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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.




Rain continues to stall planting through much of our coverage area. The subtropical system Alberto brought more rain, particularly in the eastern half of the Southeast, and that will further delay planting.


How much cotton remains to be planted varies. The full cutoff for crop insurance coverage is at hand or nearly so, and any planting after that will be at the farmer’s risk. However, strong cotton prices this week will be factored into some decisions. If a grower has prevented planting coverage, that likely will be taken into account, as will his alternative crop options.


Both Georgia and North Carolina have issued overviews on late planting decisions and production approaches. Connect to the articles in our Links section.


Thrips have died down in places, either because it was time to cycle out or because the rain has beaten them back.




Brad Smith, Crop Production Services, Selma, Alabama:

“Our cotton is probably 95% planted and of that, probably 95% is up. Where we haven’t planted yet, it was too dry and then it was too wet.


“Rainfall has varied and it’s been sporadic. Over the area where we work, some places received 6 inches or maybe more in the last 10 days. In other spots, it might have rained 1.25 inches in that same period.


“Weed control has been mixed. Where growers had a good pre program and things went their way, control looks good. Even where weeds escaped, those situations are still manageable at this time. Thrips are out there and some treatments have been made, but nothing is out of hand.


“I’m seeing good stands on the majority of our soybeans and we’re 85% to 90% planted. Corn looks good.”


John Burleson, Consultant, Swan Quarter, North Carolina:

“Our oldest cotton is at 2 true leaves and we’re cleaning up weeds and thrips. Thrips haven’t been that bad. Cotton planting is done, although some corn is still being planted.


“We’ve had rain and it’s still wet today (5/28), and that tropical system (Alberto) in the gulf is affecting us now. At least with cotton, planting went well. It’s all up and looks good. As a whole, not many beans are in yet. It’s raining now and we’ll probably get a couple of inches or more out of this system.”


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

“Since last Thursday, we’ve probably received 3 to 5 inches of rain, depending on the location. So, we’re wet now and can’t do anything in the field. Before all the rain started, we were applying herbicides and doing a little replanting. Today (5/29), the best we can do is hope and wish for drier conditions. We’ve gotten some rain from the tropical system (Alberto) but haven’t had any wind or flooding associated with it.


“Through this area, 20% to 30% of the cotton hasn’t been planted yet, although I think my growers are probably further along than that. Where cotton is up, it does look good. In peanuts, we maybe lack 20% to 25% being through with planting. We started some cracking sprays and have been putting out a little Cadre.”


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

“We already were wet and this subtropical system (Alberto) brought more. Nobody has been in the field to scout. Even if we found something, we can’t spray because fields are too wet. And if we did spray, chances are it would rain that afternoon and wash off the treatment.


“One agent did call about thrips pressure, particularly in fields with volunteer peanuts. As much as it’s rained and as heavy as the rain has been, it’s interesting that enough thrips are present in places to prompt any concern. The immatures, I guess, would hang onto the bottom of leaves and the eggs are embedded in leaf tissue, but all it probably takes is a well-placed raindrop to take out an adult. At least to some extent, this much rain should mitigate thrips numbers.”


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

“Based on calls and what seems to be around, thrips are pretty light. We have had some field failures with thrips treatments because of neonic resistance. But no big disasters have surfaced yet and I think most people are fairly well tuned into thrips management by now.



“One grower said today (5/29) that he wished he’d planted more cotton, considering the price. He already had planted more than he did in 2017 and was planting up until May 31 last year. This year, he finished by May 15.


“Cotton I’ve seen ranges from just emerging to a little of our early planted cotton that will be squaring before long. A big portion of the cotton I’ve been in has at least 5 true leaves. It’s been warm and plants have grown fast.


“In corn last year some really bad stink bug pressure developed in a couple of spots, and those growers are super nervous about stink bugs again this year. It’s hard to say why they were bad last year. Stink bugs are around but I haven’t heard of any at threshold, so far. But after what they went through last year in their corn, some of those growers did include an insecticide with their layby spray.”


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

“The weather made a big swing from dry, dry, dry to wet, wet, wet. The cotton I work on the west side of the state along the Mississippi River is in good shape. Everything has been planted, it’s emerged and the stands look nice.


“But in the Hattiesburg area, only 50% to 60% of the cotton has been planted and we do have questions about some stands. A lot of those fields were planted last week ahead of what I’d call these ‘all-or-nothing’ rains. It either rains 3 inches or doesn’t rain at all.


“We sure need this subtropical system (Alberto) to miss us, which I think it has, and then we need a stretch of dry weather to finish planting.


“We’ve probably had to spray more thrips than normal. In certain cases, it rained just enough for cotton to emerge and then it dried up to the point that cotton was in danger of dying. In a few of those situations, thrips developed. They weren’t bad but we did spray that cotton to give it a break. In all, we’ve maybe treated thrips on 40% of the cotton that’s up.


“Some of our oldest cotton will be at pinhead square next week, but that’s on the riverside. Where we could help bring cotton up with irrigation in the Hattiesburg area, those fields look pretty good. Where we couldn’t irrigate, that cotton looks kind of rough – plants already at the third node but also cotton that’s just coming up.


“A minimal amount of rain right now might actually help, since it would keep the ground soft to help more cotton emerge. We planted deeper during the dry weather to put seed into moisture, so we sure don’t need the kind of extreme heat that would seal over the soil surface.


“The heaviest rain I know of over the last week or so was 3.7 inches in something under 40 minutes. The planter had just left the field, so I didn’t have much hope on gaining a stand. It was planted last Wednesday but I looked at that cotton today (5/28) and I think it will be fine. We’re 70% finished with peanut planting.”


Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist, Tifton, Georgia:

“It’s still been raining and not much cotton has been planted in the last 7 days. Statewide, we’re still sitting at 60% to 65% planted. That varies by area, of course, but in most parts of the state planting stalled out.


“I haven’t talked to anyone about insects in the last week. If anyone needed to treat, it would be difficult to do that in most locations. It does look like thrips have settled down like they should.


“The rain has varied but plenty fell in places. One location received 12 inches in the last 3 weeks. At Tifton, 7 inches have accumulated in that same period. Many places seem to be receiving rain every day. Amounts aren’t excessive but enough to keep things messy. Hopefully, we can get in the field again next week and finish planting.”


Guy Collins, Extension Cotton Specialist, North Carolina State University:

“With some exceptions, it’s been too wet to plant anything over the last week. A few folks did miss enough rain that they could plant in spots on Friday, Saturday and into early Sunday. Some people are through, while others have varying amounts of acreage left.


“The final insurance cutoff is coming up late this week, but rain is in the forecast, mainly due to this tropical system (Alberto). After this upcoming insurance deadline passes, people can still plant but won’t have coverage. Certainly, these high cotton prices are prompting people’s interest in putting in a little more cotton.



“We don’t officially recommend planting cotton past the insurance deadline. Some people can make decent yields with planting dates up to June 5 and maybe even after that, but risks do increase after June 1. We posted an article about this, which people can check out for further information.


“If you do plant late, you’ve got to do everything right. That would include using irrigation to retain the earliest set bolls and then be very timely with plant growth regulators and insect management. You don’t want to do anything that would cost you early bolls or further delay maturity. If you lose lower bolls, you can’t make up for those losses higher up the plant. With late cotton, you lack that kind of flexibility. Slightly increasing seeding rates also could help.


“Realistically, we have more rain ahead of us. We’re entering the third week with this ‘rain every day’ weather pattern. In places, 8 to 9 inches of rain already have been reported over the last week. Those are extreme examples, but heavy rains are moving through parts of the coastal plains today.”


Ron Smith, Alabama Extension Entomologist, Auburn:

“We’re not finished planting, at least not in south and central Alabama. We probably lack 20% to 25% being done. We’ll have some June cotton for certain because this tropical system – Alberto – brought enough rain to keep people out of the field for a few more days (from 5/29). Amounts varied, from less than an inch to multiple inches in places.


“The Tennessee Valley is probably closer to finishing than the rest of the state.


“A few calls are still dribbling in about thrips and grasshoppers. I doubt if anyone needs to spray any young cotton for thrips now. But late-planted cotton could still be susceptible to grasshoppers, so we’ll need to be on the lookout for them well into June.


“I’ve been asked why grasshopper problems arise in parts of central and south Alabama but the Tennessee Valley seems immune to them. It has to do mainly with soil types. Grasshoppers deposit eggs in small tubes that are glued together from sand. That first generation in the spring comes from eggs in those tubes.


“In this part of the state, soils tend to have a higher sand content. In the Tennessee Valley, soils have a much lower percentage of sand, which means fewer egg tubes and a much smaller over-wintering egg count. (See related item in Links section.)


“We’ve been sweeping for plant bugs in daisy fleabane. Last week we mainly found adults where we swept north of Headland in southeast Alabama. Fleabane starts drying down about now, regardless of whether it’s rained, and those plant bugs are moving to other hosts. That will continue for several weeks. But since much of this cotton got off to a late start, it won’t have squares for plant bug feeding with this current migration. As things look right now, plant bugs shouldn’t be much of an issue in this part of the state near-term.”


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

“It hasn’t stopped raining in the last week and we’re probably still about 50% planted in east Georgia. Rain totals in the last 2 weeks range from 5 inches to upwards of 8-plus inches. Field work has been nonexistent.


“This rain has been mostly sporadic without strong storms or fronts. It just keeps raining everywhere. Today (5/30) is the first sunny day I’ve seen in a while. A lot of people will be pushed into late planting. We’ve posted an article that covers approaches we’ll have to take in these situations.”




Alabama Cotton: Got Grasshoppers? Here’s What You Should Know. 5-30


Alabama: 3 Upcoming Cotton, Soybean Scouting Schools 5-25


Florida Cotton, Peanuts: On-Farm Nematicide Trial Prelim. Results 5-28


Georgia Peanuts, Soybeans: Wet Weather Delays – 4 Weed Management Considerations 5-30


Cotton: Everyone Take a Seat on the Roller Coaster – Commentary 5-29


Virginia Cotton: Leaf Scorch – One Thing To Minimize It 5-30


Georgia Cotton: Big Chunk Of Late-Planted Cotton Expected – How To Cope 5-28


Georgia: Crops at Heightened Disease Risk 5-25


Georgia: Cotton Replant Decisions 5-25


North Carolina Cotton: To Mix or Not to Mix – Herbicides and Acephate 5-29


North Carolina Cotton: Should You Spray for Thrips? 4 Questions to Ask 5-25


North Carolina Cotton: Re-Planting Decisions, Managing Late Planted Fields


South Carolina Field Reports: Rains Recharge Soils, Delay Planting 5-29


Virginia Field Reports: Rains Keep Farmers Idle 5-29



More Cotton News/a> | More Peanut News


AgFax Southeast Cotton is published by AgFax Media LLC, Owen Taylor, Editorial Director. It is available to United States residents engaged in grain farming or qualifying ag-related professions. Mailing address: 142 Westlake Drive, Brandon, MS 39047. 601-992-9488 (Fax: 601-992-3503). Email: owen@agfax.com.

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