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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.




Bollworms remain a sporadic problem but are strangely absent in places. Stink bugs are the main player in parts of our coverage area. Plant bugs are in the mix on what sounds like a scattered basis.


Whitefly are turning up in small numbers in Georgia and South Carolina. Nothing has been reported at a treatment level and this seems almost incidental compared to the heavy pressure last year in Georgia and southeast Alabama. See comments by Phillip Roberts and Brandon Phillips.


Spider mites persist in southeast Alabama and in at least one area in Florida.


Heavy rains continue delaying applications through a wide part of the Southeast.




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

“It’s rained at least a little for 10 days in a row and over the last couple of weeks the totals have run 4 to 12 inches across this area.


“The moth flight seems to have been slow in developing, and maybe the rains are a factor. At times, rains have been heavy. By now, we usually have a pretty big flight, but it’s been really light (as of 7/31).


“The biggest thing right now is plant bugs, and I think they’re coming out of corn. We haven’t done much yet as far as treatments go but will probably have to spray before it’s over. You never really know what plant bugs will do but you also don’t want to take a chance.


“With all this rain, we hate to jump in with an aerial application. The way these rains keep coming, we might count on having an hour or two with dry conditions but that’s about it. We don’t want to spray and then see it rain right away and wash off the material. This weather is full of humid air and has been coming out of the south. Retention has been good up until this week but we’re seeing quite a bit of shed now, with small bolls coming off.


“Our corn is almost finished. Soybeans range from just coming up good to some with small pods and small seeds.


“We can’t be too picky about rains here in July, and this weather did more good than harm, but we could use a break right now.”


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

“Stink bugs are the main player right now (7/31). They’re hit and miss but we are finding bigger counts now around dried corn, and we’re spraying those.


“Target spot has started developing and we’re flying on a lot of fungicide. That began last week, and this week we’re pretty much applying them on a wide basis. We also have some fields with bacterial blight that’s progressing to the bolls. This seems to be the case across all the companies, both with target spot and bacterial blight.


“I’ve found whitefly in cotton in an area where they are almost predictable – near squash and watermelon acreage. I’m not freaking out. By this time last year, we had already sprayed whitefly at least twice. We’ve had plenty of rain with heavy wind, and that will beat them back some.


“Whitefly shouldn’t play a significant role in our May-planted cotton but 40% to 50% of our crop was planted in June, so there’s a chance they could be a factor in some later fields.


“The rain has been regular, with high humidity and hot temperatures when it isn’t raining, and that has likely pushed disease. Rainfall amounts have varied widely, from 3 or 4 tenths in certain spots on a given day and up to 2 or 3 inches in other locations that same day.


“These conditions have pushed growth. Even varieties that are typically easier to stop with a plant growth regulator are more problematic than in several years. The weather further complicated that. You may need to apply Pix but it requires 4 hours of dry weather after application. With all this rain and the risk of the application washing off, it may be 8 to 10 days before you can spray.


“We do have one heck of a crop set. Retention is there. My oldest cotton is probably in the sixth or seventh week of bloom, but the majority is in the first to third week.



“In peanuts, we started spraying this week for worms – a mix of velvetbean caterpillars, loopers and corn earworms. We’ve also been dealing with three-cornered alfalfa hoppers and leaf hoppers in places. Due to these weather conditions, we’ve tightened peanut fungicide intervals to 10 days and are watering them in because of white mold concerns.


“Corn harvest has just started. I’m hearing dryland yields going 130 to 150 bu/acre and irrigated in the 220- to 230-range. However, only a small number of acres have been harvested, so those are very preliminary numbers.”


Eddie McGriff, Regional Extension Agronomist, Centre, Alabama:

“Cotton is nicely bolled up – maybe 75% up the plant. We’re in a bollworm moth flight and scouting hard for them in 2-gene cotton, and we are finding some worms in places. Plus, we’re checking closely for stink bugs. Where we’re treating, it’s usually for both.


“Our earliest corn should be approaching black layer pretty soon. But with all the rain in April, we weren’t able to plant a lot of fields as soon as we’d like. Anything planted in the first part of May is probably 2.5 weeks out from black layer.


“In soybeans, we need to be looking for stink bugs, although beans have been relatively quiet. Most of what we are finding in soybeans and cotton are brown stink bugs. Southern green stink bugs don’t tolerate hard winters, so those numbers are down this year.”


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

“It’s been pretty wet, and it’s rained enough that plants may be drowning out in spots and it’s also been difficult to make sidedress applications. We’re seeing a few stink bugs around but nothing alarming. Most people are putting out their second shot of plant growth regulator plus boron. Except for a little cotton planted later, we’re pretty much past layby.


“Plants are carrying a pretty nice boll load – if we can just hold onto it. So far, we haven’t had the shed we’d normally expect. Over the last month, it’s rained 15 to 20 inches in places. Where you usually expect 3 or 4 tenths of an inch this time of the year, it’s rained 3 or 4 inches and it’s rained somewhere almost every day.


“In peanuts, we’re starting to see a little white mold and a little false white mold, and people are trying to tighten up their fungicide schedules.”


Ron Smith, Alabama Extension Entomologist:

“Worms continue to be light to nonexistent across the state, and we can’t explain that. Usually by now, we would expect at least some activity. In conventional cotton in Brewton and Fairhope, we found no worms. That was in sentinel plots in varieties with no traits, so you would expect to find worms if they were around at all.


“We had plenty of worm activity in corn earlier but aren’t sure where they went, although they may not be completely out of the picture. Moth trap counts dropped last week from the week before but have rebounded in places this week.


“Stink bugs continue to creep up on us, though. Keep in mind that stink bugs can inflict significant damage and that either stink bugs or plant bugs can get ahead of you if you’re not scouting. Beneficials really don’t affect those species, so you can’t count on them carrying you to harvest. The farther we go into the season, the more they can build, and stink bugs are more the factor in Alabama than plant bugs.


“People in southeast Alabama are still calling about spider mites. They haven’t gone away, although everyone assumes that all the rain lately would have taken them out. Rain suppresses them and gives you a false sense of security, but spider mites won’t go away. Years ago, that seemed to be the case, but that’s not how they operate now. And we also associated spider mites with dry weather, but they seem to hang with us now through everything, including wet conditions.”


Ethan Carter, Regional Crop IPM, Marianna, Florida:

“We’ve had several outbreaks of spider mites over the last couple of weeks on the west side of the county and some applications have been made. I think one more grower is on the fringe of needing to treat but is hoping that rain will take care of them. From what we’ve seen this year, he may need to spray before it’s over with.


“So far, mites aren’t in peanuts. We are finding some foliage feeders in peanuts but not enough to worry about. We’ve had rain lately. Unfortunately, it’s been more in town than where it would benefit farmers. In places, it’s only rained a tenth of an inch in the last 10 days.”


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

“It seems to be raining somewhere every day, and this weather is interfering with inputs – final weed control, plant growth regulator applications and pest spraying. But where we have sandy soils, it’s been possible in a lot of cases to get in the field again the next day.


“Some cotton definitely is in need of a stink bug treatment. So far, I don’t know of any situations where growers would need to spray specifically for bollworms. If pyrethroids are still working on bollworms, these stink bug applications should give acceptable control on escaped worms.


“We do have moth activity in the field today (7/31). In the Pee Dee, I saw a couple of bollworms in MG VII soybeans that were just blooming. A lot of stink bug species were in beans where I was checking, but the mix also included the spined soldier bug (SSB), which is a predatory stink bug. I saw them on drop cloths and also noticed them eating green clover worms.



“The SSB can be easily mistaken for a brown stink bug. They’re somewhat thinner and have the typical muscular jaws that are characteristic of predatory bugs. You can flip them over and see that. It’s really worth your time to go on line and learn how to tell them apart from brown stink bugs. They are a great predator and you don’t want to spray them if it isn’t necessary.


“I saw some silverleaf whitefly in cotton today in the Pee Dee. They were nowhere near infestation levels but were definitely in the field. On the other hand, aphids are pretty much done.”


David Skinner, Agronomist, CPS, Macon, Mississippi:

“We have a big crop in Noxubee County and need another rain or two. Cotton ranges from 2 to 5 NAWF. Rain is in the forecast (as of 7/31) for 2 or 3 days and that would really help top off this crop. A little of our early dryland cotton isn’t in great shape. It got rain too late and has bloomed out the top. Maybe it has enough bolls that it will pay for itself. Much of our dryland crop, though, does look good.


“Plant bugs are kind of coming back but just in small areas, maybe 30 acres here and 100 acres there. Treatments have been necessary in about 300 acres, I think.


“Stink bugs are practically nonexistent. I’ve probably seen no more than 10 stink bugs so far this season. Last year, they were tearing us up. We had one flush of bollworm moths and treated once with diamides. Eggs were running 30% to 50%. They haven’t come back.


“The first guy started harvesting corn yesterday. Moisture was running 17% to 18%, but he has a drier. In 10 days, we should see corn harvest going on a wider basis.”


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

“It’s been raining every day, and in this part of the state your location almost doesn’t matter. However, the farther west you go, the less it has rained.


“In cotton, people are trying to apply plant growth regulators as the weather permits and cotton is just shooting upwards with these conditions. Insecticide sprays are going out, again as conditions allow. Fortunately, a lot of aphids eased up due to the fungus.


“We have stink bug concerns this time of the year and plant bugs are around but mostly laying low. With bollworms, it appears that we’re exiting a moth flight in the southern part of the state. Nothing crazy developed but some fields were set up for treatments. But consultants are finding them now in the central and northern parts of the state. Again, though no crazy numbers are being reported. In some of my 2-gene plots, bollworm survival looked good, even though egg numbers were relatively low.”


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

“A lot of our cotton is now at 3 NAWF and it’s finishing strong. We have a really nice load on this crop. A big portion of our acreage received showers this week and the rest needs a rain. I feel like we’ve made our last Pix application and plants seem to be in good shape as far as growth management goes.


“We have not had an onslaught of bollworms in cotton or soybeans (as of 7/31) and we’re waiting to see if anything with bollworms does materialize. Scattered aphids developed but the fungus seems to have come into play where rain fell, plus we’re finding ladybug larvae in those fields.”


Andrew Sawyer, Extension Agent, Thomas County, Georgia:

“Our oldest cotton is in the third to fourth week of bloom. We’re scouting for worms and I’m seeing some plant bugs on younger cotton, but retention is good. We were dry last week but it’s raining again this week. Our youngest cotton isn’t squaring yet.


“We’re finding whitefly, just very low populations so far. Growers are not concerned. Whitefly are showing up spread out across the state, I’m told, and not just in the normal Tifton and Moultrie areas where they typically appear first.


“We are scouting for target spot in ranker cotton. Bacterial blight has turned up on some susceptible varieties. You can find a little of it in random fields, but I don’t know of any related defoliation.


“In peanuts, plenty of insects are in certain fields but no thresholds have been reached. Adult alfalfa leafhoppers and immatures are out but no damage to stems seems apparent. Potato leaf hopper burn is evident in many fields but under 10%. Worm counts are very low. White mold is starting but fungicide programs have already kicked into gear.”


Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist, Tifton, Georgia:

“Sporadic problems have developed with corn earworms (CEW) and stink bugs. This is nothing terrible or widespread but it does underscore the need to scout closely and treat as needed.



“During the last week, we started picking up extremely low numbers of adult whitefly. The key term there is ‘extremely low numbers’. Check for these, too. The presence of whitefly in a field should influence decisions about treating other pests, like stink bugs.


“That falls into two parts. First, treat other pests only if they exceed threshold, based on good scouting. Second, when you do spray, avoid products that flare whitefly. Let’s do everything possible to preserve beneficials and avoid causing problems.


“Extension agents and others have reported finding adults in multiple counties. So far, very few immature whitefly have been reported and I’m not aware of any fields approaching treatment levels. I posted an item on the web that goes into more detail about this.


“Let me emphasize that populations are much, much less than what we saw at this point last year. But we do have a lot of late-planted cotton and may have to deal with whitefly in that part of the crop as the season progresses. No outbreaks are going on and we sure don’t want to make bad decisions that trigger problems.” 




Virginia: Peanut Field Tour, Suffolk, Aug. 15   8-1


Cotton – Southwest – Weeds Not a Problem | Dryland Acres Gone Bare – AgFax   8-1


Georgia: Midville Field Day, Midville, Aug. 15   8-1


Alabama Cotton: Stink Bugs, Plant Bugs Overwhelm Beneficials   7-31


Georgia Peanuts: Insect Activity Picking Up   7-30


Georgia Cotton: 6 Tips for Managing Silverleaf Whitefly   7-30


Cotton: ARC and PLC Seed Cotton Signup Started   7-30


More Cotton News | 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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