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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.




Heavy plant bug pressure may be in the cards this year in Alabama. It’s possible that more plant bugs will move into cotton and that the migratory period will last much longer than usual. See comments by Ron Smith.


Planting continues, but for how much longer? That’s anyone’s guess. Rain delays kept farmers out of the field on a wide basis and some are still trying to wrap up as many of the remaining acres as possible.


Encouraged by strong cotton prices, some growers also will push the outside of the envelope in terms of late planting. They will at least try to wrap up their intended cotton acres, but some land also has been pulled from peanuts and soybeans for late cotton planting. A few farmers this week were actually planting cotton behind wheat in West Tennessee, we were told by Tyson Raper, the state’s Extension cotton specialist. To his knowledge, doublecrop cotton had never been tried in the state in a commercial field.


Redbanded stink bugs are already turning up in soybeans in southwest Georgia. See comments by Wes Briggs.




Chad Savery, Agromax LLC, Fairhope, Alabama:

“We’re still finishing planting some cotton, so the crop ranges from just going into the ground to some at 8 or 9 nodes. We really haven’t had any replants but do have 2 distinct crops. Things were dry 4 weeks ago but then it started raining and that went on for 3 weeks. That shut down planting and we only began planting again last week.


“We need to spray some weeds. Pretty good thrips pressure developed in places but I didn’t spray any. We’re treating a few plant bugs in our oldest cotton. Cotton acres are up and peanut acres are down, mainly due to stronger cotton prices.”


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

“It’s too wet across parts of the state to do anything in the field today (6/12). Over the last day and a half we’ve gotten a widespread rain in the coastal plains. Amounts ranged from ample to too much.


“In cotton, most of the crop has either moved out of the thrips stage or is in the process of doing that. We still have some replants that could be experiencing thrips pressure, particularly in the northern part of the state. At the end of last week, I received a picture of 1- to 2-leaf cotton in the Pee Dee region that probably had enough thrips injury to warrant a spray. But at this point, we’re mostly moving into that phase where spider mites, aphids and plant bugs are the main players in cotton.”


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

“We’ve had a round of thunderstorms and it rained a couple of inches in the very southern part of the state, which was pretty significant. Everywhere else maybe got a few tenths.


“Last week it did dry up, which we needed so growers could plant the last few cotton acres. Folks either finished up or gave up. With it getting dry again, it didn’t hurt that some rain fell this week. A few calls continue coming in about seedling diseases in little spots. Growers pushed to make herbicide applications last week and this week.


“A few fields might have had squares a week ago but we can now find them pretty readily in early planted cotton.”


Michael Mulvaney, Cropping Systems Specialist, University of Florida, Western Panhandle:

“Conditions were super dry in the first half of May. But then the skies opened up and we’ve had a hard time getting in the field ever since, and rain really hammered us again this week.


“We’ve had to deal with a lot of uneven stands – 5 row feet of stunted seedlings but on the next 5 feet the plants are a foot tall and look great. It was bone dry in the first 2 weeks of May and some farmers planted cotton deep just to get it into moisture. When it looked like rain was developing, everyone went hog wild with planting. We had just a very small window for planting cotton before it turned so wet. Early season seedling disease also hurt a little.


“It’s been hard to manage with all the rain. Where we couldn’t spray thrips, it’s too late now. Trying to apply herbicides was a challenge, too. We’re past our crop insurance deadline but you might see the occasional planter still running. Most people are finished and we’re very close to being 100% planted.


“It will be important to sidedress cotton as soon as conditions allow. Cotton nutrient uptake doesn’t start much until 60 days after planting. If a grower missed earlier applications, we still have a window to get it done.


“We’re just now (6/12) coming into what we consider our rainy season and it sure is raining. But we still haven’t seen as much rain as we did during this period in 2017. Last year we had 22 inches in June. While we don’t seem to be on track for that much rain, enough has fallen to consistently keep people out of the field.


“Weed control also has been a challenge. In peanuts, some Cadre control has been less than we normally expect and that’s just because of all the rain. We’re coming up on the 30-day fungicide application in peanuts and that will be tricky if rainy weather persists. The same goes for gypsum applications, which are coming up soon, too.”


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

“Things dried up a little, which we needed, and then we had some rains last night (6/11). It kind of fell across the eastern half of the state, although it wasn’t widespread.


“With the insurance deadline, we only have 3 more days to plant cotton and get coverage, so everyone is scrambling to cover as many acres as they can. This is the deadline for partial coverage. The full-coverage period ended on June 5.



“The early part of the crop, which was planted before this extended rainy weather, looks really good. We tend to plant somewhat later in east Georgia than in southwest Georgia, so our earliest fields are just starting to square. I was in a field today where plants were at 9 leaves and that’s the biggest I’ve seen.


“Growers will plant until June 15 and then some guys will decide whether to keep going with cotton or switch to soybeans. With a 90-cent market, cotton planted after June 15 looks favorable. We don’t recommend planting after June 15, but I suspect that at least some growers will push past that date.”


Brandon Dillard, Regional Agronomist, Geneva, Alabama:

“We’re still running behind on cotton planting and continue getting scattered rain just about every day. The rain also is delaying wheat and oat harvest, so that’s holding up guys who want to plant cotton behind small grain.


“In cotton, we’re also running behind on weed control and fertilizer applications. The chance of rain every day this week is above 50%. Weed control has been particularly rough. Everyone was pushing so hard on planting that they couldn’t apply preemerge herbicides when necessary. In certain cases where materials could go out, they weren’t working like they should due to excessive rainfall.


“This has been an odd planting season. In the first 10 days of May people stopped planting because it was too dry and then in the next 10 days is rained every day. It changed suddenly, like someone threw a switch. Those dry conditions also hurt our weed control programs because we didn’t get rain to activate herbicides. At this point, growers are trying to catch up with herbicide applications between showers.


“We’re still only 75% to 80% planted (as of 6/12). With peanuts, we’re probably 80% to 85% planted. Peanuts flooded out in spots and some didn’t emerge. We also have spots like that with cotton.


“In the last 10 days of May, some growers shifted acres from cotton to peanuts. These strong cotton prices triggered that. One salesman said he has a pile of peanut seed in his warehouse that customers decided not to plant.”


Kyle Skinner, Skinner Ag, Starkville, Mississippi:

“Most of our cotton is squaring now. Several people added a few more acres of cotton instead of planting soybeans. That was around June 1 to June 4. When the cotton market went to 93 cents, that encouraged growers to put in more acres.


“With cotton, some areas have received too much rain and others are kind of beginning to need rain. It’s still scattered, like you fired buckshot at a map. No cotton has been irrigated yet except where people watered it up. On the other hand, everyone is irrigating corn pretty hard now.”


Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist, Tifton, Georgia:

“Insects remain quiet. We are starting to see aphids. That’s to be expected but they may be a little earlier than usual. Probably 20% of our acres are starting to square. I haven’t heard of any real plant bug issues but we need to scout for them and also monitor retention. Hopefully, we’ll finish planting cotton real soon.”


Tyler Sandlin, Extension Crop Specialist, North Alabama, Belle Mina:

“Cotton planting has mostly wrapped up in north Alabama and the crop is off to a pretty good start. Some early-season Pix applications are starting at low rates. Our oldest cotton is probably a couple of weeks into squaring.


“I’m not aware of any plant bug treatments, although some may already have gone out. I talked with several consultants who are beginning to see retention dropping and one guy said he was lining up to treat.


“A fair number of auxin herbicide applications have gone out and people are satisfied with control. No drift issues have arisen and I sure hope it stays that way.”


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

“The most notable thing in cotton this week has been slugs and snails. Of those, most were snails. Usually, it’s the other way around. In some cases, people are finding 100 snails on a single plant. It’s hard to say how much they are eating but with that many, you could expect some damage.


“There’s nothing we can do about it. The only product for control is expensive and has to be applied with a spreader, which nobody wants to do. Typically, you think about this happening in wet weather and in conservation tillage fields, which is mostly the case. But they’re also turning up in some conventional tillage cotton. The main remedy is plenty of hot, sunny weather, and we are supposed to move into a drier pattern for 5 days.


“A few cotton aphid sprays have been made in typical areas. One consultant said he was finding them on water-stressed cotton. More questions than usual are coming in about white margined burrower bugs. More seem to be around this year. They’re typically not a pest in cotton and it would take 50 per plant to hurt cotton.”


Ron Smith, Alabama Extension Entomologist:

“We’re moving into a window where plant bugs will be the main pest in cotton pretty much statewide for the next 30 to 35 days. We’ll likely see more plant bugs than usual this year and deal with them longer than usual.


“In many areas, this might be a season when multiple plant bug applications are necessary. A couple of things are setting this up. First, cotton is late. Second, thunderstorms have kept wild hosts fresh, particularly fleabane, and that source is still producing immature plant bugs. So, they’re holding in fleabane and building their numbers.



“Some adults have already migrated off fleabane and into cotton in parts of the state. Based on what we know, it looks like we’ll have adults moving off fleabane and into cotton until at least July 1. That’s aside from any in-field generations produced in the cotton.


“The problem is that there won’t be one time when we can treat cotton and clean up all the adults, since this looks like a 3-week migration window. The longer the movement lasts, the longer they’ll deposit eggs for in-field generations. It will be long and spread out, which will require multiple applications.


“I could be wrong and hope I am, but the trend points toward a bad plant bug year in Alabama. We were in the Tennessee Valley this week and I was surprised at how many immature plant bugs we were finding in fleabane on June 12.


“This won’t all happen at once. At this point, the majority of the population in north Alabama isn’t even a half-grown immature yet. They’re 10 days old or less. Since it takes 20 days for it to reach the adult stage, it will be toward the end of this month before we see a lot of those new adults shifting into cotton up there.


“Usually by then, all the migration has already wrapped up. This year, it will just be starting, plus it will likely extend longer and the egg deposition will, too. In south and central Alabama the immatures may be a little older and cotton will be the only available host when the do migrate.


“This year, the insect growth regulator Diamond should be a valuable tool to reduce immature populations. When I talk about multiple applications, those will likely be in a period between now and July 15 for adults and immatures and that will take us up to the point that bollworm moths come out of corn.


“The heavier we have to spray for plant bugs, the more worm escapes we can expect once they start. Those plant bug treatments will take out beneficials, and there’s a strong correlation between how much we spray plant bugs and the percentage of bollworms that escape.”


Wes Briggs, Briggs Crop Services, Inc., Bainbridge, Georgia:

“The weather forced us into a lot of late planting. I can’t remember a time in the last 20 years when we’ve planted peanuts as late as we have this year.


“We’re 90% to 95% finished planting cotton and what’s left is going behind small grains or sweet corn. We would have had the cotton planted behind small grains by now but rains delayed the wheat and oat harvest. We’ll plant cotton through this weekend and maybe finish up what we can on Monday and Tuesday. Anything after that will go to soybeans.


“In the last 2 weeks, it’s rained 5 to 15 inches, depending on the location. Some rains have been very heavy in spots and several of those spots have received multiple rains that each totaled 2 to 3 inches.


“We’re starting to put out Pix and treating plant bugs and a few aphids. From what I’m seeing, plant bugs will be a problem this year. Where we’re applying Pix, something is going in the tank for aphids and plant bugs where needed. We’re also trying to get fertilizer on cotton where we’ve had a lot of rain. We want to get the crop on schedule again.


“I’m picking up bacterial blight in 5- to 8-leaf cotton and I’m seeing it across 3 different companies’ varieties.


“Growers are trying to finish gypsum and land plaster applications in peanuts. Just a few peanuts are still being planted.


“Redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) have turned up in soybeans. They were pretty tough last year. In this part of Georgia, we often don’t get a cold enough winter to reduce stink bugs and other pests. This one (RBSB) has me particularly concerned. We averaged 3 to 4 sprays last year for RBSB and still found damage in soybeans. We’re also seeing stink bugs moving back into corn and it will take 2 applications in a lot of cases to maintain control this year.”




North Carolina Cotton: Scouting And Treating Plant Bugs – 6 “Recs” 6-13


Alabama: Pattern Tile Drainage – Improving Soggy Soils 6-12


North Carolina Cotton: 7 Points to Consider for Irrigation 6-12


Virginia Cotton: Better Prioritize – This Crop Is Taking Off   6-14


Florida Peanuts: Boron Deficiency – A Rare but Serious Issue 6-11


North Carolina Cotton: 7 Considerations When Making PGR Decisions 6-11


Georgia Peanuts: Controlling Tropical Spiderwort/Benghal Dayflower 6-8




More Cotton News/a> | More Peanut News


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