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Owen Taylor, Editor




Tropical Storm Cindy is pushing rain into a large portion of the Southeast, including areas that already were abundantly wet. Field work has stopped on a wide basis. Where farmers can still run, they are rushing to make applications ahead of the system, with heavy emphasis on applying herbicides.


Rainfall totals into double digits already have fallen in areas on or near the Gulf of Mexico. That will further delay the last of the cotton planting. While that part of the region can reasonably plant later, nobody wants to still be putting seed in the ground in July.


Insects are being treated on a scattered basis. That mostly includes plant bugs and aphids. No runaway situations have been reported. In our Links section connect to an article from Alabama's Ron Smith about how this current weather might affect plant bug populations.


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Zach Ingrum, Sanders, Inc., Athens, Alabama

“Everyone has been running hard ahead of this tropical system (Cindy). The last forecast (as of mid-day, 6/21) said we could get 2 to 4 inches of rain, so there’s been a rush to spray cotton and beans, finish wheat harvest and plant the last of the doublecrop beans.


“Generally, we’re already in good shape for moisture after rain on Monday, from a half-inch to 2 inches. Corn looks fantastic, so all this rain is coming at an ideal time.


“Our earliest cotton has been squaring for a couple of weeks. We’re finding plant bugs and people are making applications in places. The real focus right now is on pigweed. The ‘pre’ herbicides are going out and growers are spraying Liberty or Engenia. We’ve just started making R3 fungicide applications in soybeans and are piggybacking an insecticide to clean up varying mixes of insects. We’re finding alfalfa hoppers, kudzu bugs and stink bugs.”


Gary Swords, Swords Consulting, Arlington, Georgia

“We have plenty of moisture – maybe a little too much where it’s keeping us out of the field. We have just a little more cotton that we want to plant if we can ever catch a break in the weather.


“About 30 miles to our west it appeared that people were getting rain dumped on them yesterday (6/20). What we received here were sprinkles that mostly got things messy but didn’t amount to more than 0.4 of an inch. Before then, rain had already been falling all over of the place. This weather has held up herbicide applications in places.


“It looks like we’re right on the edge of that tropical system (Cindy) and we’ll probably receive another 0.4 to 0.5 of an inch today. Aphids are building, and we’ll start treating those as soon as we can get in the field. So far, I’m not finding them to any extent in the northern part of my territory, but they’ll probably be there next week. Retention is pretty good and plant bugs aren’t a problem.”


Richard Davis, Davis Ag Consulting, Montgomery, Alabama

“Parts of this area received a big amount of rain starting Saturday and into Sunday (6/17-18). One location at Prattville received about 8.5 inches. Amounts varied. In Montgomery it maybe rained 2 inches, while less than an inch probably fell at Eufaula. More rain is in the forecast with this tropical system (Cindy).



“Cotton looks better than I thought it would where some of the heaviest amounts fell. In low pockets plants will drown out but cotton will mostly be okay. We’re trying to clean up some weeds. We’ve been looking hard for plant bugs in older cotton but they don’t seem to have moved into the crop yet, at least not in my fields.


“With all the rain, the wild hosts are staying green longer, so they’re still holding plant bugs. During this period we usually get a little drought that dries down that vegetation, but that hasn’t happened yet.


“My crop is just beginning to square, with one or two squares on the earliest cotton. In general, cotton isn’t growing off like we usually expect. In some red fields the plants are just sitting there and that’s the case in some gray soils, too. Everyone’s cotton is like that. We had plenty of cloudy days, rain and cool spells, so this slower development isn’t necessarily surprising.”


John D. Beasley, South Georgia Crop Services, Inc., Screven, Georgia

“It’s kind of drizzling rain today (6/20), nothing significant, but in most places we could use a rain if this would actually turn into one. We’re waiting to see if it does start raining before turning on the pivots in more places. We started watering corn over the weekend and peanuts on Monday. No irrigation has started on cotton yet.


“It has rained in places and in my oldest cotton it was almost too wet to walk in on Monday. The worst thing we’re dealing with right now is that we seem about to kill cotton every time we spray it with a herbicide. Humidity has been high, and plants are taking a hit when we go out with materials like Dual, Warrant or Liberty.


“We do have squaring cotton. Plant bugs tend to be low here compared to, say, the Delta. But even by our standards the numbers are lower than usual. We’ve started sweeping and checking in a handful of fields. Aphids are starting to pick up a little in cotton. In peanuts, we’re finding a mix of worms. None of our peanuts have been treated yet, but we’ll probably spray a couple of fields next week for cutworms.”


Billy McLawhorn, McLawhorn Crop Services, Inc., Cove City, North Carolina:

"We were on the verge of getting a little dry but it’s been raining off and on for the last couple of days (from 6/20) and things are about to get messy. Cotton had a really difficult start and for 2 or 3 weeks farmers were getting a half-inch of rain every 3 or 4 days. But after tough conditions in April and May, the weather turned better in June and everyone was able to catch up on most things.


“Now, we’re supposed to slip into a couple of days of rain again. Fortunately, we did get that break and are in better shape.


“In cotton, we’re mainly dealing with weed control issues. Hardly any cotton was planted before mid-May, with just a small amount in early May. So far, square retention has been good in our oldest cotton. Some cotton planted in mid-May is starting to square now, too. I’m not seeing a lot of plant bugs.


“I’m finding stink bugs in other crops like tobacco and on the edges of corn fields. Other people are talking about how bad stink bugs are in their corn, but our numbers decline out in the field. Overall, our soybeans are 90-something-percent planted but we still have full-season acreage left to plant where it’s staying wet.”


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

“We’re getting some rain, which seems to be influenced by that tropical system (Cindy). We’ve needed it, too.


“A consultant called to say he was finding spider mites in cotton. Aphids are still developing in spots here and there. They’ve colonized and have stunted plants a little.


“A few scattered plant bug calls have filtered in. In the north part of the state last week plant bugs exceeded threshold in places, I was told, and they were going to spray. With aphids, 90% are at levels we could let go, and I haven’t heard of any field-wide situations where aphids jumped all over cotton.”


Trey Cutts, Cotton Specialist and Cropping Systems Agronomist, Auburn University

“Statewide, we’re about 98% finished with planting. Growers are still backed up on planting near the coast due to all the rain. In most of the state we’ve had fairly good stand establishment, but with persistent rain this spring and wet and cool conditions, we saw herbicide injury early on. In Cherokee County in north Alabama parts of fields are waterlogged and scattered areas are flooded out, so we’ll have a lot of skips. Overall, this crop is off to a slow start.”


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

“It’s pouring right now (late afternoon, 6/20) everywhere we grow cotton in North Carolina, and nobody is doing anything in the field.



“Some guys did start their first plant bug treatments in the northeastern part of the state last Friday. Those are places where we typically deal with plant bugs. Cotton just started squaring and plant bugs were already in it. In places, people were seeing black flags – where plant bugs hit the petiole of the main stem and cause vascular damage. That often happens on or near the terminal. The leaf or maybe even the terminal falls over and the leaf turns black, which accounts for the name.


“We saw similar black flagging a couple of years ago. It’s not widespread this year but is occurring in places.


“Another report of false chinch bugs has turned up. That’s unusual for us. Most of these reports have come from cotton areas in the Piedmont. In a couple of areas stink bugs are pretty heavy in corn. This is happening in the northeastern part of the state and in the central coastal plain, too.”


Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist, Tifton, Georgia:

"It’s been raining just about every day lately and now (6/20) we’re seeing the effects of a tropical system (Cindy).


“Aphids have developed in hot spots in cotton, just like we normally expect during this point in the season. Some fields are almost infested now. I did receive a preliminary report that the aphid fungus was present in a field. I doubt if we’re on the verge of a widespread crash, so keep scouting. But when you do find aphids, look for those gray, fuzzy aphid cadavers that would indicate the fungus is present.


“We also need to be checking for square retention and monitoring for plant bugs. It’s a pest we have to scout for and you can’t assume that it’s either there or not there. You have to check. To date, very little cotton has had any issues with plant bugs, but that can change.


“In soybeans, watch for kudzu bugs. We’ve gone several years with very few kudzu bugs, but numbers picked up lately in places. One consultant triggered some sprays last week based on scouting. Since last Friday I’ve seen more in soybeans than I’ve come across in some time.


“A fungus came in and seemed to significantly suppress them in recent years, so we’ve had a period when kudzu bugs were barely there. But they’re back to a degree now and this is a different situation in 2017. Whether or not they get established, who know? We do see from previous work that they tend to be more of an issue in earlier soybeans, so make sure you’re scouting those in particular.”



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Alabama Cotton: How Will the Weather Affect Plant Bugs? Be Scouting Your Fields 6-21


North Carolina Sweet Sorghum: Section 18 Crisis Exemption Approved for Sivanto Prime   6-21


Virginia Corn: Stink Bug Numbers Continue to Climb   6-20


Alabama Cotton, Peanuts: Excessive Rainfall May Cause Field Issues   6-20


How Not to Spray During an Inversion – Video   6-20


Tennessee Cotton: 3 Considerations for Nitrogen Management   6-20


Georgia Cotton: Irrigation Is Crucial At Squaring   6-20


Georgia Peanuts: Valor Damage – Point Of Concern? – Audio   6-19


Alabama: 17 Ag Estate Planning Workshops in June, July


Southwest Alabama Stored Grain Workshop, Atmore, July 18


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Photo: Justin Ballew, Agronomy Agent,

Dillon County, Clemson University,

South Carolina


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