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Owen Taylor, Editor




Planting has wrapped up on a wider basis. Some areas do still have fields left to finish and replanting also continues in parts of our coverage area.


Portions of the region received rains late last week and into the weekend. Enough fell in places to keep growers out of the field. In contrast, areas in Georgia could do with a good rain this week.


Insect issues are mostly minor or very localized. A few odd things are turning up. Thrips would seem to be out of the picture, although sprays are going out in some fields. Plenty of cotton was planted late and has yet to gain any size. But the expectation is that young plants will grow fast and seed treatments will hold out long enough that spraying won’t be necessary.


The redbanded stink bug – a scourge of soybeans in the lower Midsouth – apparently had an easy winter in parts of south Alabama. See comments by Ron Smith.


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John Burleson, Consultant, Swan Quarter, North Carolina

“Our cotton ranges from cotyledon to the 2-leaf stage. Everybody is in the middle of the first postemerge herbicide spray and acephate has been going out for thrips.


“Thrips seem to be a little heavier in spots. I’ve heard about cases where growers used an in-furrow material and did a foliar spray but were still seeing some heavy pressure. Wheat harvest should start this week, which usually marks the peak for thrips.”


Jack Royal, Royal’s Agricultural Consulting Co., Inc., Leary, Georgia

“We’re mostly finished with cotton planting. We’ve been spraying our oldest cotton with Roundup and Staple, but the last couple of days (from 5/29) have been pretty windy, so everyone has been trying to spray when possible.


“Our cotton looks good. A soil insecticide went under most of it and thrips haven’t been bad. We had good rainfall last week. Depending on the location, my territory received 1.2 to 4 inches, and the soil soaked it up pretty well. While that helped fill the soil profile, we’re already back to irrigating corn.


“We made a stink bug spray on most of our corn and included a fungicide when we went through. No southern rust has turned up. From 80% to 90% of our peanuts have been planted.”


Trey Bullock, Bullock's Ag Consulting, Hattiesburg, Mississippi

“I have growers with 700 to 800 acres of cotton left to plant (as of 5/29). That doesn’t count where replanting is necessary. Overall, we’re still in pretty good shape but have a long way to go and it’s almost June. It’s just been one of those years.


“We started planting cotton on April 15, even though we usually don’t begin that early in the Hattiesburg area. After that, it started raining, and it seems like 3 inches have fallen every 5 days since then. With that kind of consistent weather pattern, it may only take 0.3 of an inch to saturate soils again. It’s been a struggle.


“Where we have stands, they tend to be good, but we really didn’t start planting in the Hattiesburg area again until around May 1. Growers were able to make another push last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before the next rains. Cotton planted on Wednesday and Thursday looks pretty good, but I’m not sure what we can expect from cotton planted on Friday. 


“My growers on the Mississippi River started on April 13, and last week was the first time that it looked like a cotton crop. Honestly, I thought for 3 or 4 weeks it was going to die. It went through sand blasting, seedling disease and some nighttime lows down to 43.


“We’ve had issues with granulate cutworms in cotton. They were in cotton that was strip-tilled into ryegrass that had been used for winter grazing for calves. The grass wasn’t cleaned up ahead of planting. The worms were horrible, and we had to spray 400 to 500 acres like that. On the other hand, we’ve only had to treat 200 to 300 acres for thrips.”


Guy Collins, Extension Cotton Specialist, North Carolina State University

“A good bit of rain fell late last week, plus hail came down in a small area in our northeastern counties. All that put things on hold again. Today (5/30) or tomorrow some growers will try to finish those lingering acres before June 1, which is the deadline for full coverage with crop insurance.



“Most people, though, are finished. It will be tougher to finish up right away in our Blacklands where fields tend to have very high water tables and don’t drain well. Overall, though, we’re in pretty good shape. Those heavy rains and that isolated hail will trigger replanting in places.”


Justin Ballew, Agronomy Agent, Dillon County, Clemson University, South Carolina

“A few folks are still planting. A lot of cotton is at the 2- to 3-leaf stage and some of the oldest is probably at the fourth leaf. Thrips caused a fair amount of damage this year, although I’m not quite sure why. Maybe the warm winter allowed them to build. If a grower hasn’t sprayed cotton for thrips, he probably needed to treat.


“It’s been kind of dry, although we’re getting a few rains here and there, so we expect cotton to grow past the fourth leaf pretty soon and past the point that thrips matter. The sooner we get beyond the fourth leaf, the better.


“I saw the first tassel in corn today (5/30), but we have a wide range of ages coming after that. The smallest corn I’ve seen lately isn’t quite knee high. Growers are mostly close to being done with peanut planting if they haven’t already finished.”


Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist, Tifton, Georgia

“As far as insects go, we’re just seeing isolated, oddball things. Grasshoppers, false chinch bugs and white margined burrower bugs are still around. We’re not finding a lot of damage from grasshoppers, but plenty of them are out there. You need to be walking fields and checking for them and making valid decisions based on scouting. If they’re not doing anything, don’t worry about them, but keep checking.


“I’ve actually had one report of lesser corn stalk borers (LCSB) in cotton. That’s a really odd deal. I’ve only seen this twice in my career. Finding LCSB in cotton does indicate that we need more rain. We certainly could use rain now to finish planting and get the later cotton up to a stand.”


Dominic Reisig, NCSU Extension Specialist, Entomology, Plymouth, North Carolina

“I’ve probably received a half-dozen calls today (5/30) about thrips after a period when hardly anyone asked about them. I don’t think that thrips are suddenly turning into a massive problem. Part of this may be that Tuesday was the first day after a 3-day weekend and people have been catching up on scouting and suddenly became more aware of thrips. We’ll see.”


Mark Freeman, Extension Area Agronomist, East Georgia:, Statesboro

“It rained a little yesterday (5/29), but it was spotty where it fell. At this point, 55% to 65% of the cotton has been planted in this part of the state. People will be pushing this week where they can since June 1 is the deadline for full crop insurance coverage. Thrips have been extremely low in our area. Peanut planting is probably 90% finished.”


Ron Smith, Alabama Extension Entomologist

“A severe outbreak of cutworms developed on a farm in Covington County, and that’s the only call I’ve gotten recently about any problems. In that case, cotton was planted in a thick winter cover, so the field contained plenty of residue, which evidently had high cutworm pressure.


“A pyrethroid did not give particularly good control. I’m thinking that pyrethroids wouldn’t be the product of choice with heavy residue. A lot of our cutworm sprays every year are preventives, and we might think we’re controlling the worms when, in fact, they’re not really there anyway.


“In places, I’m still finding crinkled leaves on late-planted cotton that had seed treatments, but that’s not consistent. I can go to another farm and find that seed treatments are giving perfect thrips control. Overall, we’re pretty much past thrips susceptibility.


“The oldest cotton in central Alabama is at 8 true leaves with a pinhead square, so it’s time to start thinking about plant bugs. I’ve just been at the Wiregrass REC at Headland (5/31) in southeast Alabama and swept daisy fleabane to get an idea about the age of any plant bugs that were using it as a host. Surprisingly, the numbers were quite high and the population is very young.


“They’re all early to mid-stage immatures. So, we have a reservoir of plant bugs that probably won’t move for another 2 weeks. In southeast Alabama that means they could migrate into cotton in mid-June. Whether cotton is fruiting at that point depends on planting dates. Some of the later fields may not have much fruit by then, but earlier planted cotton could be more attractive.


“Regarding soybeans, I found a good number of redbanded stink bugs that overwintered in alfalfa at Headland. That means we might expect problems later in the season in soybeans in both south Alabama and in the Florida panhandle. The redbanded stink bug can be a devastating pest in soybeans, which folks in Louisiana will confirm. We sure need to be aware that it’s already in a wider area in Alabama this year.



“I detected it several years ago at the Gulf Coast REC at Fairhope on the other side of the state, but several hard winters limited its range. This year’s winter was warmer and now the redbanded is on the far eastern side of the Alabama.”


Jeremy Greene, Clemson University Cotton Entomologist, Blackville, South Carolina

“Not much is going on in terms of insects in cotton or soybeans. I did receive a close up photo of Japanese beetles eating on some leaves. Whether that’s a concern depends on how extensive those populations are and how big the cotton is. The field was in Marion County in the upper part of the state, so that cotton couldn’t be very big.


“Grasshoppers and thrips are winding down, with maybe scattered, lingering problems from the mid coastal plain to the North Carolina line. Otherwise thrips are pretty much behind us now.”


Michael Mulvaney, Cropping Systems Specialist, University of Florida, Western Panhandle

“Cotton is up, and we’re about 90% finished with planting. Things were wet but then we moved into a week of dry conditions and suddenly it was ‘all hands on deck’ for planting.


“More rain followed and soils crusted over, so some replanting has been necessary. It’s dry today (5/30) but rain is in the forecast for the rest of the week. Most of the crop right now is between cotyledon and 2 true leaves. Where farmers went a little earlier, cold weather developed and we ended up with some skippy stands.”



Shurley on Cotton: At What Price Should You Reduce Your Risk?   5-31


Alabama Weeds: Rain Prevented Planting After Burndown. What Now? 5-26


Alabama Cotton: POST Options for Resistant Weeds 5-26


Tennessee: Why Gramoxone Isn’t Controlling Palmer Amaranth 5-31


Tennessee Cotton: Time to Scout for Palmer Amaranth Jailbreaks 5-31


Tennessee: Will Pigweed Die after an Engenia or Xtendimax Application??? 5-31


Virginia Cotton: Still Planting? Pick Early Maturing, Fast Fruiting Variety. 5-30


Virginia Cotton: Spray for Thrips at First True Leaf 5-26


Florida: Perennial Peanut Field Day, Quincy, June 2


Alabama: Crop Scouting School, Autaugaville, June 6


Florida: Tri-State Agronomic Scout School, Marianna, June 8


Georgia: 2 Cotton, Peanut, and Soybean Scout Schools, June 12, 20 


More Cotton News | More Peanut News



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