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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 moths have become more apparent over the last week in parts of the Southeast. A few treatments have been made.
Stink bugs are active across a wider area and treatments are being made. We’re hearing more about brown stink bugs than any of the greens.
Aphids have crashed on a wider scale but still require treatments where the fungus has yet to appear.
Plant bug treatments continue, mainly in parts of the region where they made an early showing. However, we’re also hearing about immature plant bugs building in places where adults had been light.
Target spot is turning up on a limited basis. Austin Hagan, Auburn University Plant Pathologist, said the first confirmed target spot of the year in Alabama was found at the E.V. Smith Research Center and Plant Breeding Unit in nearly-lapped cotton. “Scattered showers and moderate temperatures, plus fast-growing cotton, are perfect for target spot development,” he noted in a tweet (connect to it in our Links section).
Billy McLawhorn, McLawhorn Crop Services, Inc., Cove City, North Carolina:
“The bulk of our cotton is in the first to third week of bloom, plus we have some cotton planted late due to all the water. It’s at 8 to 9 nodes. So, the crop is spread out.
“Plant bug pressure has been heavier than usual all along. They’re kind of persisting at aggravating levels. In places, we’ve been able to make a lot of clear treatment decisions but then in other cases we’ve found just enough to keep us unnerved.
“We’re getting into a little stink bug pressure and maybe are on the verge of a worm situation, based on finding moths now. It’s gotten very dry around here but rain chances over the next few days are promising – a 40% to 50% chance for several days (from 7/17) and an 80% chance over the weekend.
“Everything needs rain. With all the rain early in the season, root systems are shallow across most of our crops. It is amazing how fast cotton developed. Conditions were warm for a good while and some cotton planted in the last week of May is blooming. It probably went in around May 25 and a little was planted in June.
“People who had to plant late were caught by that pattern where a half-inch of rain would have been great but they got 3 inches instead – and that happened over and over.
“Corn yields this year will be highly variable. In parts of some fields, we can’t find an ear but then in other parts, it might average 100 bu/acre. And we also have dryland corn that could run 160 to 180. Some irrigated fields look fantastic, although we don’t have much of that.
“Soybeans range from V4 to probably R4 and some full-season beans weren’t planted until maybe the third week of June, again due to weather delays.”
John D. Beasley, South Georgia Crop Services, Inc., Screven, Georgia:
“My oldest cotton is coming into the fourth week of bloom, I think, and my youngest has 5 leaves. We started spraying stink bugs last week and then into this week. Aphids are in decline and are almost gone.
“I haven’t treated any escaped corn earworms yet but some fields are close. Also, the number of eggs I’m seeing isn’t correlating with the number of worms that seem to be slipping through. Typically, it takes a pretty big number of eggs to generate treatable levels of escapes. But so far, I haven’t seen the number of eggs it would take to generate the number of worms I’m finding now. I think we’re right on the front end of things in our part of the world.
“Stink bugs are worse than normal and I suspect that we’ll have a pretty good run of them, based on what I’ve seen in corn.
“Our peanut crop is spread out just like the cotton. The oldest peanuts are close to 80 days and the last fields are at 20 days.
“It was really wet until last week and then the rain turned off, plus tremendous heat set in. However, I think the heat did more good than harm. It turned things around and greened up everything. We do need rain now and the forecast over the next 3 to 5 days is very favorable. Anything we planted on time looks pretty good.”
Jeremy Greene, Clemson University Cotton Entomologist, Blackville, South Carolina:
“People are treating stink bugs now in some of the oldest cotton. Most of the actual stink bugs in corn are browns and that seems to be the case in this older cotton, too. People tell me that’s what they’re finding and I’ve seen the same thing in several fields away from the research center. No greens, just browns.
“Usually by now, we have detected some greens. With the browns, folks are going after them with bifenthrin since it’s one pyrethroid that has good activity on browns. That’s a good play if you’ve got spider mites because it could work on mites at the high rate, which is 6.4 ounces per acre.
“Our moth trap numbers for bollworms continue to climb. I’ve seen a few moths in the field, so we’ll need to be closely monitoring 2-gene cotton. The 3-gene varieties are probably okay, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t scout those fields.
“Aphids are still a problem in some areas and I had phone calls about that yesterday where the fungus still had not shown up and people felt like they needed to do something. We do have pockets where aphids are resistant or tolerant to neonics, depending on how you want to view it.
“You’ll still kill some but won’t control the number you want. In my trials where I encountered some tolerant populations, I controlled half of them, as opposed to something that would kill 90%. Some folks are trying imidacloprid but I also heard of one area where it did not appear to work well.”
Ron Smith, Alabama Extension Entomologist:
“We are keenly aware that Alabama is in the early window for escaped bollworms coming off corn and moving into cotton. But to my knowledge, no eggs or worms have materialized in any cotton (as of 7/17). However, we are seeing sharp increases in moth movement.
“High numbers of aphids have developed in scattered fields. Also, damaging levels of plant bugs have suddenly built in places. One scout said he saw hardly any plant bugs late last week but he found tons of them in certain fields early this week.
“I’m hearing reports about brown stink bugs in higher numbers in places. Also, spider mites have built to concerning numbers in numerous fields in southeast Alabama.”
Dominic Reisig, NCSU Extension Specialist, Entomology, Plymouth, North Carolina:
“Aphids are present in some pretty widely spread pockets. I have not laid my eyes on any fields that need to be treated, but pressure appears to be heavy in certain places that have gotten dry. Treatments have been going out, maybe more so than in the 9 years since I came here.
“We’re starting to pick up stink bugs and folks are triggering sprays in some of the earlier-planted cotton. Plant bugs have not gone away. I followed up on a couple of fields this week that needed to be sprayed. Generally, though, plant bugs have died down considerably.
“Mainly, I’m trying to steer people away from the broad-spectrum materials right now. With stink bugs, you’ll have to use bifenthrin or Bidrin if you’re going after brown stink bugs. Going with bifenthrin is probably the better choice in that case.”
Gary Swords, Swords Consulting, Arlington, Georgia:
“My cotton ranges from 5 weeks of bloom down to 3 leaves. Most of it, though, is somewhere between the first and the fourth week of bloom.
“Some stink bug sprays started in the second week of bloom and pressure was heavy in places. But damage levels in most of our cotton has been below 8%. A few worms are present but not enough to spray. Either our flight isn’t heavy or we’re still waiting for it to start. Aphids crashed last week.
“About 75% of our crop has been laid by. Where cotton was planted late, that was due to persistent rains. Admittedly, planting that late is pushing it and we’ll need a really late first frost.
“Our oldest cotton is setting up beautifully. It looks like it’s primed for a big shed but nothing like that has started. Maybe the humidity hasn’t been that bad. I do believe we have a full crop on that cotton that’s into the fifth week of bloom.
“A little corn harvest might start next week, based on what I’m hearing, but I think any of mine is 2 weeks out at the earliest. Rain continues, mostly on a highly localized basis. In places, 4 inches fell yesterday (7/17) but you don’t have to move far from that spot and it’s dry.”
Richard Davis, Davis Ag Consulting, Montgomery, Alabama:
“Not much is going on with insects. We observed very few plant bugs and never sprayed for any and hardly saw any square damage. Aphids got bad in spots but the disease took them out.
“The next thing to look for are stink bugs. I did see a few spider mites today (7/17) in a little area along the edge of a field. I am picking up a whitefly now and then but nothing to raise any concerns.
“I have been kicking up a few bollworm moths over the last couple of days but haven’t found any eggs. I think we’re on the front end of the moth flight. I haven’t done any spraying, so I’ve held onto beneficials, plus we have a lot of no-till cotton, which should be holding plenty of fire ants. At least right now, I don’t anticipate any immediate bollworm problems, although they could surprise me.
“We’re wet just about everywhere and are setting nearly every square. I’m excited about how this crop looks.”
Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist, Tifton, Georgia:
“We’re seeing some corn earworm (CEW) activity and a few fields have been treated, just in spotty areas. So, we definitely need to be scouting. Stink bugs are being sprayed on a spotty basis, too. In places, they are exceeding threshold. But if they’re not at threshold, fight the temptation to spray. We need to leave beneficials in the system to help us with CEW as it develops.
“Aphids have pretty much crashed everywhere. Cotton is rapidly progressing and it looks pretty good. Scattered showers are still happening.
“In soybeans, I saw a fair number of kudzu bugs in a field at the station today (7/18). We have an assortment of insects in soybeans, including stink bugs, soybean loopers and a few velvetbean caterpillars, but none are at threshold.”
Johnny Parker, Agronomist, Commonwealth Gin, Windsor, Virginia:
“People are finding what they think is resistant Palmer pigweed when, in fact, it’s large redroot pigweed that was dinged up by Liberty or a Liberty-Roundup tankmix. The application affected the pigweed but it did not die. Essentially, the Liberty burned the weed before the Roundup could kill it.
“These large redroot pigweeds are still susceptible to Roundup but the Liberty is antagonistic to the Roundup. A Roundup-only trip will take them out. However, make sure it is not Palmer.
“Our oldest cotton has been coming into the third week of bloom. I think this week we’ll move into a more significant risk period for insects in that first-planted cotton. We are watching closely for the development of the bollworm moth flight. The 3-gene Bt varieties will have a very low risk of worm damage, but we will still need to protect them from stink bugs and plant bugs for as long as bolls are susceptible.
“A lot of cotton planted during the first half of May started blooming the week of the Fourth of July. That means it will be at the third week of bloom next week, which is our traditional cleanup timing with bifenthrin. If you already made a bifenthrin spray, reevaluate for another spray whenever the moth flight starts or if it has been a couple of weeks since your last spray.”
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Alabama Cotton: Dealing with a ‘Split Crop’ 7-17
North Carolina Cotton: Complicated Pest Assortment, Tough Decisions, 7-17
Georgia Cotton: Scout ALL Fields for Corn Earworm 7-17
Alabama: Mid-Season Cotton Scout School, Insect Meeting, Centre, July 25 7-17
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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.
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