Texas West Plains Cotton: Pests Quiet, Rebounding Drought Main Concern

    Cotton at 4 to 7 true leaves damaged by intense heat and wind. Photo: Kerry Siders, Texas AgriLife

    On the bright side, as a manager of pests (insects, weeds, and diseases) it is quiet out there. Ok, we are spraying weeds, albeit reluctantly with dry, hot, winds; and there are fields that have some seedling disease issues lingering. But the “elephant in the room” is this rebounding drought, the potential loss of many thousands of acres of both irrigated and dryland cotton, and the cost of doing business.

    I am not a pessimistic person, but I am a realistic person. I do believe we have to think long and hard about each action we take towards this crop. I know the conventional thinking is that any cotton we can produce this year could be valuable, possibly. However, it could be costly as well.

    Cotton ranges from dry seed in the ground to 9 true leaves with small squares present. The hot, dry wind has taken a toll on these young squares in some fields. Do not confuse this type of square loss with losses from fleahoppers or other plant bugs.

    We have mostly moved on from the concern for thrips. Thrips numbers are extremely low. I am seeing less than 1 thrips per +10 plants on cotton ranging from 1 true leaf to 5 true leaves. Be reminded that the threshold is one thrips per true leaf. Ex. 3 true leaves the threshold is 3 thrips per plant.




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