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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.




Stink bugs are becoming more obvious in parts of the region and treatments have started in Georgia in scattered locations.


The aphid fungus has been confirmed in southwest Georgia. Aphid treatments are going out in places.


Plant bug treatments continue in parts of the region, while in other areas the expected pressure has yet to develop.


Cotton is blooming on a wider basis.


Concerns are being voiced about limited root growth due to earlier rains and saturated soils. Rainfall remains erratic, from areas with adequate amounts to places where cotton is wilting. See comments from Guy Collins about dry conditions in North Carolina.




David Butcher, NC Ag Service, Inc., Pantego, North Carolina:

“Our cotton ranges from maybe 3 true leaves all the way up to some starting to flower. A lot of cotton was planted past the ideal window and was hurt by more wet weather after that.


“Aphids are kind of bad in places and we’re also spraying a few lygus. In other crops, we’re finding plenty of stink bugs. Cotton isn’t far enough along for them to be a problem quite yet, but I think we’ll have a pretty good stink bug population in cotton this year, based on how things look so far.


“Most of our corn has tasseled and silked and looks okay. But we definitely have spots out in the field that were hurt by all the rain. Beans are as spread out as the cotton – from some just being planted to older fields that are flowering. We’re still trying to wrap up beans behind wheat but also have cases where it stayed too wet to plant full-season beans until now.”


Brandon Phillips, Phillips Ag Services, LLC, Fitzgerald, Georgia:

“I just triggered our first stink bug spray in cotton this year. It was for my oldest field of cotton, and it wasn’t hard to find damage on little bolls. Another consultant said he had recommended stink bug treatments on 3 fields today (7/2). Who knows if this is some kind of trend with stink bugs or if they’re simply congregating in the oldest cotton?


“Our cotton ranges from cotyledon all the way to the third week of bloom. The majority of the crop is squaring. We’re spraying a few plant bugs and a few aphids – nothing overwhelming. Growers are trying to catch up with weeds and are applying fertilizer.


“The rain has continued delaying field work in places. In Ben Hill County last week, 4.5 to 5.5 inches fell on a wide basis. In May and June, it rained about 25 inches at my house. In a 2-week period, almost 16 inches fell. That’s crazy. Rain is in the forecast every day this, from a 60% to 80% chance.


“Hotter weather in the last half of June helped green up both cotton and peanuts. We had several highs in the 100s. One problem with all the rain is that cotton hasn’t developed much of a root system.


“Pretty much all of my peanuts are at 30 to 60 days and the second fungicide is going out on a big part of the crop. As far as insects go, peanuts are very clean. But we just had a full moon, so I expect a bollworm flight pretty soon. Tomato spotted wilt is fairly light in peanuts, which strikes me as kind of odd, considering all the wet conditions.”


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

“This week has been a testament to the old saying here that we’re never more than 4 or 5 days away from a drought. Despite all the rain in recent weeks, it’s dry again in a lot of places. It was very hot last week, with some locations touching 100, and I’m seeing corn rolled up and a lot of wilting in pre-bloom cotton, which isn’t good. Even at this point, you might take some yield penalty when cotton wilts.


“I’m encouraging folks with pivots to turn them on. Don’t wait another 3 days to see if it rains, even though the forecast calls for a good chance today (7/4) and tomorrow. I’m encouraging everyone to hold off on plant growth regulator applications until we get more rain. The coastal plain is under more stress due to its sandier soils. That cotton needs a rain sooner rather than later. We sure don’t want to see it thrown into premature cutout.


“The Blacklands is the exception. They had too much rain more than a week ago, and those high-organic soils hold water longer. So, we’re seeing stunting and slow growth. It’s maybe not across the whole field but you can spot areas with poorer drainage.”


Eddie McGriff, Regional Extension Agronomist, Centre, Alabama:

“Cotton is in pretty good shape and northeast Alabama isn’t experiencing some of the insect pressure people are reporting in the Tennessee Valley. We’re not seeing plant bug pressure, although I think it will build here, too.


“We’ve received rain and cotton is fruiting well. Also, we were able to mostly plant cotton on time this year. At this point (7/2), I would rate 60% to 70% of our cotton as excellent. The status for corn and soybeans is very similar. Corn is silking. Disease pressure has been about nil in both crops.”


Andrew Sawyer, Extension Agent, Thomas County, Georgia:

“Cotton varies from plants with 3 or 4 leaves to some that’s almost blooming or maybe has barely started in spots. The more aggressive cotton varieties need a plant growth regulator application if they haven’t already received one.



“Bacterial blight has shown up on a few varieties but not enough to get crazy about it. No reports of plant bugs yet but they’re the next thing that could turn up. Aphids are around but no treatments have been made to my knowledge.”


Ethan Carter, Regional Crop IPM, Marianna, Florida:

“We found first blooms 7 to 10 days ago, although they might have already opened in a few earlier fields before that. Over the last week, I’m seeing more and more fields that are blooming. On the other end of things, our youngest cotton has just a few true leaves. We had quite a few fields planted late due to all the rain. So far, I’m not seeing too many bugs or disease symptoms.


“Most of my peanut fields are starting to bloom and the earlier planted fields are 8 to 10 days from lapping (as of 7/2). I haven’t had any calls about lesser cornstalk borers but I am hearing about some turning up in different parts of Florida, plus they’ve been seen at the station at Marianna.


“I’m seeing quite a bit of snails around our county. They built in peanuts last year and have already developed this year. They didn’t seem to damage peanuts last year, although some snails made it to the buying points at harvest. I’m not sure if that affected things. In places, they’re stuck on cotton. However, I couldn’t find any damage. They are doing some feeding on soybeans farther west in Florida, I’m told. In cotton, I’m finding them on both strip-till plantings and in conventional fields.”


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

“We’re in pretty good shape and are laying by cotton. We’ve finally caught some breaks from the rain. I sure don’t want it to turn out like last year when too much rain left us with very limited root systems. Now we’re stressing the cotton a little and hope that helps with root growth. If we can get an inch of rain a week, we’ll be in better shape.


“Some aphids are showing up in cotton but nothing that would concern us yet. Our first plant growth regulator applications have gone out. Our peanuts look really good. Overall, there aren’t many problems in our area right now (7/2).”


Larry Walker, Walker Cotton Technical Services, Flintville, Tennessee:

“Last week it rained 5 inches across a wide area during about a 5-day stretch. Amounts varied from day to day and place to place, but if you totaled each gauge, most locations hit about 5 inches. Needless to say, we’re using a generous amount of Pix now (7/2).


“Our 10- and 12-node cotton should start blooming today, particularly fields where we’ve made multiple Pix applications. We’ve gone across with plant bug applications and those are working well. As soon as plants have 6 nodes of fruit, plant bugs arrive and we’ve had thresholds out there. I’m also seeing quite a few brown stink bugs in pre-bloom cotton.


“We’ve used Liberty to take down some pretty good size pigweed and may come back and spot spray with a gun. These pigweeds are kind of scattered across fields. If it rains 2 more times again in the near term, we may have to chop some of them. It’s amazing how you can have pigweed above your knee in 7 to 10 days’ time. You sure can’t afford to let it go to seed.”


David Skinner, Agronomist, CPS, Macon, Mississippi:

“This may be the prettiest crop we’ve ever had. We do have some dry areas, but it will all be good if we can get rain this week. Plant bug numbers are low. I’m seeing a few aphids. Any spider mites are in dry areas. Probably the biggest thing we’re doing now (7/3) is putting out Pix. Corn is into brown silk now and we’re 2 or maybe 3 weeks from black layer.”


Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist, Tifton, Georgia:

“This crop is rapidly progressing. We do have reports of the fungus attacking aphids in a few areas in southwest Georgia. So far, no reports of the fungus east of Interstate 75. Insects are quiet. Plant bugs are low, with just a few scattered fields being treated. That’s a normal pattern for us.


“Some cotton is setting bolls now (7/3) and I’ve talked with a consultant who is triggering stink but applications on a few fields planted in mid-April. It looks like this could be a stink bug year. I’ve been collecting corn earworms in corn and stink bug populations have ranged from moderate to high, depending on the location, so we need to be alert. If you have an issue, take care of it.



“We continue getting rain, which has created some challenges where anyone needs to apply herbicides or finish sidedressing. But we’ll take that in stride as long as we have rain.”


Ron Smith, Alabama Extension Entomologist:

“Last week was quiet and that continues this week. I’m not sure what’s happening with plant bugs because everything pointed to a surge of them as we moved into July. They grew 2 generations on the main wild host, daisy fleabane. By now, much of the fleabane is no longer a viable host, and you’d assume the plant bugs are in cotton. But adults aren’t there, based on what I’ve seen and what people are saying. One scout said he swept all day and could count the number of adult plant bugs he found on one hand.


“All that said, the cotton may be holding immatures that are harder to see when they’re small. Most people would miss them unless they knew exactly what to look for. In our plots at Prattville where cotton is just beginning to bloom, immature plant bugs are running 1 to 3 per 3 feet or row. The threshold is 1 per foot. These were small and hard to find.


“There may have been a hatch-out that we haven’t detected yet. If you’re using a drop cloth, it might be several days before they are evident. I’m occasionally hearing reports about aphids but they’re kind of sparse right now.”


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

“Cotton is moving along pretty fast. Mostly, thunderstorms developed when they were needed and we’ve had plenty of heat and sunshine to push the cotton along. Some cotton is to the point that it needs plant growth regulators if it hasn’t already been applied.


“We did hit a sweep-net threshold for plant bugs in our lygus trials. The count was 8 per 100 sweeps, which is the Midsouth threshold. That was in 2 entries in a test and we sprayed those. Again, the treatment was based strictly on those numbers. Retention was still high – 87% to roughly 90%. We’ll see now if plant bugs become established in there.”


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

“We need some rain just about everywhere. A lot of folks are reporting first blooms. We usually expect that around the first week of July. But due to the weather delays at planting, we also have some cotton that isn’t even squaring yet.


“Plant bugs are the big story. They’re not out of control and aren’t even widespread but they are around and are present in spots where we normally don’t find them. Most consultants I’ve talked with are keeping a pretty good handle on retention. In some cases, the sweep-net counts are 2X to 3X threshold but retention remains good.


“Whether anyone treats based on the sweep-net threshold really depends on how quickly they can react if retention begins slipping and they do need to treat. If they can react immediately, then you can perhaps hold off and see if any natural control develops. But if it takes several days to start spraying, then maybe you need to be more proactive. We have moved away from the adult migration into cotton and a big portion of the plant bugs now are immatures, and they are more vulnerable to beneficial activity.


“Sweep nets are good at sampling for immatures but not so much for adults. To get the best idea possible about plant bug activity, we recommend using all 3 methods – sweep nets, drop cloths and retention counts – if that’s possible.



“We’re seeing pretty poor aphid control in at least one area where neonic resistance has been observed. In one case, a neonic didn’t work on 600 acres. The consultant was kind of limited on what he could recommend because his first product choice wasn’t in stock locally. Let me add that he’s in about the worst spot in the state for neonic resistance.”


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

“Cotton looks good and we’ve had rainfall over the eastern side of the state. In fact, it’s raining right now (late afternoon, 7/3). Cotton ranges from 3 to 4 leaves all the way to blooming.


“We’ve had some issues with aphids. The aphid fungus was found in southwest Georgia but it’s hard to say when we might find it here. Soon, I hope. So far, I haven’t seen any fields with square retention under 95%.  With these timely rains, none of our cotton is under stress.”




Georgia Peanut Tour, Savannah, Sept. 18-20 7-2


Georgia Cotton: A Difficult Year for Pigweed Control 6-29


North Carolina Cotton: Transform Granted Emergency Permit For Tarnished Plant Bugs 7-3


North Carolina Cotton: Managing Plant Bugs in Blooming Fields 6-29


Tennessee Cotton: Managing Plant Bugs in Blooming Fields 7-4


Virginia Cotton: Extended Dry Period Expected 7-2 


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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