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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.
LAST ROUND FOR 2018
This issue wraps up our regular in-season coverage for 2018. Our thanks to:
SePRO and its Southern field staff for once again sponsoring AgFax Southeast Cotton and its companion report, AgFax Midsouth Cotton. This marks the company’s third year of helping us bring these reports to you.
Our contacts – the consultants, dealer personnel and Extension workers – who take time each week to fill us in on what they’re seeing in the field. We are grateful to them for their patience, knowledge and willingness to share information with the broader community.
IN THE MEANTIME
Our cotton coverage doesn't stop in September. Every weeknight, we distribute AgFax Cotton After Hours, an update on that day’s cotton news, field reports, market activity and production recommendations from Extension personnel.
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Hurricane Florence was pressing toward the Carolinas as we closed this issue Wednesday afternoon. As things look now, the crop will be affected by rain, wind or both. Flooding seems likely in places. The results will not be pretty.
A limited amount of defoliation started early in the month but that has mostly been put on hold due to rainy weather. Florence has further delayed applications.
Whitefly treatments continue in Georgia and a limited number of acres have also been sprayed in southeast Alabama. Pressure is nothing like what people contended with in 2017 and whitefly-specific chemistry seems to be available. See comments by Phillip Roberts.
Billy McLawhorn, McLawhorn Crop Services, Inc., Cove City, North Carolina:
“Cotton is opening to the point that we would be making defoliation decisions on some of it pretty soon if not for the weather. If conditions had been pretty and the forecast looked clear, we probably would be starting now on a few acres. However, a lot of cotton was planted late, so we still don’t have many fields that are far enough along for defoliation.
“We’ve been finishing up a bit of bug and worm treatments on the last little bit of late cotton that was planted in the first week of June. We’ve been evaluating plant bugs and stink bugs in those fields and even bollworms. At this point, we’re not really treating much, just scouting to make sure we’re okay.
“Obviously, we hope the weatherman is wrong with where (Hurricane) Florence is heading but the bullseye (as of 9/10) seems to be on this neighborhood.
“Soybeans range from R4 to R7. If the weather had been pretty this week, we probably would be desiccating a few of the MGIV fields. A high proportion of the crop is between R6 and R7. Most of the soybeans look pretty good but they have gone through a lot of erratic weather. It was super-wet early and then we went into drought.
“Then between July 22 and mid-August, at least 25 inches of rain fell in places. This wasn’t a situation where 2 or 3 huge storms came through, just a bunch of intermediate rains. Even with all that, we have decent potential with a lot of our crops and in certain areas the yield potential looks really nice.
“Most of our corn is out but everything else – sweet potatoes, peanuts, soybeans and cotton – are still in the field. We’ve been extremely fortunate over the last 20 years with hurricane damage. Bad storms hit certain neighborhoods and we’ve had several threats of huge, severe storms. Fortunately, most of those systems stayed in the Atlantic or dissipated before they hit. We’ll see what happens with Florence.”
Jeremy Greene, Clemson University Cotton Entomologist, Blackville, South Carolina:
“A good bit of cotton is open. I actually have a little early-planted cotton that’s ready for defoliation. With a lot of my latest-planted cotton, bolls are cracking at the bottom, so it’s rapidly moving that way.
“It’s been raining off and on today (9/10). At least right now, the models show the hurricane (Florence) making landfall in North Carolina. How much South Carolina will be affected is an open question.
“In soybeans last week, we found various insect species but nothing out of control. It’s interesting that more kudzu bugs are turning up than in recent years. But despite all the rain this season, very little fungus has been evident on kudzu bugs, although this is just about the time the fungus typically develops.”
Richard Davis, Davis Ag Consulting, Montgomery, Alabama:
“We’re almost to the point of starting a little defoliation. We might do 100 acres this week. With most fields, we can still find too many green bolls to start yet, so we’ll wait another week and take another hard look.
“We did spray for aphids last week in a very young field of cotton. The grower had trouble getting wheat cut, so that cotton wasn’t planted until late June.
“We’re getting little showers here and there and some areas around Montgomery got rains last night (9/10). So far, rain hasn’t been an issue. I’m seeing hardly any boll rot and haven’t found much hard lock. Where cotton is opening now, it looks pretty good.”
Ron Smith, Alabama Extension Entomologist:
“Whitefly remain a concern in southeast Alabama in younger cotton. I was told that a whitefly treatment went out in the extreme southeastern corner of the state where Alabama, Florida and Georgia meet. In terms of whitefly, that’s kind of our ground zero every year. Otherwise, insects are behind us in cotton.
“The weather lately has been too wet to promote boll opening, and we sure need dry, sunny conditions. A big part of the state hasn’t had the right conditions lately for defoliation, anyway. You need a couple of dry, sunny days after the application, but enough rain has been falling to keep that on hold.
“In soybeans, velvetbean caterpillars could still be an issue, although they probably won’t amount to anything except in the latest-planted beans. Loopers kind of cycled out in the field, but we’re still catching plenty of moths.
“A lot of stink bugs are in soybeans now and most of them are brown. But unless you’re dealing with redbanded stink bugs, the bulk of the crop is probably past the point that stink bugs will matter. Anything still at risk would be wheat beans or any fields planted late, and that may be the case more in the southern part of Alabama.”
Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist, Tifton, Georgia:
“Some defoliation started on April-planted cotton. As we move into next week, defoliation should pick up a little steam, weather permitting. We’re right at the front end of it.
“Insects at this point are pretty much limited to stink bugs and whitefly, primarily in cotton planted in June. That’s expected, of course, since bugs move into those last green and lush fields. A few people called about corn earworms in late cotton. That’s kind of unusual for us at this point, but it does underscore the need to continue scouting.
“With whitefly, we have populations – in very low numbers – in most cotton fields across the state. Treatments are being made but still not on the scale we saw last year.
“With whitefly, we need to keep their life cycle in mind. In Georgia, we cultivate crops 12 months a year. With cotton and all of our seasonal vegetable plantings, we always have a host that will support and promote whitefly populations.
“The dynamics of whitefly are all very much interconnected, so it’s not a vegetable issue or a cotton issue or a melon issue. Everyone needs to be diligent about minimizing the populations that make it into the next crop.
“The longer cotton remains in the field, the more whitefly can potentially build, and those populations will move into fall vegetable crops and then into winter vegetables. Letting them build too long in cotton only adds to the pressure that cascades through the vegetable plantings. Indirectly, you’re generating a bigger carryover into next year’s cotton if you delay harvest this fall.
“You need to harvest cotton on a timely basis anyway to minimize exposure of open lint to whitefly honeydew. That’s one of several reasons it pays to pick as early as you can. But whitefly have become a wider issue in the last couple of years, so reducing post-harvest populations in cotton has to be a priority in and of itself.
“In soybeans, we’ve seen kind of an uptick in velvetbean caterpillars. They can aggressively feed, so scout closely, especially in fields where Dimilin wasn’t applied earlier. Soybeans also are about the only game in town now for stink bugs and a few are being sprayed here and there.”
Gary Swords, Swords Consulting, Arlington, Georgia:
“We’re getting into a little drier weather pattern now but still need some of this humidity to move away to prevent any more rotting in older cotton. Our cotton was planted in 2 waves and bolls are just beginning to open in that second wave.
“It actually looks like the hurricane (Florence) will pull moisture away from this area and put us in a drier pattern, which is exactly what we need. Everyone would just as soon finish this crop with irrigation systems, and that’s been the case for several weeks.
“We’ll probably defoliate some April cotton in 2 weeks, so we’re still a good month from any harvest – provided dry weather stays in place.
“It seems like something new comes along every year, and in 2018 that’s been areolate mildew. Until this year, we’ve never dealt with it. We’ve treated all the fields with a fungicide that haven’t already had an application. We sprayed a lot of cotton for target spot, and that didn’t get as bad, and now we’re coming back in places with a second fungicide shot to try to finish it out.
“With all the rain, we went a little earlier with fungicides, and Priaxor seemed to do a pretty good job.
“I’ve treated a handful of cotton fields for whitefly and we’re having to closely watch the later cotton. They’re not as bad as they were last year but we’re still having to stay on top of them. We were able to get Knack, the insect growth regulator, and it was a lot cheaper program than all the materials we had to apply last year. With Knack, you do have to treat on a preventive basis, so you make the call a little faster.
“A little corn is still left in wet spots. Overall, corn seemed to do about 15 bu/acre better that I thought it would, which is great, considering how cloudy the weather was this summer.
John D. Beasley, South Georgia Crop Services, Inc., Screven, Georgia:
“I had hoped to start a small amount of defoliation over the last week, but conditions weren’t right and the grower with that cotton had other things to do. Now (9/11) we’re holding off to see what the hurricane (Florence) does.
“In our later cotton, we sprayed a few whitefly last week and are still treating some stink bugs. That’s pretty much isolated in young cotton.
“In peanuts, we’re digging some end rows to get them out of the way and a couple of growers started into whole fields. One side of my area finally dried out and we’re actually watering some there. The other side is too wet to dig but it’s much, much drier than it has been.”
Mark Freeman, Extension Area Agronomist, East Georgia, Statesboro:
“A large part of Georgia has been wet but a portion of the state – especially in east Georgia – has been quite dry, to the point that irrigation is going full speed in places.
“We’re in a wait-and-see position with (Hurricane) Florence. One model now predicts that it could move south and west after making landfall, and that could affect this part of Georgia.
“The main thing we’re dealing with is areolate mildew. It has developed pretty much across the state and it’s pretty severe in some irrigated cotton. In places, it’s defoliating plants pretty quickly. We’re taking a common-sense approach in terms of whether to treat.
“Bob Kemerait (Extension Plant Pathologist) says that it’s probably worth the money to spray if cotton is 4 weeks or longer from defoliation and you can easily find the disease in the field. If you’re less than 4 weeks from defoliation, you may be okay without a fungicide.
“Some cotton is pretty close to defoliation in this part of Georgia. That would be the early-planted cotton. But we had a gap in planting due to rain, and the later fields aren’t close to being ready yet.
“One complication with defoliation has been a shortage of thidiazuron. I posted an advisory that covers several options and also some suggestions on stretching out the thidiazuron you can buy.”
Cotton – Southwest – Rain Halts Some Harvest | High Yields Anticipated – AgFax 9-12
Global Markets: Cotton – U.S. Drives Ag Export Growth in Southeast Asia 9-12
DTN Cotton Close: Market Recovers From Steep Decline 9-12
WASDE Cotton: Increased U.S. Production, Exports, Ending Stocks 9-12
Net Farm Income: 2018 Net Expected to be About Half of 2013 – Commentary 9-12
Virginia Cotton: Florence Tracking Away From Virginia, But Rainy Days Ahead 9-12
North Carolina Cotton: How Will Hurricane Florence Affect Defoliation? 9-10
Georgia Cotton: 7 Disease/Nematode Issues – Preparing For 2019 9-6
CORRECTION: Cotton: Auburn, Mississippi State Will Hold Joint Field Day, Sept. 11 NOT Sept. 13 9-8
Virginia Peanuts: Harvest Coming Sooner Than Expected 9-11
More Cotton News | More Peanut News
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