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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.
Where whitefly aren’t an issue, more cotton has moved past the point that it will be sprayed again for insects. A few cleanup sprays are going out and applications are being made in some areas for escaped bollworms, stink bugs or plant bugs.
Late cotton remains a factor in places, especially along the Gulf Coast where rains delayed planting on a wide basis. Insects will remain a potential factor in those fields well into September.
Where whitefly are an issue, cotton will be safe when the last leaf is on the ground and any regrowth has been fried. The insect continues to plague Georgia and southeast Alabama. See comments by Phillip Roberts and Ron Smith.
Parts of the Southeast have moved into a drier mode.
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John Burleson, Consultant, Swan Quarter, North Carolina
“Most of our cotton is pretty safe now. We’re still checking for worm escapes, but I think we’ve moved past the point that lygus would be a problem. I probably haven’t made any treatments for anything in the last 2 or 3 weeks, depending on the area.
“No open bolls yet. The crop seems a little more mature than usual for August 21, maybe by a week or even two weeks. In September, I still tend to be spot checking, but I probably won’t be doing much of that this year.
“We went through a pretty good run of dry weather but then had a rainy spell for about the last 10 days. Overall, this has been a great growing season for us and the cotton looks really nice. All we need is the right weather this fall.”
Chad Savery, Agromax LLC, Fairhope, Alabama
“Everything has been pretty light. We’re still spraying a few plant bugs – both adults and immatures – and are treating a few stink bugs. Today (8/21) I actually saw a couple of leaffooted bugs. We’re past the middle of August, and that’s when they generally show up.
“We can find a few bollworms here and there. A few aphids have turned up in the last week or two and we’ve had just scattered spider mites. Overall, we don’t have a whole lot of anything.
“After 2 weeks of rain, we caught dry weather last week and caught up on Pix and target spot sprays. Nothing has been out of hand, whether you’re talking about plant growth, weeds or insects. We’re trying to maintain things and make as much cotton as we can here at the tail end of the growing season. Our cotton ranges from the second to the sixth week of bloom. I was in one field today that was probably at 5 NAWF.”
Trey Bullock, Bullock's Ag Consulting, Hattiesburg, Mississippi
“We have a lot of late cotton and our youngest is probably in the second week of bloom. Our oldest would have open bolls, but most of those are rotten now.
“We’re still dealing with bollworm pressure. Over the weekend (8/19-20) I was asked for an assessment and I honestly reported that I wasn’t seeing bollworm moths. But today (8/21), everything changed, and the moths are flying around like mosquitoes. We’ve treated most of our cotton once and a few fields twice for worms.
“In places, we’re seeing slippage, whether we treated or not. In certain areas, I think we’re running into more pressure and slippage where we have treated. But with the exception of cotton we work along the Mississippi River, we’re still in pretty good shape in terms of worms.
“That said, we tried to get out ahead of whatever was coming and started spraying when we found eggs. I didn’t want to wait to treat and then find worms behind bloom tags. But this has still been a season when it’s hard to make general statements.
“In some fields, it was too wet to treat when needed and other times it rained an hour after we sprayed, so you’ve got to wonder if the application did anything at all. In some fields where we sprayed 10 days ago, we’re finding a lot of eggs, plus moths and an occasional small worm. Where we couldn’t spray or had that quick washoff, we’re not finding worms now.
“It’s impossible to exaggerate how wet it’s been. Since May 1 – about 105 days ago – some fields have had 49 inches of rain. That’s based on locations with good rain data. The number of days when we could get in the field have been limited.
“Pod set in peanuts looks good. A little more late leaf spot has developed across the board than usual. We’ve had the right weather for it, plus we couldn’t be timely with most applications. Last week, nearly any worm you can think of jumped into our peanuts and we’ve now treated most of our acres for them.
“At least one grower tried to start corn harvest on Saturday but his combine buried up. We’ve treated most of our late soybeans twice for leps. Redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) forced us to spray all of our older beans at least once and we’re spraying some today that are at R5 to R5.5. We treated some 2 weeks ago in beans that are ready to harvest. RBSB weren’t horrible but had reached threshold. We went with bifenthrin and acephate, and they’ve stayed clean.”
Jack Royal, Royal’s Agricultural Consulting Co., Inc., Leary, Georgia
“Our oldest cotton ranges from the fifth to eighth week of bloom and our youngest – behind wheat or rye – is in about the third week of bloom.
“We’ve had to spray most of our young cotton for whitefly and did a pretty good job knocking them back. Whitefly are in our older cotton but nowhere near the numbers. This is the first year in a long time that we’ve had to deal with whitefly. Some cotton in the eighth week of bloom is just beginning to open, so we’ll have to monitor that closely now that whitefly are in the picture.
“We sprayed most of our Bollgard 2 cotton once for bollworms and a few fields twice. A big portion of the older cotton has had one stink bug application, if not two.
“We’re putting out Pentia to control growth. Most of our crop is irrigated. We’ve had pretty good rainfall this summer but in the last 10 days we haven’t had any, plus it’s been hot and things are fairly dry now. We still have some small bolls in the top that we’ll have to protect a while longer, so we’re not letting go of anything yet.
Peanuts look pretty good. Dryland fields are starting to show drought stress in places, but irrigated peanuts are doing well. We have perfect conditions for white mold but our disease control program is doing quite well. Most of ours were planted at the very end of April and into early May, so nothing is close to being ready for harvest. I’ve heard that some were being dug way south of us that were planted in early April. Most everyone has finished shelling corn.”
Justin Ballew, Agronomy Agent, Dillon County, Clemson University, South Carolina
“Plenty of fields are blooming out the top and a lot of our cotton really looks good, too. Insects are pretty quiet, other than a few stink bugs here and there.
“It’s been a couple of weeks since any appreciable rain and things have gotten a little dry, but if we can catch a few showers we should be okay. Plants don’t appear to be stressing or wilting. We’ve been in the mid 90s and humidity has been outrageous, but the forecast has us moving into the upper 80s later in the week.
“We’re well over halfway done with corn harvest. Yields have been fairly decent – on average, 120 to 150 bu/acre with dryland. We’re starting to see some soybean loopers in beans, with a few kudzu bugs and green cloverworms here and there. We’re watching the loopers very closely.”
Ron Smith, Alabama Extension Entomologist
“In places, cotton is still being sprayed for stink bugs and some folks are still talking about bollworm egg lays on cotton. They’re naturally nervous about bollworms, considering what some folks have been through in recent weeks. Bollworm trap counts are still high in parts of the state, although we can’t say what that will mean in the field in terms of moth activity and egg laying.
“The silverleaf whitefly (SLWF) situation continues. By comparison, the problem is much bigger and more dynamic in Georgia. But they have certainly developed in southeast Alabama across a wider area than we would have expected.
“A lot of our older planted cotton there might make it to defoliation with no control measures taken for SLWF, although some of it will likely need one application. But with our younger June-planted cotton, there’s no way it can avoid the need for treatments. Quite likely, it won’t be defoliated until November, and that’s setting us up for a serious situation. Because of wet spring conditions and delays, a lot more cotton was planted later this year than normal.
“Also, people continue having trouble finding products. The two preferred materials – both insect growth regulators (IGRs) – were pretty much used up in Georgia before whitefly began infesting cotton here. Many of the other recommended insecticides were in short supply. New inventory, I’m told, is dribbling into one warehouse or another.
“All of these materials are expensive, relatively speaking, from $18 to nearly $30 an acre. As we get into cooler weather, the insect’s lifecycle should slow down some, so it will take longer to turn over a new generation. If that pushes it back a couple of weeks, we have a much better chance of managing the pest. I posted more information on my blog this morning (8/22) about this, including points about scouting and treatment decisions.
“In soybeans, we can find redbanded stink bugs in a few fields in the Dothan area. So far, nobody has reported treatment levels. Soybean loopers are in most soybeans from Montgomery south, and many fields are at threshold. This is about the time they usually appear.”
Jeremy Greene, Clemson University Cotton Entomologist, Blackville, South Carolina
“We’re getting close to being done with insects. The things we’re tracking and dealing with continue to be stink bugs and escaped bollworms.
“I’ve seen plenty of stink bugs in soybeans and cotton in the last week, so keep checking bolls, watch for thresholds and spray as needed.
“Also, I’ve been regularly touching base with colleagues in Georgia about the situation there with silverleaf whitefly (SLWF). I talked with one person who’s just over the Savannah River in Georgia, and he said SLWF were showing up there but not to the extent that they’ve developed in much of Georgia. As the crow flies, we’re not that far from his area.
“I’ll turn loose of a bunch of my cotton plots tomorrow (8/23). That cotton was planted within the normal date range for much of the crop, so I imagine that a lot of our growers are at or near that same point, at least in this part of South Carolina.
“Some soybeans are covered up in velvetbean caterpillars (VBC), soybean loopers and a few corn earworms and green cloverworms – plus, hatching southern green stink bugs. Where we’re seeing this, it’s in R2 beans. Some others at R3 are covered up in soybean loopers.
“Loopers are here and they have at least migrated into our southern counties, However, they are likely getting started elsewhere. So, start scouting for them and VBC. With a lot of this worm pressure, we went from nothing to 15% to 20% defoliation in a week, so this has happened suddenly in places. After bloom, the defoliation threshold is 15%. Before bloom, it’s 30%.
“Scout for stink bugs in soybeans, as well. Potentially, they could be as thick as fleas from here to the end of the season, particularly southern greens, which can be quite prolific.”
Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist, Tifton, Georgia
“The crop is progressing. We could use some rainfall for a number of reasons, and some areas have gone a while without any. The crop still has good yield potential and boll retention looks really favorable.
“Cotton is opening on a wider basis. We’re probably a couple of weeks away from any defoliation starting. This crop had a wide range of planting dates, so part of this crop still has a long way to go. We’ll definitely need to protect it.
“Whitefly are pretty much distributed across the state now. They’re not at treatable levels everywhere but they are present. All the whitefly materials are in short supply.
“With defoliation planning, we absolutely have to keep whitefly in mind. The overriding objective is to get leaves off the plants in a timely manner, and then do a thorough job of managing regrowth. Let me stress that whitefly really like regrowth. It’s succulent and can keep whitefly in the field ahead of picking.
“Regrowth potential exists in some of the older cotton that hasn’t had an issue with whitefly yet, so don’t ignore that possibility.
“Over the last week, we’ve definitely seen an uptick in corn earworm (CEW) escapes in Bt cotton. It’s still nothing major like in certain parts of the South this year, but CEW have become more common. Trap counts jumped and we’ve been flushing more moths in the last 7 to 10 days.
“A few escapes have occurred but nothing is out of control. Monitor them closely and be prepared to treat if necessary. This is an expensive crop but we’ll have to stay with it. It’s not like we can turn back now.
“In soybeans, pest pressure has increased just in the last week in a portion of our crop. That includes stink bugs, velvetbean caterpillars and loopers. Each of them has been treated somewhere.
“People are coming across some redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) in soybeans. This is new for us in Georgia. It’s a more damaging pest than our regular stink bugs. It’s important to properly identify this pest and address it if necessary. For right now, I’m just getting photos from people who have found it. I’m not aware of any treatments for RBSB in Georgia.”
Dominic Reisig, NCSU Extension Specialist, Entomology, Plymouth, North Carolina
“Cotton is moving towards maturity but we still have fields that are susceptible to insects. I’ve received a smattering of questions about bollworms. We’re seeing little bits of a moth flight but nothing much seems to have developed from it.
“That said, some people think egg lays are heavy in spots. The same goes for plant bugs. Heavy pressure is present in certain places but not others.
“Cotton is mostly far enough along that we don’t have to worry about plant bugs now. The last effective bloom date is August 25. At that point, a bloom has a 50% chance to make it to a harvestable boll. So after that point it doesn’t pay to protect squares. Stink bug pressure has been really light, although treatments have been needed in places.
“Rainfall has been good, generally speaking, but we do have dry pockets. I was told about one area in the Piedmont that hasn’t had appreciable rain since July. Overall, though, most farmers think the crop looks pretty good.
“In soybeans, we’re running into spotty populations of corn earworms that are heavy in places. That seems to be tapering down, however. Loopers are picking up and some guys have started spraying, especially in our eastern coastal counties. I’ve had the third report this year of garden fleahoppers in soybeans. It's a pretty rare pest and we have no stated threshold. One guy said he was finding over 100 in 15 sweeps.”
Alabama: Soybean Rust Spreading, Fields Passed R5 Should Be Safe 8-23
AgFax Southwest Cotton: Harvest Done for Some; Others Need Heat Units 8-23
South Carolina: New Ag Tech from Clemson Holds Big Savings for Farmers 8-22
Tennessee Cotton: Heat Unit Accumulation During 2017 8-22
Alabama Cotton: Controlling Silverleaf Whitefly 8-22
Alabama Field Reports: Corn Harvest Underway, Good Yields So Far 8-22
Virginia Field Reports: Rains Benefit Crops, Pastures 8-22
South Carolina Field Reports: Corn Harvest Takes Off with Drier Conditions 8-22
North Carolina Field Reports: Scattered Showers Offer Some Relief 8-22
Georgia Field Reports: Corn Harvest Speeds Along, Whiteflies Still a Problem 8-21
Florida Peanuts: Assessing Crop Health with Nodule Analysis 8-21
Georgia Peanuts: Stay on Top of Insects, Disease While Crops Add Weight 8-21
South Carolina Peanuts: Threecornered Alfalfa Hoppers, Late Season Manganese 8-18
Georgia: Pest Manager Training, Tifton, August 31
More Cotton News | More Peanut News
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