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Boll shed due to target leaf spot. Click image to enlarge. Photo from David Hydrick, @hydrick1
Defoliation will likely widen a little this week in the lower half of the region.


Target spot remains a concern. We continue to hear about plants shedding good-sized bolls where target spot has triggered heavy leaf drop. Bacterial blight has been an issue, as well.


Boll rot and hard locking are obvious in many areas. The weather may be slipping into a drier pattern this week in parts of the region.


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David Skinner, Agronomist, CPS, Macon, Mississippi: “We’re still checking for stink bugs in a limited amount of cotton. Our first defoliation has started, and we’ll be spraying just a few fields this week, then ramp it up next week. By September 12 most cotton will have received at least the first application.


“At this point we’re just trying to remove that top third of the foliage, then come back in a week with a second shot. We’re already seeing results. We actually did a little defoliating last Monday (8/22) and then came back with the second shot a week later. But that first treatment acted so quickly that we could have made the second application by that Friday or Saturday. At this rate we’re probably 2 weeks out from any picking.”


Lee Rogers, Rogers Entomological Service, Steele, Missouri: “We’ve been terminating cotton and will pretty much be finished with most of it after this week. I can’t think of a single field that I would spray this week, in fact.


“Plenty of plants are bolled up to the top or nearly so. We’re trying to determine to what extent boll rot and target spot diseases have affected the crop. If anything, losing some foliage to target spot might help lower the risk of further boll rot. We’ve had plenty of rain and more is in the forecast. Plants are still damp from the mid-stalk on down. We were dry so long but then the rains started toward the end of July, and we’ve been getting at least some rain every 3 or 4 days since then.



“Due to the weather, we had problems spraying plant bugs. We’ve still got some green fields with blooms and squares but nothing we’d be likely to protect now. It’s not hard to find open bolls in just about any field, and not just one or two open bolls here and there. We certainly have had more boll rot and more target spot or other leaf diseases than anyone would want to see.”


Photo from Trent LaMastus: "A sample of the damage some of my growers sustained over the past 2 weeks." (Click image to enlarge.)

Trent LaMastus, Consultant, Cleveland, Mississippi: “Our cotton ranges from some that we’ll start defoliating to a little late-planted cotton that was still at 7 NAWF as of last Friday (8/26). We could have actually started defoliating some dryland acreage last week, but the weather held us off. None of our irrigated cotton is ready yet, although we might be able to start in some of it in 10 days.


“We’re seeing too much boll rot and have lost 3 to 6 bolls per plant. On average, it’s probably 5. In some fields, the losses to boll rot will probably run over a bale per acre. Cotton laid over during high winds earlier, then we had a big storm on top of it. A decent week followed, but then it rained 11 out of 12 days up until last week.


“Stalks are sideways at a 20- to 25-degree angle, with a lot of bolls laying in the mud over the last 2 to 3 weeks. We’re still monitoring some late cotton for plant bugs, bollworms and fall armyworms, and we’ll have to continue protecting some of that until about September 20.”


Travis Vallee, CenLa Ag Services, Pineville, Louisiana: “Right now we’re mostly watching bolls rot. Growers have been trying for a while to start defoliating cotton, but without any success. If the weather forecast holds up, we should be able to begin this week.


“Boll rot varies from field to field, but we can find it at 20% to 50%, plus we have hard locking and other things going on. Target spot is pretty much in every field and has been present for a few weeks. Plus, we’re finding bacterial blight in some new varieties. I started seeing bacterial blight in places before bloom, then it kind of went away when the weather turned hot and dry in July.


“We’ve easily had 12 inches of rain since before mid August and probably haven’t had 3 dry days in a row over the last 16 days (from 8/29). A lot of fields are on the books for defoliation – that includes both cotton and soybeans. But at least some of that was held up until we could be sure the weather would cooperate. With the way potential yield has deteriorated, nobody wants to take a chance on wash-off.”


Larry Walker, Walker Cotton Technical Services, Flintville, Tennessee: “Cotton has finished up and has bloomed out the top. It rained about 2 inches in the past 2 weeks, which the crop needed.  So we have adequate moisture right now and bolls are filling in the middle to top third of the plant.


“At this point (8/29), we’re looking for a good staple length and better-than-average yields. We’re through with insects and Pix. This has been one of the fastest developing crops we’ve seen in some time. All that heat in June, July and into August really boosted things. Thankfully, we didn’t have excessively hot weather in August. It was about what we’d consider normal, and that helped maintain fruit retention. Defoliation should start around September 20.”



David Kerns, Entomologist, Louisiana State University, Macon Ridge Research Station: “Cotton is simply waiting to be defoliated. Some people are trying to make those last bits of top crop. Honestly, though, I don’t think most of it is worth the expense or the delays. With all the boll rot and hard locking in the bottom crop, it’s tempting to try to make some of that new fruit on top, but we’ve really reached the point to walk away and call it done.”


Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist: “Plenty of bolls have opened. To the best of my knowledge, nobody has started defoliating yet, but I’m seeing fields that are awfully close or, in fact, are ready for it. But growers in many cases are still trying to harvest corn and rice after all the weather delays in August. Otherwise, practically all the cotton is done.


“Once pickers start running we’ll know how badly all the rain and wet conditions impacted yields. Many areas had more rain over the weekend (8/27-28) and it rained in places early this week, too.”


Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist: "Our very latest planted fields are probably getting a final plant bug shot, and a few worms are lingering in cotton. But the majority of our acres have run their course. We’ve got some boll rot.  Regrowth has started in places, but most people realize that anything in the top now isn’t worth protecting. Cotton is winding down fast, and this week I saw several hundred acres south of Greenwood that had been defoliated.”




Tennessee: Cotton Turning . . . Is It Too Soon?   8-31


Cotton – Southwest – Cool, Wet Panhandle; Bollworms; Re-Growth – AgFax   8-31


Tennessee Corn, Cotton, Soybeans: Late Season Insect Considerations 8-31


Cotton – Southeast – First Picking Nears, Bacterial Blight Taking A Toll – AgFax 9/1


Driverless Tractor Prototypes Showcased Unveil At Farm Progress Show   8-30


Georgia Cotton: Bacterial Blight – How Widespread In 2016? 8-31


Louisiana: Cotton Also a Victim from Flooding Rains   8-30


Mississippi Field Reports: Harvest Picks Up Pace with Drier Conditions   8-30


Arkansas Field Reports: Rice Harvest Begins in Earnest; Flood Damage Becomes More Evident   8-30


Tennessee Field Reports: Rains Improve Crops Overall; Some Insect Problems   8-30


Louisiana Field Reports: Flood Problems Continue with Prolonged Wetness   8-30



More Cotton News




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