Gary Beverage, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Artesia, New Mexico/Southwest Texas:
“Overall, the cotton looks good. A lot is blooming and starting to put on more fruit. We’ve had quite a bit of moisture. That has helped the crop, but we must keep an eye out for Southwestern cotton rust. There are no major infections, but we’re applying protective fungicides to be in front of it.
“Insects are not a problem, but I’m curious about how stink bugs will react to wetter conditions. Weed management has been solid. We had productive early control from timely herbicide applications. Now, the canopy will start closing soon.
“The yield potential depends on if we experience an early cold snap like we had last September that hurt the 2020 crop. We don’t want that again. Temperatures have moderated in the 90s with lows in the 70s. That is helping. We’ve been proactive with PGRs and will likely remain aggressive with them to help control vegetative growth. Crops respond better to rainfall than any nitrogen or other fertilizer you can apply, so we have to stay on top of them.
“Of course, there was other excitement around here this week. Monday, I drove by the site of yesterday’s (July 20) big space launch outside of Van Horn, Texas. I was on my way to look at chili peppers — it was plenty hot there with all of the news coverage.”
John Thobe, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension IPM Agent, Bailey, Parmer & Castro Counties:
“We’re far behind on heat units. Growers hope for more this week with warmer temperatures in the forecast. Cotton is just starting to candle (July 19), but there aren’t many blooms so far.
“Insect pressure is light, but we’re still checking for fleahoppers and lygus. Both remain question marks. Weed control remains good. Many growers are applying herbicides when they apply PGRs to save a pass. It’s still difficult to obtain chemicals and some guys are writing their names on chemical totes as they go to a distributor. Diseases have not been a problem, other than a little common rust.
“Sorghum planted late is just now at V2 and starting to boot. There are no sugarcane aphids just yet. Corn varies from silking to 90-day hybrids just planted last week. Spider mites are slowly coming in, but we know they can blow up if the water shuts off.”
David Kerns, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Professor & Statewide IPM Coordinator, College Station:
“We’re seeing a lot of brown stink bugs. They’re our main concern in cotton and growers are spraying for them. There are also problems with tarnished plant bugs that are above threshold. If guys spray for stink bugs they will clean them up as well. A few spider mites are also in cotton, but they’re not severe. Cool weather will keep them suppressed, but watch out if it turns off hot and dry. Fortunately, bollworms are light, and all Bt varieties are holding up thus far.
“Sugarcane aphids are starting to pop up in milo. Much of it is ready to cut and growers don’t want harvest issues caused by SCA.
“Fall armyworms are a major problem in pastures. There are large populations, and guys are complaining that pyrethroids are not holding up. Also, all of the rain we’ve had is washing off insecticides.”
Mike McHugh, Southwest Texas Ag Consultants, Uvalde, Texas:
“We’re spraying for a few stink bugs, both green and brown. They’re migrating out of milo that’s drying down. There are also scattered spider mite infestations. About 10% to15% of my cotton acres have needed spraying for mites. The crop has canopied, so weeds are no longer an issue.
“This summer remains cooler than normal. We’ve had one day of 100-degree weather; we’ve usually had a month of it by now. The cooler, wet weather has kept our cotton about two weeks behind. Fields are in full bloom and look good. But it will be early September before we get into defoliation, which usually starts in mid-August.
“Average to above-average yield potential is still there, even though the bottom fruit load is poor due to the cool, wet spring.”
Chuck Wilbur, Independent Crop Consultant, Wellington, Texas/Southeastern Panhandle/Southwestern Oklahoma:
“We’re still seeing nice little showers. We received 0.7 to 0.8 of an inch last night (July 18). You don’t see too many pivots running, which is highly unusual in mid-July.
“Cotton still seems late. But I looked at the date of the first bloom for the past few years and it’s July 12 to 15. Most of what I’m checking started blooming last week. That’s even with a lot of cloudy days and cooler temperatures. There’s not yet a big fruit load, so we haven’t lost much fruit to weather.
“We’ve turned the corner on fleahopper control in older cotton, but we’re still scouting all fields. Weed control remains a chore with wet fields. The cotton I watch is 80% to 90% Xtendflex, applied with Liberty and Roundup. That combination handles small weeds but can’t control weeds that reach 6 to 8 inches tall. There’s still a chemical shortage, but providers seem to have material available when needed. A lot of people have run sweeps and cultivated cotton and peanuts to help control weeds. One grower I know has even invested in a weed zapper. It sure toasts those large weeds.
“Peanuts look good and are into the second bloom with pegs and swells. I’m not seeing any disease but will watch closely for leaf spot in three to four weeks.”