Texas West Plains: Potential Pest Storms Brewing

    Aphids on cotton leaf.

    No RED ALERTS! Or anything like that at this moment. However, we do have some insect storms brewing which may have potential for crop damage and needing your attention. The top two would be sugarcane aphids (SCA) in grain sorghum, and the other is cotton aphids. I might go ahead and mention that larva pest is heating up as well for all crops.

    COTTON continues to be all over the board on maturity. Our range of physiological status goes from just starting to bloom with +5 nodes above white flower (NAWF), to well bolled up plants with only 2 NAWF.

    Ideally, your cotton crop would be in the 3 or fewer NAWF at this time. In fact, the past couple of days I have suggested some harsh treatment for some irrigated cotton which has been blooming for awhile (2-3 weeks) but still has +6 NAWF. My suggestion has been to shut the water off for at least a week, maybe longer with this current weather, and apply 16-24 ounces of mepiquat chloride.

    Hopefully, that will get the plants attention, and head it to physiological cut-out of 5 NAWF and less in the next week. Otherwise, it will end up with a bunch of immature, knotty bolls in the top half of the plant. If you want to discuss your cotton situation and get some ideas if your concerned about finishing this one out, give me a call.

    Ok, now the pests. Cotton aphids have continued to spread across most of the area. I am aware of some applications being made for their control. In the scouting program we have seen cotton aphids come and go in most every field. Beneficial insects such as lady bugs and green lacewing have cleaned up most all colonies over a period with few exceptions.

    The current weather pattern may be just what the aphids were waiting for to become much worse. So, scout, apply threshold of 40-70 aphids per leaf on average, and then treat accordingly. Products to consider for cotton aphids: Sivanto 7-10.5 oz, Carbine 1.4-2.8 oz, Intruder Max or Strafer Max 0.6-1.1 oz, Bidrin 4-8 oz, Transform 0.75-1 oz, or Sefina 3 oz.

    Cotton bollworm activity has also been noted in very limited spots. No damage has been detected yet. Again, weather may change this course, so be scouting carefully in non-Bt and B2 cottons.

    GRAIN SORGHUM is also all over the board in terms of maturity level. This gives pest a good selection to chose from. I’ll be honest, the late stuff is going to catch the brunt of the insect pressure. This is not to say the early stuff is home free, but most likely shorter-lived problems. Also, if it has genetics which make it tolerant of sugarcane aphids seems to be making a difference.

    AgFax Weed Solutions

    I highly suggest ALL grain sorghum be checked ASAP! Then scout again in 2-4 days. Particularly with this current weather. You may have noticed I have mentioned the influence of weather on aphids a few times. It is important. Also, here is the short list of suggested products for SCA control: Sivanto Prime 4 – 7 oz, Transform, 0.75 – 1.5 oz, or Sefina, 6 oz.

    Whorl feeding has been uniformly bad from mostly armyworm species and some corn earworm. Obviously, there is nothing one can do about this damage or does it translate into yield loss. These larva pests have cycled through and are in various stages of development for the next run as the sorghum headworm complex.

    If your grain field has headed, flowered, and/or is developing grain be sure to include checking for headworms. Use a beat bucket to shake heads into and dislodge the larva. Count worms on a set number of heads and get a good average. When you have 1 or more per head, treat. An option many ask about is Prevathon. This product is no longer being manufactured. Its replacement is Vantacor from FMC.

    PEANUTS continue to make good progress in terms of pod development. Flowering has slowed if not halted in most fields. Hopefully, these last pegs will have time to form a mature pod. Very light worm feeding was noted this week.

    Weed control activities will continue but options are becoming limited. Mechanical cultivation would not be recommended. Continue to irrigate as needed to fill pods. Leaf spot was noted this week but was in a small area. Changes in weather may cause an increase in disease activity.

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