Texas LRGV Cotton: Keep an Eye Out for Plant Bugs

    General Situation

    Same weather this week, very hot and dry. This week temperatures were in high 90s again with heat index making temps feel above 100oF. Lots of growers were irrigating their cotton this week as many plants were looking very stressed last week. Overall crops are looking pretty good and starting to mature fast with daily heat units increasing fast.


    This week while scouting we noticed many cotton plants were shedding unwanted squares they will not be carrying to harvest. Looking at the cotton in all counties I’m impressed with the boll load in both dryland and irrigated cotton this year. The first open boll cotton was seen this week too!

    This week we were picking up on a few more Verde plantbugs and tarnished plantbugs in cotton, nothing at threshold except in couple of fields right next to sorghum being harvested. The later part of next week we will be scouting cotton diligently for Verde bug and tarnished plantbug pressure because we were picking up on plenty of plantbugs hanging out in the mature sorghum drying up around the Monte Alto, Lyford, Raymondville, Willimar, Sebastian, Combs, Rio hondo, and Los fresnos areas.

    I’m predicting once harvest for sorghum really takes off next week, we might have lots of plantbugs migrating over to nearby cotton fields so we will need to inspect fields and re-evaluate pest pressure in cotton next week to see if spray treatment is warranted. It will be important to check cotton with dime size bolls since they are easier for both Verde plantbugs and tarnished plantbugs to penetrate and suck juices hence ruining fiber quality.

    Saw some moderate whitefly pressure in recently irrigated cotton around the Edinburg/Elsa areas and along the river noticing couple of whiteflies but still very clean and free of pest pressure for now along river. Picked up on a few chilli thrips in cotton along the river but very light populations.

    Saw a few more bollworm eggs this week in some cotton and noticed a lot of moth flight activity in conventional cotton as well. Overall though cotton was looking very clean across Valley.


    Its harvest time or just about for most of our grain sorghum crop in the LRGV and this week we saw some of the first fields being harvested in Cameron and Willacy counties and already hearing some impressive dryland yields. In my mature sorghum variety trial, we started to pick up on a couple of SCA on the underside of the leaves.

    More on Cotton

    We will want to just be mindful that SCA populations can rebuild and the sooner you can get your sorghum harvested and out of the fields the better to avoid possible reinfestation. We checked behind some soft sorghum that was sprayed for headworms and were seeing good control.

    We have some seedling sorghum up around the Valley and are seeing some heavy fall armyworm pressure in some of these fields and encourage growers to go out and inspect to see if spray treatment is necessary.


    Noticed a little bit of corn earworm damage in a few sesame pods along the river. Corn earworms are usually not a problem in sesame but sometimes we can come across a few pods that have the “shotgun hole” damage which is typical of the corn earworm, however usually we do not see heavy populations to warrant spray treatment and usually once you see the damage they are long gone.

    Also, along the river and in the Hargil area in vegetative and blooming sesame I am picking up on a few mirid plantbugs present in low populations. In the Hargil area I did pick up on a couple of sesame leafroller feeding on couple of blooms; so, it seems they are starting to find their way off nearby pigweed and into sesame, we will continue to monitor populations in weeks to come for their presence in early vegetative and blooming stages of sesame.

    Other than that, we have some really mature sesame drying up in Willacy and Cameron counties with lots pods starting to senesce getting ready for harvest time come next month.

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