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Owen Taylor, Editor




Hot, dry conditions are taking a toll in places on cotton plants that failed to develop adequate root systems during weeks of wet weather. Plants are drooping and in some cases the roots cannot reach fertilizer.


Plant bug treatments continue in parts of the region. In places, counts are at or near threshold. Other applications are likely cases where plant bugs or other insects are being seen, so an insecticide went in the tank when herbicides or Pix were being applied.


Aphid applications have still been necessary, mainly in localized situations and/or in smaller cotton.


Whitefly are more widespread in Georgia than usual. In most years the insect occurs in cotton that’s near vegetable crops. But this summer it has developed noticeable populations in other areas where produce farming isn’t a factor. In our Links section connect to an advisory issued by Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist. It covers scouting methods and treatment options.


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Brandon Dillard, Regional Agronomist, Geneva, Alabama

“Cotton is starting into bloom pretty well. Some Pix is going out or Pix is being included with other sprays. Foliar fertilizers are being applied, too. Most of my area has been very fortunate. We received good rains early and on a fairly wide basis and are now getting popup showers.


“We’ve been finding treatment levels of plant bugs in places and also stink bugs, so some applications were certainly needed. Most of the stink bugs I’ve found have been green, which are easier to control. So far, I haven’t found any browns.


“Some redbanded stink bugs – which are new in our area – are turning up in soybeans, and a pile of them are in alfalfa at the Headland station. That really caught everyone’s attention and I’ve since found them in podding soybeans.


“We have prospects for a really good dryland corn, and some harvest will probably start in a couple of weeks (from 7/10) at 20% moisture. I’d bet that we’ll see fields with 150 to 200 bu/acre dryland corn averages.”


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

“Cotton has been pretty quiet. Plant bugs have been around in places and are being sprayed, but it’s nothing extreme.


“I’ve heard a couple of more reports about bollworms turning up on prebloom cotton. This is the first year that has been reported to me. I don’t know if more moths are in the landscape or growers are simply getting jumpy. Or, maybe they know I’ve been interested in bollworms lately from an Extension and research standpoint, so people are simply letting me know that they’re finding them. No bollworms have been sprayed yet.


“I’m receiving plenty of questions about plant bugs, too, and it’s encouraging that people are checking for them and trying to expand their knowledge about the pest. We’ve had areas where plant bugs turn up every year, but those areas continue expanding. Some of these calls, I think, are coming from people in the fringe areas where plant bugs might turn up this year.


“A trickle of aphid treatments have been going out every week lately. People are still reporting spotty results with neonic materials, mostly in parts of the state where we’ve had issues in the past with that chemistry and aphid control.”


Brad Smith, Crop Production Services, Selma, Alabama

“We’ve had a few days of sunshine, and cotton looks better. It’s hard to imagine how much it’s already rained this year. I was visiting a grower this morning (7/10) who measured 10 inches of rain in June, but that’s probably on the low end. Earlier last week a farmer said that his neighbor had collected 23 inches in June.



“We’ve had several rains since then but nothing like the totals in June. I talked with a counterpart in Monroe County who said that it rained there 25 of the 30 days in June.


“Cotton is a mixed bag. Some was quite resilient and looks good. It’s blooming and already has had one Pix application and probably could use a second one right away.


“In places, cotton has been hurt by a combination of reniform nematode damage and excessive rain, and that part of the crop looks lousy. It’s 10 to 12 nodes high, has short internodes and hardly has a square on it. The fertility is there, and we can’t find any compaction issues or seedling disease. This is in areas with a history of reniform pressure, which was simply compounded by excessive rain and saturated soils.


“Plant bugs aren’t widespread and aphids have been very spotty. One grower applied something for aphids on maybe 200 acres. Other people are finding scattered aphids but are hoping the aphid fungus develops so they don’t have to spray.


“Corn looks fantastic and we possibly could make the largest dryland corn crop that has ever been seen in central Alabama. Irrigated corn should do well, too, although much of it has not been irrigated more than once, if at all. Fungicides went out on corn on a wider amount of acres due to the rain, humidity and heat. We’ve found southern corn rust in the area and some corn is still young enough that it could be affected.


“Last week some of the first silage corn was chopped and it averaged 17 to 18 tons an acre. For us, that’s a good yield for chopped dryland corn. Some soybeans on well drained land look absolutely beautiful. On heavier ground with poorer drainage and ponding, beans don’t look horrible but they’re certainly not what you expect them to be.


“Of all our crops, though, cotton seems to have been affected by the rain more than the rest. We haven’t lost much to standing water and saturated soils, but stunting is obvious in a lot of places.”


Steve Bullard, CCA, BCT Gin Co., Quitman, Georgia

“Our cotton is in a lot of different stages – from just receiving its first over-the-top application to some today (7/11) that’s in the third week of bloom and is almost chest high.


“Some fields got a little wet on us and we’re having trouble sidedressing, plus we’re trying to catch up with herbicide treatments, although most people aren’t too far behind with that.


“Through the week of the Fourth of July we didn’t get rain. It was around 95 for highs, and you could begin to tell where root development was less than average due to all the wet conditions earlier. We’re still seeing that. Cotton looks good in the morning, then starts drooping during the day and finally looks okay in the evening. After sidedress goes out, we’re not seeing that visible reaction you expect, which probably means the roots can’t get to it.


“We received scattered showers yesterday and some today, which will help. But with the root system this crop has, we’ll need rain every week.


“Whiteflies are showing up and I found a few stink bugs this morning, although neither are alarming right now. But produce farmers in the area have had a problem with whitefly. Some aphid issues developed just before the Fourth, but rains and the fungus came in, so aphids dissipated about as quickly as they developed.


“Peanuts look pretty good. As with the cotton, we’ve had plenty of rains, so herbicides were well activated. Peanuts are just starting to lap enough that you can’t see the ground.”


Ron Smith, Alabama Extension Entomologist

“I’ve checked for plant bugs in several areas this week in central Alabama and it doesn’t seem that the numbers have gone up since last week. In fact, adult counts dropped off some. The number of small immatures has increased, although the counts are still below threshold.


“So I don’t see anything in this part of the state that would cause immediate concerns as far as plant bugs go. I’ve heard similar reports from Monroe and Baldwin Counties. Maybe this will be a light year for plant bugs in our central and southern counties.


“I can still find some plant bugs on field borders in other hosts. The primary pre-cotton host – daisy fleabane – has just about played out, but plant bugs are present on pigweed and verbena. I don’t think those hosts will raise the big populations we would expect from fleabane. We might detect a dribbling effect from these other hosts through the summer, although nothing heavy or dramatic.


“In my sweeping early this week I did pick up a few brown stink bugs. At Prattville we also saw a few brown marmorated stink bugs in cotton. Stink bugs were present in some of the oldest cotton that’s now in the third week of bloom, which has thumb-size bolls. These stink bugs will not go hungry, and they will attack bolls smaller than that, so scout closely for stink bugs.



“This older cotton has really responded well to a few days of sunshine and warmer weather. On the other hand, some of the younger cotton really looks bad, but with sunshine and sidedressing, it should change fast.”


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

“We’re rapidly moving into the bollworm-stink bug time of the season. Our bollworm pheromone moth captures are going up, and over the next several weeks we expect those numbers to continue climbing.


“The Bt technology will take care of most of those worms, but we need to check for escapes, nonetheless. Stink bugs become a potential issue as you move into the second to fourth weeks of bloom. We’re into that window now or will be soon on most acres. Pyrethroids still provide control on bollworms here, so when they’re applied for stink bugs, you should pick up escaped bollworms, too.


“In a few spots we still find a good number of aphids, but we’re getting rain, which may help with them. Cotton looks healthy and we shouldn’t have to do anything for aphids on most acres. Spider mites are ever present. You need to scout to determine if they’re an issue.


“In soybeans, scout for kudzu bugs, which are back this year. Check for threecornered alfalfa hoppers (3CAH), as well. Last year we saw lodging and skippy stands where 3CAH caused damage. In particular, look for these 2 stem feeding insects before soybeans get into bloom.”


Kyle Skinner, Skinner Ag, Starkville, Mississippi

“Our cotton ranges from pinhead to about the third week of bloom – which indicates how spread out our planting dates were. We’re mainly applying Pix on most fields.


“A few June-planted fields had to be treated for aphids. We tried to wait for the fungus but hit a point that we needed to take the pressure off young plants. Today (7/10) is the first day I think that I’ve seen any aphid fungus. Plant bugs are here and there but, if anything, they seem to be easing up.


“By the end of this week we would like to have rain. We have started irrigating cotton in some fields that are blooming and have shallow root systems due to all the earlier rain and saturated soils. In those locations we’re just starting with a half-inch of water.


“We just began irrigating corn today. A couple of growers ran nitrogen through their pivots earlier, but today is the first time we’ve actually needed to water corn. All of our corn looks like it’s irrigated. I’m expecting plenty of our dryland fields to average 150-plus (bu/acre) and would bet we’ll see 200 to 250 dryland averages on better ground. On some of our less-than-perfect ground that cut 50 last year, we could hit 150 this year.”



Alabama Cotton: Options for Plant Bug Control 7-12


Virginia Cotton: Good Growth, Heavy Fruit Load; What to Do About Pix?   7-12


Tennessee Cotton: Plant Bugs on the Rise, 3 Management Considerations   7-12


North Carolina Cotton: Be Prepared to Spray Bt Fields for Bollworms   7-12


Cotton – Southwest – Hail, Tough Winds Giving Growers He** in Texas and New Mexico – DTN   7-12


Georgia Cotton Alert: Silverleaf Whitefly Are Early And Building   7-12


Alabama Cotton: Tarnished Plant Bugs – Identification, Management Options 7-7


South Carolina: Cotton Blooming in the Pee Dee 7-7


Georgia: Pest Manager Training, Savannah, July 21


Florida: Precision Ag Field Day, Columbia City, July 29


Virginia Ag Expo, Charles City, Aug. 3


More Cotton News | More Peanut News



Photo: ©Debra L. Ferguson

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