this year. We knew we had a late crop, so we tried to protect it. This cotton really made a 180-degree turn. Although we didn’t have blooms by the Fourth of July, once it started going it didn’t stop. We have potential for a great crop.
“Recent rains will help fill out cotton and soybean. Our soybeans range from R3 to nearly ready to harvest. We have hot pockets of corn earworm and soybean loopers. In a few places, we’re finding heavy stinkbug pressure. None of the insect pressure is widespread.
“Corn harvest is underway. We had a hard start with a rough spring. So far, the crop seems to range from below average to average. But it’s still a little early to know how it will turn out.”
Jeremy Greene, Clemson University Entomologist, Blackville, South Carolina
“It’s been raining almost every day. Although these storms have been scattered, most of the state is wet.
“This wet weather is releasing moths from pupal chambers underground, including bollworms and tobacco budworms. When soil remains moist for a long period, that likely encourages them to emerge.
“My trap counts are spiking again this week, and the counts are the highest they’ve been in three years. This flight isn’t likely to impact our early-planted cotton. We could see some top-crop issues in cotton that was planted on time, but we don’t expect anything significant. However, carefully watch late-planted cotton.
“Stinkbugs are the insect I’m most worried about, and they are easy to find on bolls in cotton fields. The stinkbug complex will do well in this moist environment. The eggs hatch better, plus growers can’t get in the field to spray because it’s so wet. That could be an issue in both cotton and soybean.
“In soybeans, also watch closely for tobacco budworms and podworms. We’re also seeing soybean loopers, which is a critical defoliating pest to clean up early. According to a call today (8/25), velvetbean caterpillar (VBC) may be coming in soon. If they reach threshold, I’m going to put out an insecticide trial. We are hoping the resistant migrant VBC population that came through last year was an anomaly.”
Brandon Phillips, Phillips Ag Services, LLC, Fitzgerald, Georgia
“When this rain moves out, we’ll start defoliating dryland cotton. About 10% of our dryland cotton is ready for defoliation with a yield potential between 500 to 700 lbs/acre. Most of our irrigated cotton looks strong – as good as last year or better. We’ll see how that holds.
“This time last year things started turning dry, and we picked every boll that opened. This year, though, we already have boll rot, so we could lose 50 to 250 lbs/acre of yield from that.
“In addition to boll rot, target spot is showing up. In fields where we had a history of target spot – about 10% of our acreage – we were proactive with a fungicide application.
“We are battling silverleaf whiteflies (SLWF) in fields that are in the fifth or sixth week of bloom. They’re expensive to treat, and we’ve been fighting them for about two weeks now. When SLWF show up in the historical areas, they’re usually here about a week later. That didn’t happen this year, but that’s likely because we were managing for beneficial insect populations and we were able to hold off on stinkbug sprays early in the season.
“Dr. (Phillip) Roberts said we were doing something right and should keep doing it. On dryland acres, we’re worried about regrowth attracting SLWF. With cotton prices so low, it’s hard to justify a whitefly spray on one-bale cotton.
“We sprayed about 60% to 70% of our cotton once for stinkbugs. Stinkbugs just never materialized at the level we usually expect.
“In peanuts, our main focus right now is white mold and leaf spot. We moved to a 10-day fungicide schedule when the weather pattern shifted to hot and wet. We started finding white mold three or four weeks ago, and now leaf spot is showing up. These rainy, cloudy conditions are perfect for leaf spot. My growers have done a good job of being on time with fungicides.
“Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) started early in skippy stands and never slowed down.
“About 200 acres that were planted April 10 will be dug in 2 weeks, which puts them at 145 days after planting”
“Most everybody added something to the tank for worms when they made the last two fungicide applications. We primarily are seeing velvetbean caterpillars, but the mix also includes loopers, rednecked peanut worms and corn earworms.
“Remnants of lesser cornstalk borers are still present, but the rain has sent them packing. Threecornered alfalfa hopper numbers are increasing. We pay attention to them when they start girdling the stems and determine how much girdling is taking place.
“As far as insects, it’s been a normal year.”
Dominic Reisig, NCSU Extension Specialist, Entomology, Plymouth, North Carolina
“With widespread rain over the last week or so, the majority of our cotton looks better. We are in a huge bollworm flight, but this is the fourth generation, and they historically reach about first instar and then peter out. Of course, this is 2020, so we could see something different.
“We passed our last effective bloom date. Given the late crop, some growers are hoping to harvest blooms this week, but that’s a risky proposition. We do still have plant bugs around. Growers likely don’t need to worry about plant bugs hitting squares, but we do need to protect small bolls.