Midsouth Cotton: Rain Subsides In Time for Cotton Plant Bug Window

    Laykyn Rainbolt, Contributing Editor

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


    After mid-June floods, growers were forced to access fields and make the tough decision to replant this late in the season or not. Other areas are looking to irrigate as temperatures continue to rise.

    Plant bugs continue to increase in numbers as more cotton enters that window. Some are concerned this will be a heavy year for plant bug populations. Most areas are seeing treatments go out for up to the third time.

    Fall armyworms are gaining attention as they move into soybeans. Be mindful when treating that corn-strain armyworms could be mixed in with grass-strain armyworms.



    David Hydrick, Hydrick’s Crop Consulting, Inc., Jonesboro, Arkansas:  

    “Spider mites are really flaring up in cotton. We are seeing treatments go out for them and plant bugs, which are also moving into cotton quickly. Quite a few growers are making Pix herbicide applications, but we are still struggling to get residuals on several fields. We are trying to finish fertilizing all the cotton and get polypipe out to really get it going.

    “The corn is beginning to silk. We are finishing Afla-Guard treatments where applicable on dryland corn, and all pre-tassel nitrogen has been put out. We will start running fungicides on corn next week.

    “All our peanut ‘cracking’ sprays are out, so we’re starting the first round of fungicides now (June 22).

    “Our oldest rice is right at one inch of movement, but most is green ring to one-quarter inch of movement. The majority of the rice is at flood. We are evaluating herbicide work done over the past two weeks to see if additional applications are needed. We are a little more grassy than usual for this time of the year because all the rain prevented everyone from getting in the fields. We’re in good shape, but I think we will have a little more to clean up.

    “Our oldest beans are at R2 and have been lay by or will be soon, and our youngest beans got their first herbicide applications last week (week of June 14). We are trying to plant beans after wheat, but we can’t get anything up in the drylands. With a pivot, we can at least get everything under the pivot up.

    “Wheat yields have been really good.

    “We missed a rain that a lot of fields needed. I have fertilizer and herbicide on the ground, so we’re in desperate need of a rain in some areas. The northern 20% of my territory has good moisture levels, and we were in a little mud this morning (June 22). The rest of the counties I cover are dry and need to see a rain soon.”

    Ty Edwards, Edwards Ag Consulting, LLC, Water Valley, Mississippi: 

    “All our cotton ranges from 4 to 12 nodes and is looking better each day. Cotton faired very well from the flooding for the most part, but we did lose 5% to 10%.

    “It seems like we went from spraying thrips to plant bugs in a matter of just a few days. Thrips have been terrible, and we’re still having to spray a few select fields that haven’t grown off very well to get it over the hump. Plant bugs have increased daily in the older cotton. It’s not bad, but we are running a few treatments and throwing some growth regulator in with it.

    “Weed control has been pretty good, with very few escapes so far. We’ve had a time killing some goose grass populations; repeated applications of high rates of glyphosate seem to be the only thing that’s working.

    “Soybeans are all over the board. They range from R3 to not planted, but we are seeing very little insect pressure at this point (June 23).

    “Soybeans took it on the chin from the floods. For whatever reason, they did not fare very well under the floodwaters, and it wasn’t age specific. It could be a lot of our beans are planted on the ‘lower acres’ and stayed waterlogged and under water longer. We have replanted a ton of mid-June beans behind the water and are still hopeful to get some more planted soon. However, some acres were a total loss and will not be replanted this year.

    “I have very little corn this year, but what I do have looks amazing. Most of the corn is silking, has no bugs or signs of disease, and fertility still looks great. We will be flying on the last of the topdress nitrogen very soon, and we will be adding 10% to 15% to account for what we think we lost earlier.”

    Matt Foster, Louisiana Extension Cotton, Corn, and Grain Sorghum Specialist: 

    “With the adverse weather conditions, it’s been a struggle this year for cotton in Louisiana. Most of the cotton was planted in late May to early June, but some growers finished planting cotton last week (week of June 14). It is late this year. We typically see cotton blooming around the fourth of July, but we’ll only see a little bloom by that time this year. As of June 21, it was reported that approximately 40% of the cotton in the state was squaring. We have a long way to go. With cotton growth ranging from just emerging to squaring, it’s evident we had scattered planting windows this year.

    “In addition to challenges during planting, weed management and fertilizer applications have not been easy because of the wet weather. We are seeing some injury from oil-based herbicides and/or surfactants due to high humidity and high moisture environments. Having a crop this late is important to be aware of. We don’t need to slow down the cotton more than the weather already has.

    “Despite all the challenges, the cotton crop I’ve seen across the state looks good. It’s just late. Cotton acres were already predicted to be down, but because of the wet weather and adverse planting conditions, a lot of growers planted soybeans rather than cotton. Some cotton gins won’t even be open this year. I’ve talked to several growers who said this is the first time in 30 to 40 years they haven’t planted cotton. You can still yield a good crop from June planted cotton, but since the crop is growing quicker during hotter weather conditions, management practices must be timelier.

    “Thrips have been a concern in certain areas of the state, as usual. It hasn’t been anything out of the ordinary compared to past years, but populations have been high enough in some areas to justify foliar insecticide applications.

    “Aphids and fleahoppers have not reached treatment levels in most areas of the state; however, some insecticide applications have gone out for plant bugs in pre-bloom cotton (week of June 21). As more of the crop starts to square, more focus will be put toward square retention and growth regulation. PGR applications need to be on time as the cotton is accumulating a lot of heat units and growing quickly.

    “We have a lot of corn this year, and it looks really good for the most part. It ranges from starting to tassel to starting to dent. A few people did have to start irrigating corn in the past few weeks (from June 23), but we’ve received a few timely rains recently. Prices are good, and people are optimistic about the corn crop.”

    Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist: 

    “The heavy rains a couple weeks ago (week of June 14) beat back thrips numbers, but some of the youngest cotton is still not out of the thrips stage. Particularly the north to central part of the state has an extremely high level of thrips in cotton and will absolutely require treatment. The south Delta area hasn’t seen the numbers the north Delta has, but we are taking care of a few cases in the south Delta region on late planted cotton.

    “Most of the cotton is getting out of the thrips stage, so now the concern has shifted to plant bugs. Starting last week, the bulk of the cotton is moving into the plant bug window. All of the early plant bug reports have indicated high numbers. Most of the cotton that has squared has been treated at least once for plant bugs, and some of the earliest planted cotton is about to receive its third treatment.

    “Some of my own cotton is just at seven nodes, and we already have immature plant bugs in it. That is a little unusual, but that’s what we’re dealing with right now.

    “In soybeans, particularly in the southern and southwest parts of the state, although not exclusive to that region, we are seeing really high armyworm numbers. In just about every case, the armyworms have moved off grass after an herbicide application. Since the armyworms have been on the grass, they are already large when they move into the soybeans. Because of that size, they can eat a lot of beans in a short amount of time. When we have had this situation in past years, 99% of the time it has been the grass-strain of fall armyworms, which are easily killed by pyrethroids. However, this year we are only getting 50% to 60% control with pyrethroids in some areas. It is unusual to not easily control armyworms moving off grass, but we are still missing a lot of what we traditionally call grass-strain with our treatments. We know these fields were treated, so everything checks out. This tells us we likely have the corn-strain mixed in with the grass-strain, but you can’t tell them apart just by looking at them. We typically tell them apart by the host they are on – but not this year apparently. We are recommending adding something to the tank during a planned pyrethroid application to control the corn-strain such as Intrepid Edge, Besiege, Prevathon, regular Intrepid or Diamond. Something has to be added to a pyrethroid to be certain we’re going to control these populations. Dimilin is also an option, but it needs to be targeted at worms less than one half inch in size. In the case of worms moving off grass, a lot of times the worms are already larger than this. If you have grassy fields and need to apply an herbicide, check the grass before spraying. If armyworms are present, add something with the herbicide to control the armyworms.”

    Bill Robertson, Arkansas Extension Cotton Specialist: 

    “The weather has been crazy. It varies by location, but some areas around Dumas received up to 2 inches of rain yesterday (June 21). Water had just come off the low ends of the fields after the earlier floods, so everyone was trying to get stuff done, but now the middles are full of water again. Outside the flooded area, the time to irrigate is coming up quick. Some areas are actually needing a rain and only got a sprinkle yesterday. The forecast showed the rains would be widespread, but it was just very concentrated in a few locations. Another chance of rain is in the forecast for Saturday (June 26), and we could really use it. We’ve been nine days without rain (from 6/22).

    “As crazy as the rain seems this year, we typically have to start irrigating around June 20. We’re on track compared to past years other than the areas that got a flood. Southwest Arkansas didn’t really receive floods, but every time you turned around, it was raining. Most of the growers couldn’t get more than 75 acres of cotton planted. It’s hardly worth having cotton at that point. It is estimated fewer than 1,000 acres of cotton was planted in the southwest region this spring.

    “It is estimated the southeast zone lost 5,000 acres of cotton from the rains the second week of June. The land cotton is planted on is not typically the land that floods. The lower line fields are usually planted in beans, and they are still trying to come up with a count on the lost soybean acres from the mid-June floods. Chicot and Ashley counties did not get the heavy rains, but the floodwater is working its way down and flooding fields there now. We just have a lot of water upstream.

    “If the cotton was under water two days or less, it still looks pretty good. Plants that were under three days looked OK at first but then crashed with the heat and sunny conditions. If the cotton was under water more than four days, it clearly didn’t make it. Every year is a little different. The root system doesn’t function very well when under water in anaerobic conditions. Temperatures following the water coming off the cotton were over 95 degrees. The roots weren’t functioning, the plant couldn’t cool itself and the sun scorched it.

    “If the cotton starts squaring today (June 22), we are looking at July 17 for the first white flower. Although most aren’t planting this late, some people are still trying to put cotton seed in the ground. I visited with a consultant who said he planted some cotton about this time a couple years ago that made over 1,000 pounds, but we had an ideal fall. How often will that actually happen? If I were planting now, I would expect to pick maybe 500 to 600 pounds. There’s no way one can make money off that.

    “My oldest cotton was planted May 1 and has been squaring for a while. The youngest cotton was planted May 21. When we looked at it last week, it was just at the second or third-true leaf, and we had to spray it for thrips. We have high thrip numbers out there, so we really have to watch it in the younger cotton.”


    Trent LaMastus, Consultant, Cleveland, Mississippi:  

    “Our cotton ranges from V7 to V12, so nearly everything is squaring or well into squaring. Some of the older cotton has received two plant bug applications at this point, and the younger cotton will likely receive its first treatment by the end of this week (from June 22).

    “We caught a good rain shower last night (June 21), and we are applying PGRs everywhere we can. We’ve done some broadcast applications at a blanket rate and others variable rate by air and ground application.

    “We are seeing scattered spider mites in a few fields but nothing at treatment level yet. If populations do increase, we will piggyback on a plant bug application to also treat the spider mites. We also saw a few aphids in one area last week, but we got those cleaned up. The rest of the herbicide is going out over the top, and the next trip will be lay by.

    “Soybeans range from V3 to R5. Some fungicides have gone out and more will be going out in the coming weeks. We are still doing some wrap up weed control.

    “Insect pressure has been light to this point, but I did find my first redbanded stink bug of the season this morning (June 22) in north Humphreys County. We are picking up a few cloverworms, and brown and green stinkbugs are light but scattered around. In areas where grass was cleaned up, we have seen quite a few grass-strain armyworms move into soybeans. No treatments are going out, but we are finding heavy numbers.

    “Corn ranges from R1 to approaching R4. We are seeing very little disease in corn.

    “Insect pressure has been light in the sweet potatoes, as well.

    “We’re monitoring moisture levels in all crops and irrigating as necessary. Some fields might be getting irrigated where we received lighter rains yesterday (June 21). I was fortunate to not have a huge crop loss with the torrential rains two weeks ago (week of June 7), but my areas did receive anywhere from 4 to 22 inches of rain. We were fortunate compared to those north of Highway 82 and other areas.”

    AgFax Midsouth Cotton is published by AgFax Media LLC
    Ernst Undesser, 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.

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