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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.
Plant bugs remain a concern in certain areas, especially in later planted cotton. Stink bug treatments continue, as well. Bollworm moths are more active in parts of the region, but it remains to be seen if the next generation poses much of a threat.
Whitefly treatments continue in Georgia. Whitefly numbers remain mostly light and rain is helping suppress adults, but the insect is more widespread than usual. See comments by Georgia’s Phillip Roberts.
Persistent rains are still a factor in parts of the region. Where bolls are cracking, that’s never a good thing.
John Burleson, Consultant, Swan Quarter, North Carolina:
“We’ve been getting rain but nothing like we were having. These are just popup showers, not big amounts. Some areas last week did receive 1 to 3 inches but those were situations where there was only a 30% to 40% chance. It’s been dry enough that growers were able to plant fall snap beans. They were tracking fields a little where corn harvest had started.
“With cotton, most of my acres are pretty close to being safe from insects. That’s probably 70% to 80% of my crop (as of 8/20). Where we still have cotton susceptible to plant bugs, it’s in later-planted fields or where we have ranker growth.
“We made a cleanup spray last week on most of that and also have been going in pretty heavily with Pix. Overall, this should be an early crop and it looks pretty good. We lost the middle crop due to stress from wet conditions. How much plants were affected has varied, but it’s a safe assumption that you don’t have a complete middle crop in most cases due to shed.
“Cotton still hasn’t shown as much stress from this year’s wet conditions as I’ve seen with corn and soybeans. Cotton has had plenty of heat and moisture and that brought it along. If fall conditions are with us, we can make that top crop.
“Corn yields are running 120 to 190 bu/acre, from what I’m hearing. That would all be dryland. Once it all shakes out, we probably will have a below-average year with corn. In soybeans, we’ve sprayed loopers and corn earworms in isolated spots. So far, though, this has been a light worm year in soybeans.”
Brad Smith, Crop Production Services, Selma, Alabama:
“It’s wet, although in August that’s okay. Rainfall amounts have varied. From Friday to today (8/20), some places received one or two tenths and other areas received 2.5 inches. That’s delaying corn harvest in places, although only a small amount had started.
“In cotton, some of our older bolls are cracking. I’ve found a small amount of areolate mildew and have treated a few acres. What we’re seeing is nothing like the pressure people in Georgia are reporting.
“We’re finding almost no worms in cotton anywhere, and we’re close to letting some cotton go. By the end of the week we probably will terminate insect management in a few fields.
“Treatments have been made in soybeans for foliage feeders. We have some extremely good dryland corn. Yields are running 170 bu/acre where people treated it right.”
Trey Bullock, Bullock's Ag Consulting, Hattiesburg, Mississippi:
“We’ve had a lot of rain over the last 5 or 6 days (from 8/20), with totals of 6-plus inches. It seems like it’s rained every day. That wouldn’t be so bad, but we’ve also had a lot of wind and some of this good, heavy cotton has laid over. I guess with all those bolls it had a good reason for that, but we sure need it to dry up.
“We let go of most of the cotton last week. I still have fields that are way late. Stink bugs are really light, and just isolated fields have required treatments. Plant bugs picked up and we hit a lot of the older cotton one more time last week.
“In terms of disease, we have all the target spot you would ever want and a bunch of areolate mildew. In most of our counties the areolate hasn’t hurt us, but this is the second year in a row we’ve taken a pounding from it in our cotton in Covington County. It has really picked on one field there, in particular.
“I’m finding it in a couple of other counties now but those bolls are 20% open, so that cotton is safe. Until last year, I had never really seen it. If I did, it was light and I didn’t think much about it. But last year, it came out of nowhere and hit that field in Covington County.
“This year, it showed up 2 to 3 weeks ago, and we’ve applied some fungicide tests to see what that does. The weird thing is that conditions in Covington County this year had gotten dry, about to the point it would hurt us. Cotton wasn’t burning up but we had gone 10 days without rain, yet the mildew was thriving. In 2017, conditions were much wetter. It rained over and over again.
“Our peanuts are really, really quiet and have been all year. We haven’t been dealing with a lot of disease pressure or insects. I’m seeing a little feeding this week, mainly from a few velvetbean caterpillars and green cloverworms. But on the whole, we’ve maybe treated 100 acres of peanuts all year for worms. Soybeans, on the other hand, are full of green cloverworms and have been for the past 2 weeks.”
Jack Royal, Royal’s Agricultural Consulting Co., Inc., Leary, Georgia:
“The weather is in about the same pattern we had during the spring – showers pretty much every afternoon. With all those weather delays early in the season, we have some late cotton that’s in the third week of bloom.
“With these showers, that late cotton is prospering. On the other hand, we have cotton into the eighth or ninth week of bloom. It’s cracking and we’re seeing boll rot. We need a period with dry, windy conditions.
“Worms eased off and we didn’t encounter any bad corn earworm problems, although moth activity increased last week and into the beginning of this week. With cotton at so many ages, we’re spraying around for stink bugs. Plant growth regulators also continue going out in that later cotton.
“I haven’t let any fields go yet but my oldest cotton – planted in April – is shutting down anyway. Some target spot is present. With our oldest cotton, it’s down in the lower portion of the canopy, which might knock off some leaves. That may be a good thing since it could improve air movement and reduce the chance for boll rot.
“Where later cotton is in the third week of bloom, we’ll apply fungicides since we have a short time left to set and make bolls, and we’ll need to protect the lower fruit. We do have optimal conditions for target spot. The farther south you go, the heavier it seems to be.
“Whitefly have turned up east of us but nothing has developed here that concerns me. The winter really nailed them and we don’t have any vegetables that might serve as a host.
“With as drawn out as cotton planting was, it’s almost like we have two years rolled into one.
“Peanuts mostly look good. With as wet as this year has been, we’ve tried to adhere to a strict fungicide schedule and use the right products. Where we’ve been able to stay on schedule, very little white mold has turned up. Most of my growers are on a high management program and they don’t want to see disease.
“Peanuts have been pegging well and the crop looks good. We may gather a few peanuts around September 20-25 but most harvest won’t get underway until October.
“We’d normally be through with corn harvest by now (8/20). But with showers every day, that hasn’t been possible. Growers might pull one or two loads out of a field and then it rains again. Stalks are going downhill with this weather. We’re supposed to have 3 or 4 days of open conditions, which is a positive point.
“We need to wrap up corn harvest this week. Yields are running 200-plus bu/acre. Better yields came earlier when the stalks were in better shape. Some are falling over. It’s nothing super bad but we’re still losing yield.”
Ron Smith, Alabama Extension Entomologist:
“Not much action in cotton this week unless you count boll rot, which is unfortunate. Rain started 4 or 5 days ago (from 8/21) and some areas received 5 inches, maybe more. I suspect that we’ve now had more boll damage due to rotting than due to worm damage. Fortunately, we have 2 or 3 days of dry weather ahead, which will help.
“In south Alabama, we’re still monitoring whitefly, but this wet weather isn’t conducive to whitefly development. At this point, young cotton in southeastern Alabama might still be vulnerable. With the rest of the state, the only concern is whether stink bugs will move out of older cotton and into younger fields.
“We are catching beaucoup corn earworm moths in traps, although I don’t know what crop they would go to now. At this point, it won’t be cotton. We’re also catching tons of soybean looper moths in traps. Nobody can get in the field right now if they did have to spray.”
Johnny Parker, Agronomist, Commonwealth Gin, Windsor, Virginia:
“In cotton that’s almost finished blooming, we’re finding a bunch of small bolls in the top and high plant bug numbers. These fields are a week from being safe but it looks like those bugs can damage a high percentage of small bolls.
“How much that affects yields depends on the number of bugs and how many bolls are in the top. I would say it takes 2 or 3 of those top bolls per plant to make 100 pounds of cotton. If you have that many or more, then it’s worth protecting if the bugs are present.
“Another key factor this year is that we are getting less residual activity out of bifenthrin. That’s due to the rain. As soon as it rains, the bugs start building again, it appears. They’re hitting threshold in less than a week in certain cases. Half of these later fields are at or above threshold where I’ve checked. If cotton was planted later in May or into June, then the fields will be susceptible for a few more weeks.
Jeremy Greene, Clemson University Cotton Entomologist, Blackville, South Carolina:
“We’ve been getting rain every day or two for a while. But rains stopped a couple of days ago (from 8/21) and things began drying down here. Cotton is moving along.
“Bollworm eggs are still being laid in cotton and pheromone trap numbers will be going up. So, we could still see bollworm pressure in later planted cotton. We have found pretty high egg counts on some cotton this week. We saw damage in two-gene cotton but even some three-gene cotton sustained a little worm damage, although nothing at crazy levels.
“Stink bug pressure is high in both cotton and soybeans, so things are happening with that. In sampling some of our untreated plots, 90% of the bolls had stink bug damage. If stink bugs aren’t properly managed, this can get out of hand. In certain years, you can lose several hundred pounds of yield like that – and this is one of those years.
“We’re still in August, which is our stink-bug month. Everyone has gotten much better at assessing stink bugs and they’re on top of this, I think.
“In soybeans today (8/21), I had no trouble collecting 300 loopers, so they’re out there. The same goes for most other soybean insects. In untreated beans, I’ve been finding velvetbean caterpillars, green cloverworms, podworms, silver-spotted skippers, saltmarsh caterpillars, armyworms, plus stink bugs and kudzu bugs.
“Applications are going out. If they’re not, I hope it’s because people scouted and didn’t find threshold numbers. But in untreated plots, defoliation was above threshold with that kind of insect combination.”
Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist, Tifton, Georgia:
“Cotton is still progressing and it’s still raining in Georgia. We have plenty of moisture but we need sunshine.
“Everyone is watching whitefly closely and a small percentage of our acres have been sprayed. But the rain is really suppressing the adults. In terms of acres treated for whitefly, we’re below average but they are present on a higher-than-normal number of acres. They’re pretty much distributed across the state in low numbers.
“Keep in mind that they do better in dry conditions. So, if we go 10 days without rain, whitefly numbers can jump. I think we’re already seeing whitefly concentrating more on the later planted cotton. Numbers are lower in cotton planted in April and early May. That cotton doesn’t appeal to them and their migrating to cotton planted later than that.
“Considering that a big part of our cotton this year was planted later, we still have a way to go. We’ll have to watch whitefly into October in later fields. With this insect, plenty can happen in 6 weeks.
“Stink bug treatments continue. Corn earworms are a sporadic problem.
“In soybeans, we’re seeing the typical things – velvetbean caterpillars, soybean loopers and stink bugs. Overall, not a lot of soybeans have been sprayed for any of those but we do have problem fields here and there.”
Dominic Reisig, NCSU Extension Specialist, Entomology, Plymouth, North Carolina:
“Another flight of bollworm moths is starting but most of our cotton is safe. How much of a factor they’ll be in later cotton is an open question. Often, larvae from this fourth flight reach about the second instar and then peter out.
“It’s actually the biggest generation in terms of numbers, with tons of moths in late August and early September, but it doesn’t establish much in the field. Some studies suggest that a small portion of those insects start overwintering.
“The big problem right now is plant bugs. They’ve come in at full force in some areas.
“Loopers have been building in soybeans and some fields are being sprayed. I’m hearing about a limited amount of respraying. That may be because the wrong chemical was used the first time. Keep in mind, too, that loopers tend to start in the bottom of the plant, so they’re harder to reach. A consultant did send a photo of a looper with the looper fungus on it, so look for signs of that as you scout.”
Cotton – Southwest – Stink Bugs Won’t Quit | Kansas Record Setter? – AgFax 8-22
Georgia: Cotton, Peanut Research Field Day, Tifton, Sept, 5 8-22
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