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Owen Taylor, Editor
Here is this week's issue of AgFax Southeast Cotton.
Our thanks to SePRO – maker of Brake herbicide – for once again sponsoring our coverage.
Bollworm pressure varies through the region but enough of the worms are present in specific areas to trigger treatments.
Plant bug applications are being made in places. Multiple sprays have been required in pockets where pressure built early. Stink bug applications are being made on a wider basis in parts of the Southeast.
Whitefly remain a point of focus in Georgia where the insect has spread well beyond its typical range. See comments by Phillip Roberts.
Spider mite populations have cranked up on a somewhat wider basis.
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John Burleson, Consultant, Swan Quarter, North Carolina
“We started flushing bollworm moths this morning (7/24), the first I’ve seen all year. They’re on the western side of the county, and a colleague west of there said that he’s finding them, too. Moth trap counts went up over the last week in several areas, so all this indicates we’re on the front end of a flight.
“Our cotton is in mid-bloom. We’re spraying some plant bugs, although they’re not overrunning us. In all, we’ve probably treated plant bugs in half the cotton I’m working. Last week they did seem a bit more prevalent. The crop looks good.
“In soybeans, I would expect to find bollworm activity in a couple of weeks, based on moth movement now. A large majority of our corn is in dent. Corn harvest will actually start next week where growers planted corn with maturity ranges from the upper 90s (days to maturity) to low 100s. Those growers will follow with a late crop of snap beans.”
Jack Royal, Royal’s Agricultural Consulting Co., Inc., Leary, Georgia
“The last rain was 7 or 8 days ago (from 7/24), and we’ve started watering the oldest cotton again. That part of the crop ranges from the first to fourth week of bloom, while cotton planted behind small grains is close to first bloom.
“We had to spray a few bollworms in Bollgard 2 cotton and also are having to take out brown stink bugs in places. Once the WideStrike went into bloom, the corn earworms built in it, so we sprayed. Let me emphasize that this is the regular WideStrike where we treated, not the WideStrike 3 fields.
“Besiege and Prevathon have been going out, and both have done an excellent job. We sprayed 10 days ago and are still getting residual control. Fruit retention is excellent and cotton is growing quite vigorously, even where we’ve loaded up plants with Pentia.
“In peanuts, we’ve been irrigating according to IrrigatorPro and spraying a fungicide every 12 to 14 days. Conditions have been very, very favorable for white mold. A couple of peanut fields required treatments for worms, mostly corn earworms, and numbers are creeping up a little this week in places.
“My growers are about to start shelling corn and a few, in fact, may have been running today.”
Dennis Reginelli, Area Extension Agent and Agronomist, East-Central Mississippi
“Our cotton ranges from late-planted and trying to square to older cotton that’s loading up with bolls. Some looks better from the road than it does in the field. Gaps in fruiting are apparent, and this seems to be with a particular variety. It was one of our highest yielders last year, so maybe it will catch up.
“One person who checks a lot of cotton also commented on this. We don’t think it’s weather related. Where I could make a comparison, the gaps weren’t showing up in adjoining cotton planted in another variety on the same day.
“In corn, one grower will probably start harvesting within a week (from 7/24) in an early-planted field, and he tends to harvest at a little higher moisture and then dries it down.”
Justin Ballew, Agronomy Agent, Dillon County, Clemson University, South Carolina
“A fair amount of cotton – most of it, I’d say – is blooming. We’re starting to look for stink bugs. We had aphid pressure but then the fungus took them out. No spider mites.
“After a little dry spell, rain has come back into the picture. We’ve received a fair amount, with some chance for afternoon showers every day this week.
“A fair amount of corn is starting to dry down. One farmer talked about running his combine yesterday (7/24), but it’s been so damp and humid that I would be surprised if he actually started. I think there’s a better chance to begin harvest today, and it won’t be long until plenty of corn is ready.
“We’ve seen disease creep into corn over the last couple of weeks. Physoderma brown spot, which is something new for us, has turned up. Northern corn leaf blight has been present, too. So far, we’re not dealing with rust.”
Ron Smith, Alabama Extension Entomologist
“Nothing insect-wise is totally out of control in Alabama. We’re not detecting the big issues that are maybe unfolding in other states.
“Plant bugs have varied. When they first moved into cotton, they primarily entered the old cotton. A lot of acres in the Tennessee Valley have been sprayed, but that’s varied, too. In places, multiple applications have been made. In other fields, plant bugs haven’t been treated at all.
“However, plant bugs have finally reached threshold in some of that older cotton, and it needs to be treated now. Spider mites also have been developing in portions of north Alabama, which is bringing on the need to spray both mites and plant bugs.
“In the rest of Alabama, stink bugs are still building, primarily browns.
“I’ve yet to hear of a single outbreak of bollworms in our technology cotton. I was in some early blooming cotton in the Wiregrass and found zero worms in conventional cotton, which should be like ice cream for a bollworm. I did find some square damage and worms in conventional cotton at our Prattville research farm.
“Moth captures in traps around the state at least show which species spiked in the last week and where the counts jumped. Generally, tobacco budworms went up in the southern counties, bollworm moths increased in central and northern counties and loopers hit bigger totals on the Gulf Coast and in central Alabama.
“But those are simply moth captures and hardly any of it has correlated with in-field pressure.”
Trey Bullock, Bullock's Ag Consulting, Hattiesburg, Mississippi
“We treated once for bollworms in pretty much all of our cotton from Hattiesburg to the Mississippi River. That was 2 weeks ago, and it was needed. We found 2- or 3-day-old worms and they were having their way with the cotton.
“We sprayed all of our technologies. I wouldn’t have been worried if this had been more normal behavior for worms – eating the first square and then easing down to another square before dying. But in plenty of fields this month the worms were going deep into the plant and I was finding their heads burrowed deeply into squares.
“I’m seeing too many worms coming through on a broad basis and I’m still flushing moths in places. On this later cotton, we’ll start treatments as we begin picking up some eggs. At this point, I don’t want to wait until we have 4- and 5-day-old worms that we can’t kill once they’re behind stuck bloom tags and feeding on bolls.
“I’ve seen these bollworm situations before but only in isolated fields. This year, it’s widespread.
“We can find plant bugs in a few fields and are treating in places. They’re not horrible, but they’re in some late-planted cotton and I’m not going to play around with them. Aphids are blowing up again in places. We dealt with them about 3 weeks ago south of U.S. 84 and did a good job of bringing them under control. Now they’re back, so we’ll give them another week and see what happens.
“It’s raining and more is expected. I’ve pretty much been in a hard rain all day (7/24). Plant growth regulators have been going out. Our cotton finally looks better but not entirely normal. About 2 weeks ago I pulled soil and tissue samples to get a handle on what was happening. We applied ammonium sulfate and cotton greened up but still doesn’t look quite right.
“In spots, tap roots have been growing laterally, to the point that they came out on the surface between rows and reached roots on the adjoining rows. I’m running out of patience with this.
“With all the rain, we haven’t turned on a pivot. On the other hand, we can’t put a sprayer in the field when necessary. Some 90-day-old peanuts have only been sprayed twice. It seems like it keeps raining in the same areas over and over again.
“We treated a few peanut fields for bollworms. Late leaf spot developed in certain locations with poor rotations and where we couldn’t spray. Some corn probably reached black layer last week. But with the way it’s been raining, who knows when we’ll harvest any?”
Jeremy Greene, Clemson University Cotton Entomologist, Blackville, South Carolina
“It’s hot and we continue receiving showers, so the weather is pushing the crop along.
“On the bollworm front, things seem to be a little quieter since last week. That’s kind of puzzling. We’re still catching moths in traps and I saw some last week in Bollgard 2 varieties. I thought some of my own plots would be half-eaten this week, but the worms aren’t there.
“With stink bugs, we’re still in what you might call a maintenance mode – checking for injury, identifying species and then spraying as needed.
“In soybeans, we have a smattering of pests but not a lot of any one thing. Several species of worms are in the beans but I haven’t heard of any real outbreaks. Folks are still checking for kudzu bugs. Hopefully, everyone will spray on our threshold for immatures, which should provide a one-shot program with about 90% control.”
Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist, Tifton, Georgia
“We have treated some fields for bollworms, although our problems don’t seem to be nearly as bad as what my Midsouth colleagues are reporting there. We are not getting a free pass with this, however, so scout all technologies, especially the regular WideStrike varieties. But, again, check everything. Consultants keep telling me that they’re finding bollworms in all of the technologies.
“So far, only a small percentage of our acres have required an application for bollworms, but that could change quickly. That’s why people get paid to scout crops.
“People continue flushing moths. Trap numbers at Tifton were very low up until the first of last week, then counts began going up. Captures up to that point had been so low that we couldn’t accumulate enough moths to run our vial tests to track pyrethroid susceptibility. If you do have to treat bollworms, be timely.
“Popup storms have helped suppress whitefly. Heavy rainfall does cause a lot of adult mortality, but that’s just a temporary reprieve. They don’t go away that easily. If you begin finding whitefly at sub-threshold levels, take that seriously. We can find them right now on several hundred thousand acres of cotton, so if you don’t have them yet, you still may not be in the clear.
“Don’t do anything to make them worse. Avoid automatic sprays that could flare whitefly unnecessarily. Also, avoid using organophosphate materials for stink bugs since they do tend to flare whitefly. When possible, use pyrethroids for stink bugs, which also will help with bollworms. Bidrin is great on stink bugs but has zero effect on bollworms, so if that’s your choice, tank mix it with a pyrethroid.
“Don’t get behind with whitefly and treat on reproducing populations to minimize population expansion in your cotton.
“Stink bugs are certainly out there, and a fair amount of acres need to be treated or already have been. While we are trying to conserve beneficials, you reach a point that you have to do something with stink bugs, and we’re at that point in places this week.
“Even with these popup showers, mites continue to ramp up in some locations. Hot, dry spells – even short ones – can give both mites and whitefly an opening to cause problems. No major mite issues have developed yet, but they need to be closely watched.
“We have a good boll set but do need those rains to keep it going for another month or so.
“Foliage feeders – mainly soybean loopers and velvetbean caterpillars – are turning up in some soybeans. Nobody is reporting threshold levels but we’ll probably have to deal with them at some point. Stink bugs are present, too, primarily in fields with larger pods. They’re tending to move in when beans hit R5, but most of our crop is in later maturing varieties and are barely blooming or haven’t started yet.”
Chad Savery, Agromax LLC, Fairhope, Alabama
“Our cotton ranges from 10 nodes to fields in the first or second week of bloom. The crop would look great if this was June 25 instead of July 25. We ended up with at least some cotton planted in July. Probably the latest was around July 8-10, but we also have plenty of cotton planted in mid to late June.
“Overall, we’re running about 5 weeks behind normal. Plant bugs came in kind of late, but they’re starting to show up now and we’re seeing some immatures in cotton. Typically, they’re not bad here anyway. If anything, they’re lighter than I expected them to be. We’re finding a few aphids and are coming across bollworms and eggs here and there. The same goes for stink bugs.”
Dominic Reisig, NCSU Extension Specialist, Entomology, Plymouth, North Carolina
“The main focus this week is on bollworms. It looks like a pretty heavy egg lay has taken shape in our northeastern counties. Treatments are going out, but it’s too soon to say anything about results.
“A lot of people decided to go with Besiege or Prevathon. Some farmers were hurt last year by bollworms and don’t want to go through that again this year.
“Last week we began picking up immature plant bugs in cotton. I started noticing the first instars last week and I’m now finding third instars, so we’re cranking out this year’s first in-field plant bug generation. Plant bug numbers don’t seem to be crazy. Some consultants said that plant bugs haven’t been overly abundant but are showing up in areas where they’ve never been found in the past.
“Stink bugs seem to be pretty heavy this year. They were in corn in some areas but have moved into cotton now. These are mostly browns, although more greens are around than usual.
“We have a low level of aphids around the state, which is a concern. I’m also a bit anxious about spider mites. One consultant on the far eastern side of the state said he was finding plenty of mites in corn, which is unusual.
“In soybeans, the bollworm flight varies through the state, although I expect we’ll have to treat them in places in another week.”
North Carolina Cotton: Manage Bollworm 1st, But Don’t Forget Stink, Plant Bugs 7-26
Georgia: Estimating 2016 ARC, PLC Payments For Covered Commodities 7-26
Cotton – Southwest: 4-Bale Possibilities: Dicamba Injury in KS, OK – AgFax 7-26
Ag Tech: Experts Discuss the Future of Drones, Robotics in Agriculture 7-26
AGCO to Buy Precision Planting LLC from The Climate Corporation 7-26
Farm Bill Hearing on Risk Management – Crop Insurance, Payment Limits, Base Acres 7-26
Corn: Why Isn’t the Crop Trading Higher? – DTN 7-26
North Carolina: Blackland Farm Managers Tour, Columbia, Aug. 2 7-24
North Carolina Organic Cotton: Where Are We Headed? 7-24
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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