The Southeast is still fighting stink bugs and other pests as the end of September draws near.
While it seems Hurricane Ida caused minimal damage to cotton, growers are still in limbo with the weather as they prepare for defoliation.
Scott Graham, Extension Entomologist, Auburn University
“Well, I have to say we were pretty fortunate in Alabama with the hurricane. I talked to people across the state and pretty much everyone reported minimal damage. The fact the crop is late this year actually helped us because we didn’t have many bolls cracked when it came through. I just hope we don’t have another one coming in soon.
I don’t really have a whole lot to report this week — it has been quiet. The cotton is really starting to cut out. We do have some later planted fields to watched for stink bugs, but we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
With soybeans, we are seeing some defoliators, looper caterpillars and velvet bean caterpillars. The biggest concern is red banded stink bugs in the Black Belt in south Alabama. Fall armyworms have been quiet in pastures lately, but I think we’re just in between cycles and they will keep coming until the first frost.
Now, we just need some good weather for harvest. I’ve heard great things about our corn harvest, so I’m hoping we follow that trend.”
Sally Taylor, Virginia Tech Extension Entomologist, Tidewater REC
“We have had a big fall armyworm outbreak, but it seems to be limited to lawns, golf courses and forages. There are not many in field crops right now. We also have soybean loopers here. Growers need to pay attention to defoliation, especially where they sprayed pyrethroids recently. We have stink bugs in soybeans, too. The cotton is either old enough at this point we can let it go, or young enough it isn’t going to produce anyways.”
“In terms of our cotton, we’re just starting to defoliate some of it this week. We probably won’t really get going for another week to 10 days on some of our earliest planted cotton. What we really need is open weather and sunshine.
“In terms of insects, we have a late crop, as a whole, so we’re going to be managing insects in cotton throughout the rest of September. The main insects will be stink bugs. Something important with managing stink bugs is to know when a boll is relatively safe from insect attack.
Once it’s about 25 days old, it’s pretty safe from damage. But again, we do have a late crop, so maintaining that yield potential is really important.”