Here is this week's issue of AgFax Midsouth Cotton.
Our thanks to FMC Corporation and its Southern field staff for once again sponsoring our reports.
Owen Taylor, Editor
Spider mites continue to be the main pest in many areas. Even in parts of the region with otherwise low pest pressure, a few mite applications are still going out. Vern Crawford, a veteran pest control advisor in California, once observed that mites explode in hot, dry weather – particularly in moisture-stressed cotton – because they think “the world is coming to an end.” They respond, he said, by rapidly procreating to ensure the species survives. That’s one reason that irrigation and/or rain helps reduce populations, Crawford pointed out. For a more localized example of that concept, see comments by Tennessee’s Scott Stewart.
Aphids are still in the picture and are being treated in some combination with mites and/or plant bugs. No signs of the fungus. If you’re seeing fungus, please let us know.
Plant bugs are backing off in places, while treatments continue in other areas, especially in cotton near corn.
Bacterial blight has become more apparent in places. Arkansas consultant David Hydrick reported on Twitter this week that levels were particularly bad in one variety.
Dryland cotton continues to decline in rain-starved areas. Some locations were lucky enough to receive that ever-anticipated Fourth of July rain, but most showers seem to have been fairly isolated.
Sebe Brown, Northeast Louisiana Region Extension Entomologist: “Plant bugs remain a factor, especially coming out of corn, and we’re still seeing high numbers in the cotton-corn interface. Aphids are still around. I’m not hearing as many reports about mites, but treatments are going out for aphids and mites. Rain would help us quite a bit.”
David Skinner, CPS, Macon, Mississippi: “Fortunately, we’ve got a lot of irrigated cotton in Noxubee County, and it’s doing okay. With the dryland cotton, the next 7 to 10 days will be the telling point for how well it does, and that all depends on how much rain we get and when. It’s holding up right now (7/2).
“A few aphids are around and just light spider mites. The plant bugs are gone. With 2 farmers, we never found enough plant bugs in their cotton to spray. Where we’ve treated aphids, it was mainly dryland cotton and we needed to remove the stress. We applied Carbine, which has been excellent, so far. Typically, we might go a little longer before treating. But aphids were spreading and, considering how dry it’s been, we decided to knock them out.”
Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee: “We’re mainly dealing with spider mites and scattered plant bugs. Where cotton is a little greener and lusher, you can find a few more plant bugs, like under pivots where there’s some pretty good pressure. Everyplace else, people are fighting mites. Nothing is going on in terms of a bollworm flight. Stink bugs are just getting to the stage where we might find some.
“A good rain would make all the difference in the crop and also help tremendously with mites. We had a stink bug trial that we could only partly irrigate late last week. We came back today (7/2) to finish irrigating, and the mite populations had declined dramatically where we were able to run the water last week. We found 200 mites in sampled areas where the water didn’t make it compared to 20 where we irrigated good. Those were based on counts on 10 square inches of leaf area in each case. Control was actually as good or better with that irrigation as it’s been with some miticide applications in our current trials. Leaves that were all stippled up before the irrigation had recovered. It was an interesting change. Cotton that got the water was healthy and growing.”
Herbert Jones Jr., Ind. Consultant, Leland, Mississippi: “Bugs are light, relatively speaking. We’ve still had enough plant bugs that we needed to spray, and late last week we treated virtually all of our cotton. It’s into the third week of squaring and just starting to bloom. We were finding higher plant bug numbers next to corn. In those places we went with Centric plus Diamond and shifted to imidacloprid plus Diamond where we found lower numbers. Pix went in, too, where we had started watering.
“Every acre will be watered by the end of this week. No rain is in the forecast. I’m not seeing aphids or whitefly. I picked up my first bollworm moth and first egg today, and that’s been it for bollworms. We’ve had light worms in corn. We harvested sweet corn and out of 100 ears might have found two ears with worms.”
Barry L. Freeman, Extension Entomologist (Retired), Belle Mina, Alabama: "We got a little rain Sunday (7/1), but it was mostly isolated. Some humidity has come back, so there’s at least a chance of thundershowers all week. Dryland crops have suffered a lot from the drought and heat stress. Cotton is trying to hold on. But the older it is, the worse it’s been hurt. People seem to think the younger cotton still has full yield potential, but our older cotton has lost some. I got a lot of calls last week about spider mites, and some were being sprayed.”
Gary Wolfe, La-Ark Agricultural Consulting, Ida, Louisiana: “Plant bug adults and some immatures are still coming at us in a couple of places. But plant bugs are mostly slowing down. However, growers are close to cutting corn, and that will stir them up again. Along with plant bugs, we’ve got occasional aphids.
“I’m holding back on Diamond until immatures get bad. All I’m using right now is Athena. I started playing with Athena last year and am still learning how to fit it in. It’s got abamectin, so it’s going to work on whatever mites are out there, too. But abamectin also has some degree of activity on a lot of other pests, so that adds to the effect of the bifenthrin in it.
“I pretty much stayed with Athena last year until one farmer wanted to go with malathion ULV plus a pyrethroid, and at that point the aphids did blow up. This is hard plant bug country, but this has changed my approach. Between catching a little rain 2 weeks ago and irrigation, most of our cotton looks pretty good.”
Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist: "Aphids are still building in places and are requiring treatments in a few areas. Mites seem to be getting worse and worse, and a lot of treatments are going out. We’re backing off on the lower rates of abamectin from, say, 4 ounces/acre and going to 6 to 8 ounces. Plant bug numbers, on average, are still low, although they continue concentrating in cotton next to corn.”
Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist: “Spider mites are the big deal right now. They’ve blown up all over the state. Dry weather really triggered this explosion, especially over the last few days. We evaluated the regular miticides last week in a test and all seemed to be working okay. But, certainly, you need to catch infestations early and get out in front of them. You don't want to try to put out a fire once it starts. With this hot, dry weather, spider mites can blow up fast. You might see some faint signs, then go back in 3 days and find red leaves. And as long as it does stay dry, don’t expect this situation to go away on its own. Mites don’t work like that.
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“In spots, the plant bug activity is really high, mostly in cotton next to corn. As you move away from corn, they’re still in cotton but maybe barely at treatment levels. Aphids are beginning to build in a few spots. I’m not seeing anything really bad. We looked at some Transform today where we applied it on aphids, and it did a good job.”
David Hydrick, Hydrick’s Crop Consulting, Inc., Jonesboro, Arkansas: “We’re still treating plant bugs, but I think we’ve treated more for spider mites than plant bugs. Right now we’re staying with abamectin, which still seems to be doing a good job. Pix is going out where we’ve watered hard, and we’re watering everything we can. Irrigation has taken a priority to everything except mites. Cotton ranges from early blooming into mid bloom, with still a handful of fields not to bloom yet.”
John Raymond Bassie, Ind. Consultant, Bassie’s Agri Service, Cleveland, Mississippi: “This week, cotton insects are low, extremely low. I’ve got two moth traps I check, and since last Tuesday morning (6/26), I’ve caught one bollworm moth between the two traps. That’s the extent of our moth flight (as of 7/2). Plant bugs have been bad but have slowed down considerably now. As of tomorrow, it will be 8 days since I have lined up a plant bug application. Up until then, we have been treating. We made 3 treatments on one farm and 4 on another farm.”
Sam Atwell, Agronomy Specialist-Rice, University of Missouri, New Madrid, Missouri: “The challenge is to move enough water to the cotton during this drought and hot weather. In places, cotton could yield as high as we’ve ever seen where farmers planted early on good land and have sufficient water and pumping capacity. But we’ve also got places where farmers can’t keep up, and irrigated cotton is flowering on the shoulder near the top. All of our dryland crops are hurt, although cotton can recover to some extent if it rains. But it will have to start growing again. No major insect problems. Bacterial blight has been reported in part of the state, but there’s nothing we can do about that.”
Hank Jones, C&J Ag Consulting, Pioneer, Louisiana: “About three-quarters of our cotton is irrigated. Where it’s not irrigated but on ice cream soils, it’s holding up. A few spots around Rayville caught a half-inch to an inch of rain yesterday (7/2), but any rain right now is shortlived. Our last good rain was 3 weeks ago.
“We’re spraying maybe one field a day for spider mites. I’ve been consulting for 10 years, and this has been the most uneventful season, pest-wise, that I’ve seen, especially after spraying worms so much in wheat. But pressure really never materialized, which is certainly good for the farmer. However, sometimes all it takes is a good rain to trigger pest activity. And I think some of us have been a little deceived by how far along the crops are without taking into account that it’s still early in the year. Usually, it’s July 10-14 before we start spraying much for worms. So, anything could still happen.”
Trey Bullock, Bullock's Ag Consulting, Hattiesburg, Mississippi: "Aphids really just started blowing up in the cotton in the last 7 to 10 days (from 7/2), and we’re treating them on a pretty widescale basis. Plant bugs are nonexistent. I guess they’re sitting on a creek somewhere trying to get a drink of water. As dry as it is, cotton doesn’t look too appealing to anything. Just like everybody else, we need 3 inches of rain over 4 days. Cotton is at least still growing and hasn’t started blooming yet. So, it can still hold on for another week. After that, it’s a different story. What rain we’ve gotten lately has been very isolated.
“Typically, we’re running layby rigs right now but aren’t even doing that. Why spend $13 or $14 an acre if we’re not going to get a rain? We’ve already had times this year when we applied materials ahead of a big chance of rain and wish now we had that money back. We’re hoping that cotton hurries up and laps. If it does rain, a lot of cotton will be almost too big to run a layby rig in it. The best you can say about this crop right now is that it does look better than you think it should.”
Arkansas: Cotton Research Verification Update 7-2 Arkansas Row Crops
Louisiana: Fall Armyworms Moving into Soybeans 7-5 Louisiana Crops
Louisiana (E-Central): Insect Activity Picks Up In Cotton And Soybeans 7-1 Roger Carter and his colleagues at AMS
Mississippi Cotton: Response to Inoculation for Bacterial Blight 7-5 Mississippi Crop Situation
Mississippi: R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center Field Day July 19 7-5 Mississippi Crop Situation
Mississippi (Central): It’s Time For a Rain 7-1 Field Notes
Cotton Futures/Options - ICE
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