Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist:
“Although we haven’t let any cotton go yet, we do have some at cutout and starting to flower out the top. That early planted cotton will be let go soon, but we still have a considerable amount of the crop that is just at NAWF 5 or almost there.
“In the past couple days, I’ve heard reports of pretty heavy egg lay. People are having to make management decisions on late season bollworm treatments on Bollgard II varieties. As of now, we are still riding the VIP cotton (WideStrike 3, Bollgard 3, Twinlink Plus). We are watching those varieties closely, but right now we are not recommending any kind of egg sprays on those. Those sprays are based on live larval counts or damage thresholds.
“Plant bugs are still in the area, but they are spotty. Some areas are pretty heavy though. In my experience, plant bugs are always hard to kill in August because they’ve been exposed to everything all season long. You would think they would be easy to kill right in the top of the plant, but we’ve always struggled with it.
“We are finishing up spider mite sprays on a good amount of cotton across the state. They are still lingering in some areas, so a few treatments are still going out. We’re really to the point of just hoping for a good fall to fill out the top third of the plant from this point forward.
“Soybeans are a mixed bag. We have had to spray for stink bugs no doubt, but until now, they have been fairly light. I think we will continue to deal with stink bugs in some late-planted and extremely late-planted beans.
“The biggest story in soybeans the past few weeks has been the excessive numbers of saltmarsh caterpillars across a really large geography. I’ve had more calls about saltmarsh caterpillars this year than I have in the past 10 years combined. In a lot of situations, we have had to treat specifically for saltmarsh caterpillars where they are running 25 to 50 per 25 sweeps. They have taken a lot of foliage in some places.
“Loopers have been here for a while, but they seem to be increasing in some spots. We are also seeing a second wave of bollworms come through the ultra-late soybeans. Growers are having to make tough management decisions because a lot of these beans are flood beans planted very late with only eight to 10 nodes. It’s a tricky decision, and we’ve been making field to field decisions based on yield potential.
“We’re still fighting fall armyworms. They aren’t as heavy in soybeans at this point, but they are absolutely still in pastures. We’re not seeing them in soybeans that were treated earlier in the year, but they are moving to field edges from grassy turnrows and such that people have had to clean up.”
Victor Roth, Roth Farm Service, Malden, Missouri:
“The cotton should be finishing up for the season in the next week (from Aug. 18), and we’re ready to see it. It’s nice to see a crop with good potential after the year it’s been, but I’d almost say this is the easy part. We can take care of irrigation and insects, but we have no control over the weather for the next two months to complete the crop and get it out of the field. We’ve faced challenges this year, but if you don’t have an optimistic eye, you might as well leave the seed in the barn.
“Although not every field has been sprayed every week, we have been spraying for plant bugs somewhere for the past five weeks. I think we’re finally at the end, but it hasn’t been easy. We’ve been intense to keep them at or below threshold. Most growers are making their last treatment for plant bugs this week, and a few more will finish up next week.
“A lot of my cotton is Bollgard 3, but worm pressure is still light in dual-gene cotton as well. We are watching the Bollgard II cotton for worms, but we’re only finding a few moths. Spider mites are behind us after battling them for a couple of weeks.”
Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist:
“Cotton is quickly coming up on the end of the season. A lot of fields are approaching NAWF 5 plus heat units, so we’re recommending terminating plant bug applications on fields that have reached NAWF 5 plus 250. A lot of cotton is cutting out right now. Everyone is happy to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“The bollworm flight was a little late this year, but it made up for that in intensity. A few bollworm treatments are still going out in the cotton.
“In rice, we recently got a Section 18 for Endigo use to control rice stink bugs (RSB). With the late rice crop this year, a high percentage of the crop still has a long way to go. At least 20% of our rice is just now heading or isn’t even to that point yet. Stink bugs haven’t been in extreme numbers until just recently, but they have been steady. RSB are moving out of rice fields that are cutting out and into green fields, so the numbers are really concentrated in green fields. We’re seeing 30 to 40 RSB per 10 sweeps in some areas.