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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.
Whitefly continues to be a concern in Georgia and Alabama. See comments by Phillip Roberts, Brandon Dillard and Ron Smith.
Persistent rains have been a fact of life through much of our coverage area this season and these weather patterns remain in place in parts of the Southeast. That has delayed all manner of applications and raised the risk of target spot and other diseases.
Areolate mildew is turning up earlier than usual on Alabama cotton in the southern part of the state. In our Links section, connect to a tweet with a photograph posted by Austin Hagan, Auburn University Extension Plant Pathologist. Areolate had already been found in Georgia this year, Hagan reported. It can cause premature defoliation. Fungicide applications for target spot also have activity on the disease, AKA grey mildew.
Soybean loopers have appeared on the early side in some areas. They may not be the main player in beans yet but our contacts – in both the Southeast and Midsouth – say that numbers will likely build over the next couple of weeks.
Chad Savery, Anchor Ag Solutions LLC, Fairhope, Alabama:
“Cotton insects are still fairly light. We’ve sprayed a few stink bugs and also treated a few worm breakthroughs on dual-gene cotton. Plant bugs have been pretty light, too, although we’re now finding some populations of immatures.
“We put out one automatic application for target spot and then we’ll see how long that holds us. When we see it moving up the plant, we treat again. We had this wide range of planting dates and delays due to the weather, so our crop ranges from the first week of bloom to the sixth week of bloom.
“In peanuts, we’re seeing a little white mold and a bit of leaf spot. A few worms and three-cornered alfalfa hoppers are around, too.”
Wes Briggs, Briggs Crop Services, Inc., Bainbridge, Georgia:
“The rain continues, and we’re about to the point we’ll start scouting in a kayak. Over the last 4 weeks, we’ve had a lot more rainy days than what you’d call sunny days. We’re getting into our first week of open bolls on our oldest cotton and really need dry conditions. We’re trying to set those last bolls on top but some of that fruit is aborting with these conditions.
“The weather is complicating everything. Target spot absolutely blew up in the last 10 days and we’re 100% wrapped up with it, regardless of variety and almost regardless of age. We began putting out fungicide 2 weeks ago. Wherever treatments haven’t been made yet, those fungicides are in the plane now (8/7) or sitting on the pad at the airport waiting to be sprayed. A tremendous amount of Pix also is going out as weather permits.
“Everyone is 7 to 8 days behind on spraying, whether it’s by air or ground, and people are doing all they can to catch up. Everything, in fact, has been running at least a little behind for the last month – it’s rained that much.
“Last week, we saw some of the highest numbers of plant bugs we’ve had all year, even in places where we applied insecticides 3 weeks in a row. It was very surprising how high plant bug numbers were behind sprays on some farms. We’re going after multiple pests on a wide basis – plant bugs, some corn earworm escapes, maybe some green stink bugs.
“With peanuts, we can find leaf spot in every field but we’ve been able to control it pretty well in these conditions. White mold has really jumped on some fields in the last few days and we’re changing up fungicide programs to address some of that. Guys with the better fungicide programs aren’t seeing any white mold. Where growers went with less expensive options, white mold really jumped on peanuts this year.
“Growers have been shelling corn where the weather allows, but we would be over 50% finished if it had been drier.”
Tyler Sandlin, Extension Crop Specialist, North Alabama, Belle Mina:
“The cotton crop in this part of Alabama still has good potential, although conditions vary. A fair amount of the crop east of Interstate 65 has caught good rainfall and potential looks excellent. That’s particularly the case as you move east from the interstate.
“But the crop definitely needs rain the closer you are to I-65 and the farther west you move from it. Potential is still there and plants set bolls early, but that part of the crop needs rain and in a hurry. It has gotten quite dry through there in the last 3 weeks. We were slated for widespread rain in those counties but the forecast didn’t work out.
“Having said that, the near-term forecast calls for rain in the second half of this week. That looks promising and the rain – if it falls – will go a long way. However, in a few pockets it’s been dry enough that plants are pretty well done and blooming out the top.
“Pests are relatively quiet. Everyone was on high alert for bollworms but they’ve been light. You can find an egg or a worm here and there but treatments were only triggered in a few fields – nothing like what we dealt with last year. We seem to have gotten activity out of the dual-gene cotton.
“Where growers did treat, the pyrethroids held up well where the timing was right. Some people did go with diamides where they had treatable levels but that seemed to only be on a handful of fields. But, I did receive a couple of reports today (8/7) of applications being triggered, which makes me wonder if we’ll see some bollworm numbers develop later. A few applications have gone out to clean up additional stink bugs and plant bugs.
“Corn is pretty well finished and a lot is at black layer. The early soybeans are nearing the end. Our doublecrop beans have been dry for some time and could really use a rain.”
Jeremy Greene, Clemson University Cotton Entomologist, Blackville, South Carolina:
“Cotton is moving along pretty quick. It is raining just about every day. With insects, stink bugs are present. Any treatments being made in cotton right now are for stink bugs or any escaped worms.
“We are on the downward slope of the current bollworm flight right now (8/7) and the next flight should be in the next week or so. It’s raining too much to expect problems with mites, and plant bugs aren’t an issue now.
“We had a scouting workshop and I saw plenty of small soybean loopers in untreated soybeans. I’ve actually noticed soybean looper moths in cotton, so we know they’re out there. Green clover worms are present, too, and I’ve come across a few velvetbean caterpillars, so the migratory species are with us now. Soybean loopers look like they could be with us for the next few weeks.”
Brandon Dillard, Regional Agronomist, Geneva, Alabama:
“Our oldest cotton has a good boll set in the bottom and is squaring and blooming on top. We’re not many days away from having the crop made in fields planted on or before May 10. With the rest of it, planting drug out due to rain, but our later cotton is squaring up and blooming really well and has just begun setting bolls. It looks really good, too, but we’ll need the right kind of fall to fully finish it out.
“Some stink bug sprays are going out. We’re mostly finding brown stink bugs with a few greens in the mix. Worm pressure seems pretty low right now, especially considering the escapes we saw in dual-gene cotton in the last couple of years.
“We’re starting to see a little whitefly, although they’re not blowing up like last year and nothing I’ve found so far is at threshold. By comparison, some guys were planning their second whitefly application at this point last year. I did look at some local produce fields where the crop already had been harvested, and they were loaded with whitefly. These were fields where rain has kept farmers from pulling tomato stakes and drip lines and then plowing under what was left.
“Overall, this is one of the best cotton crops I can ever remember for this point in the season, even going back to 2012 when we had good prices and good yields. Having said that, a higher percentage of this year’s cotton was planted late and we’ll need rain in September to bring it along. Historically, we tend not to get much rain then.
“Some areolate mildew turned up at the research station (Wiregrass) and they found some target spot, too. I haven’t seen any target spot that’s really, really bad. Having said that, rain held us back from applying Pix on older cotton when it need to go out. So, losing some lower leaves on tall, rank cotton would promote air movement through the plant and maybe help hold some of those bolls that might otherwise be lost.
“In peanuts, warm weather and plenty of moisture have made for good white mold conditions. Guys are spraying and I haven’t seen a lot of white mold hits yet. A lot of worms have built in places, plus we’re finding grasshoppers in peanuts, and some insecticides are going out with fungicides.
“Corn harvest has kicked off and we have really good dryland potential in places. Where guys took care of it and pushed the crop along, some dryland yields could reach 200 bu/acre.”
Kyle Skinner, Skinner Ag, Starkville, Mississippi:
“Most of our cotton is at zero to 3 NAWF. With this heat, things are winding down quickly. We’re set up to have a lot of yields at 2.5 bales or higher, including in several dryland fields. That’s based on my boll counts and what I’ve seen in the past.
“Certain dryland fields might even finish with a 3-bale average. That cotton never missed rain and came along like it was irrigated. If it remains hot through August, we could be ready to launch our first defoliation spray on September 5.
“Where we’re treating, it’s for scattered stink bugs and plant bugs that are right at threshold. We’re using acephate. This isn’t anything on a wide basis, mainly where corn has been cut or it’s dried down.
“A couple of people started cutting corn. They didn’t tell me any yields but said they were extremely happy.”
Ron Smith, Alabama Extension Entomologist:
“Late last week we started finding whitefly just like they’ve reported in parts of Georgia and South Carolina. Whitefly turned up in our Wiregrass region in southeast Alabama, which is where we had them last year, too.
“Our oldest cotton will probably reach maturity before whitefly hit a damaging level. However, I am concerned about our late-planted cotton, which we have a lot of this year. We’ll play it by ear as this situation evolves. I’m not sure what effect scattered showers have had on whitefly, since it fares better in more arid climates.
“Stink bug treatments continue as they have for the last 2 weeks, and we’re trying to clean up bugs pretty much throughout the state. A lot of cotton wasn’t sprayed this year until the last 2 weeks, in fact. Up until the last few days, treatments have been aimed mainly at brown stink bugs, although it looks like green stink bug numbers are coming along now (8/7).
“Until the last 10 days, in fact, I haven’t seen any greens. But in north Alabama, the number of browns is declining and greens are increasing. We’ve seen this same trend in the last 2 years, with a shift from brown to green in late July. Off hand, I can’t explain why that’s happened for 3 straight years.
“Cotton is maturing out pretty fast where it was planted before May 10. Nothing has turned up on a widespread basis in terms of worm escapes. Low levels of worms are present in a lot of fields and people have been applying pyrethroids for stink bugs, with the idea that the treatment would help with worm escapes, too.
“In soybeans, we’ve found sub-threshold levels of green clover worms (GCW) at 2 research farms in the lower part of the state – Brewton and Fairhope. We’re finding more GCW than loopers, but it’s just a matter of time – maybe in 2 weeks – before looper numbers build to treatment levels.”
Dominic Reisig, NCSU Extension Specialist, Entomology, Plymouth, North Carolina:
“Things have been drying out after this long period of rain. Some people are able to get in the field again while others are making applications by air.
“With cotton, people are talking about spotty situations with a range of things, but nothing big. Bollworm infestations have been spotty and folks seem satisfied with control where they did treat. Bollworms have been funny this year. Plenty were present in corn but they haven’t mattered much in cotton.
“However, soybeans that are flowering are at risk for corn earworms. People have been reporting them in soybeans for a couple of weeks but no big flush has turned up. More bean leaf beetle activity than usual seems to have stirred up. The main thing in beans right now would be soybean loopers. We seem to have more of them than usual for this point in the year. Typically, we have trouble with them 3 weeks from now.”
Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist, Tifton, Georgia:
“Probably the most common insect we’re treating is the stink bug, and that’s the pattern we’ve been in for the last couple of weeks. Overall, we’re not having a bad year with them. The numbers are just kind of variable, depending on the location.
“Corn earworm numbers are very sporadic – nothing widespread but some fields are being treated and rightfully so.
“The main thing this week is that people are picking up some whitefly. I’ve only heard of one field being treated so far (8/7) and that was a location surrounded by melons. We need to manage our total insect program to conserve beneficials to the extent possible and avoid flaring whitefly.
“Scout closely for whitefly and be timely if they do hit threshold. You can’t play catchup with whitefly. We treat on immatures when 50% of the sampled leaves have them. Our guidelines are simple – sample the fifth leaf below the terminal for those immatures.
“Nothing major is happening in soybeans. Depending on the field, you might find stink bugs, kudzu bugs, soybean loopers, velvetbean caterpillars or some combination of those. Treatments have been made here and there. With any of this, soybean loopers will be the driver pest when choosing insecticides. Properly ID what you’re finding and go by thresholds.”
Zach Ingrum, Sanders, Inc., Athens, Alabama:
“Cotton is getting close to cutting out. We’re spraying in places for stink bugs and plant bugs and also treating for bollworms in isolated spots.
“Spider mites are around but just a handful of acres have required treatments, maybe 5% of our cotton. For our part of Alabama, they’ve actually been on the low side this year. Plenty of rain early on may have helped minimize them.
“We’re probably 2 weeks away from the earliest corn harvest. Yield potential looks to be a little better than average. In soybeans, we’re spraying isolated areas for loopers and green cloverworms. We’re not in a drought yet but could use a rain, and showers are in the forecast over the next couple of days (from 8/7).”
Michael Mulvaney, Cropping Systems Specialist, University of Florida, Western Panhandle:
“Cotton around here ranges from knee high to plants over your head.
“I’m noticing more skip-row cotton this year than in the 4 years since I moved here. The pattern is 2 planted rows and then a skip. Where they’re moving to skip-row planting, growers have been reconfiguring equipment for 30-inch row spacings instead of the regular 36.
“With some of these newer ‘stovepipe’ varieties that grow really erect, that might work out pretty well. From a disease management standpoint, this opens the canopy more. While we don’t have data about this, it stands to reason that skip rows should help reduce target spot pressure.
“With the earlier cotton, people have been going heavy on Pix to keep it down and hold onto bolls. So far, no big retention issues have developed, although we still have plenty of season left. We are starting to see some target spot and defoliation in earlier planted cotton where canopies have closed.
“For guys who planted later due to weather delays, we already have this early warning about target spot, so they should consider a preventive fungicide application at first bloom.”
Cotton – Southwest – Water Choices | Coastal Bend Harvest | Bollworms – AgFax 8-8
Georgia Weeds: 6 Possible Reasons for Failed Grass Control 8-7
Farmers Turn Negative: Weak Prices, Trade War – Ag Barometer 8-7
Palmer Pigweed: Increased Resistance Doesn’t Reduce Plant Fitness 8-7
Georgia Cotton: When Should You Terminate PGR Applications? 8-6
Alabama Peanuts: Snails and Slugs in Fields – Any Options 8-6
Alabama Cotton: Areolate Mildew – From Austin Hagan
Georgia: Midville Field Day, Midville, Aug. 15
Virginia: Peanut Field Tour, Suffolk, Aug. 15
North Carolina: Southwest Piedmont Corn and Soybean Field Day, Shelby, Aug. 18
More Cotton News | More Peanut News
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