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Owen Taylor, Editor
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Here is this week's issue of AgFax Southeast Cotton.
This season's reports are exclusively sponsored by SePRO, manufacturer of Brake® Herbicide.
Defoliation is starting on a wider scale this week, mainly in early-planted and/or drought-stressed fields.
Hurricane Hermine roughed up cotton in places and dumped plenty of rain in parts of our coverage area.
Stink bugs linger in later cotton, but they’re about the only pest that still might require attention.
Disease pressure varies, but target spot has gained the most attention in the lower Southeast. Bacterial blight and a range of other diseases are factors, as well.
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Chad Savery, Anchor Ag Solutions/Agromax, Fairhope, Alabama: “Although we’re still making cotton, we are getting closer to the end. We’re about to the point that we can’t expect to make a boll from any new white blooms. We still have some cotton in about the fifth week of bloom, but a lot of this crop is in the eighth to tenth week. Our first defoliation will maybe start in 2 weeks.
“We can find stink bugs here and there, with some leaffooted bugs in the mix. Mainly, these are brown stink bugs. Leaffooted bugs are a bit lighter than we’d normally expect. A few spider mites are popping up in scattered locations. I actually saw aphids last week, although I don’t know if we’ll spray specifically for them. We may make one more stink bug spray from here out. Unless something unexpected happens, 30% to 40% of our cotton is past the point that we would make further insect treatments.
“Target spot is pretty bad. Some guys will apply a fungicide in the second week of bloom, regardless of conditions, while others watch it and treat if they feel like there’s a need. We sprayed very few fields last year. However, this year we sprayed just about everything. If we can get a treatment out there sometime between the second and fourth week of bloom, that seems to pretty much carry us.
“Once you get behind with target spot, you’ll never catch up. If you’re past the fifth to sixth week of bloom, it can move fast. The leaves will be there one week but be gone the next. So far this season I haven’t called for a second fungicide application, but one grower decided he will treat again. Before next season starts I’m hoping to convince all my clients to include a single fungicide shot in their budgets, with timing in that period between the second and fourth weeks of bloom.”
Jeremy Greene, Clemson University Cotton Entomologist, Blackville, South Carolina: “A lot of cotton laid over as the storm (Hermine) came through, and some of it had a pretty good boll load. Winds were clocked at 30-plus mph on Friday (9/2), plus we had about 7 inches of rain here and varying amounts elsewhere. You can see more cotton opening on the bottom. The threat of the storm may have held people back on early defoliation. If someone planted an early maturing variety in mid-April, then some of it might have been defoliated or should be about ready.
“Stink bugs are concentrating on the tops, and we still may have a need to protect some susceptible bolls there. But our date for making the last boll from a white bloom is right around Labor Day. So any treatments now would be strictly a judgment call based on pressure and whether you still have time to carry any of those last bolls to harvest.”
Ron Smith, Alabama Extension Entomologist: "We may have to worry about stink bugs for a few more days in some very young cotton in southwest Alabama, but that’s about it. Fields seemed to green up with recent rains, but in a lot of those fields 60% to 80% of the bolls are open, with just sparse numbers of small bolls in the top. I suspect that defoliation has started in places, based on comments by consultants.”
Michael Mulvaney, Cropping Systems Specialist, University of Florida, Western Panhandle: “The hurricane (Hermine) just missed us last week. We did get 2 inches of rain in the last 3 days (from 9/5), and we are looking at disease starting in the cotton. I’m more concerned about hard lock in bolls at this point. I’m seeing bacterial blight. No single disease is giving us a problem, but a kind of consortium of diseases are in the system.
“Target spot is out there, although it’s too late to do anything about it. I’m at least hoping that cotton prices remain high enough that growers will include a fungicide program in their 2017 budgets. In particular, target spot becomes an issue in high-yielding environments, given the right conditions.
“With all the rain, we’re finding more white mold in peanuts. We certainly encouraged growers to apply a white mold material ahead of the storm. In my plots, the earliest peanuts are ready to come out. With all the hotter weather, the growing degree-days (GDD) accumulated quickly. I would look closely at the GDD numbers when deciding when to start profiling fields. Based on GDDs I’m tracking, we’ll probably have some fields ready ahead of the typical 140-day schedule.”
Dominic Reisig, NCSU Extension Specialist, Entomology, Plymouth, North Carolina: “A lot of folks are letting cotton go, and after the storm (Hermine) it’s so wet that not many people are looking in cotton, anyway. I’ve heard that as much as 8 inches fell in places. At my home in Washington we got a nice rain before the storm, then another 4 to 5 inches fell, and that’s kept things really wet. To the west, the totals lessen, and it didn’t seem to rain at all in the Piedmont.”
Eddie McGriff, Regional Extension Agronomist, Centre, Alabama: “A lot of dryland cotton is beginning to open, and we’re moving toward defoliation. One grower already has asked for recommendations. So, we’re just before starting in some dryland fields that cut out early. In some of the later cotton we still have concerns about stink bugs, but those are declining a little every day. If anything else requires attention, it would be late-planted cotton adjacent to a corn field.”
Wes Briggs, Briggs Crop Services, Inc., Bainbridge, Georgia: "We started defoliating a very limited amount of cotton this week. Our youngest is still in the third week of bloom. Not much is going on otherwise. We’re just watering where needed. That hurricane last week (Hermine) was the best I’ve ever seen. Very little rain fell in our area, maybe a couple of tenths to 1.5 inches in spots.
“Target spot is in every acre of every field of cotton I’ve got. The big spots down in the cotton are obviously target spot, but we have spots on all parts of the plant, although not necessarily target spot. We suspect that some spotting in the top is cercospora or stemphylium.
“Target spot down in the canopy is definitely a concern, but most of those lower bolls have been made by now. We’ve been finding those various spots in the top of cotton since 2008 – a season when we had 5 tropical storms. They’re not normal to cotton, and everybody has his own theory about what they might be.
“I find that target spot really impacts yields when any added stress develops. It can be either too dry or too wet. That’s when excessive fruit shed occurs. Those spots in the top can impact fruit, both in terms of retention and size. When cotton starts blooming, the spots become apparent, and they can deform blooms.
“Bacterial blight is bad in fields where it’s present. Out of all my fields, it’s a small problem. But for the growers who have it, bacterial blight will definitely hurt yields. We’re only seeing it in certain varieties. I pulled up a plant and counted 27 bolls. Of those, 15 had bacterial blight and bolls had locked, rotted or otherwise been damaged. Again, we’re not dealing with it everywhere. But certain fields and certain growers are taking a hit.
“We’ve started digging peanuts. The 06Gs are coming off at about a normal time – 140 to 145 days. We’re putting on a little water as needed. Leaf spot has increased in some peanuts, especially where we planted 13M, which is susceptible to leaf spot. I wouldn’t say that leaf spot has doubled in those fields in the last 7 to 10 days, but it’s come close to that. White mold fell off this week as temperatures and humidity declined.”
Chad Harrell, Harrell Agronomic Services, Inc., Ahoskie, North Carolina: “We got 4 to 6 inches of rain from the storm (Hermine) in areas closer to the coast. As you moved west, the totals tapered off. At Rocky Mount I’m told it rained 3 inches in places.
“I saw a very minor amount of hard lock today (9/6) but the sun did come out. I think we’ll be defoliating some cotton in a week. It’s been so dry in places that a lot of fields are finishing early. More defoliation should start in 2 weeks and then some more will get underway a while after that.
“We treated some cotton last week, and I believe that will be it. Worm pressure has gone down considerably this week. Plant bugs and stink bugs are out there, but most of our cotton is cutting out, so it’s no longer susceptible.
“Bollworms were a big issue a couple of weeks ago, and we sprayed at least 75% of our acreage for them. A good half of that was Bollgard 2 cotton. Normally, we spray 5% to 15% of our cotton for worms, depending on the season, so it definitely was bad this year. Dealers in the area ran out of Besiege at one point. But the worms started disappearing last week and into this week. We did find a lot of moth activity in soybeans and peanuts last week and the week before, but most eggs didn’t survive, and I think we’re about finished with bollworms.
“In some areas this year we had to spray 5 or 6 times for plant bugs, which may have set us up for worms. Resistance seems to get a little worse every year, too. When you combine that with the timing and size of the bollworm moth flight, it was the perfect storm.
“I pod-blasted some peanuts this week. A lot of them appear to be 2 weeks off from digging. We’re not treating anything in peanuts at the moment, but I’m keeping an eye on loopers and may have to respray some of those.”
Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist, Tifton, Georgia: "Quite a bit of rain was scattered around with the hurricane (Hermine), plus we had some wind. The rain should give us temporary relief in places that have had high numbers of whitefly. The key word there is ‘temporary’ – I think we’ll have to keep checking some of this cotton into late September. As far as other insects go, more and more cotton is safe now. On the whole, this is turning into a quick crop.”
Cotton: American Pima Export Sales Up 321.3% Over Same Time Last Year 9-7
Georgia: Pest Manager Training, Cumming, Sept. 27 9-7
Cotton Market Teleconference, Sept. 13 9-7
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Bayer Increases Monsanto Share Offer to $127.50 – DTN 9-6
Florida Cotton, Peanuts: Post-Harvest Tips for Palmer Pigweed Control 9-6
Tennessee Cotton: Target Spot and Boll Drop – The Knowns and Unknowns 9-5
Georgia Cotton: Defoliation Tips, Hints And Specs 9-7
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