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Owen Taylor, Editor
Here is this week's issue of AgFax Midsouth Cotton.
Our thanks to SePRO – maker of Brake herbicide – for once again sponsoring our coverage.
Pest levels are increasing, as might be expected as we move into July and with more cotton blooming. No runaway situations have been reported. But depending on the area and stage of the crop, populations are mostly trending upward.
Plant bug numbers have bumped higher in spots. Aphids have rebounded in places and treatments have been going out, especially on smaller cotton. The aphid fungus has been reported. If any populations have crashed, it’s maybe on a localized basis, according to this week’s reports.
Bollworm eggs and larvae are more obvious in the lower Midsouth and treatment activity has picked up.
Spider mites have not necessarily faded away, even with all the rain. Applications have gone out in places, at least on field edges.
The rain continues. A number of areas received soakings ahead of the Fourth of July, and more showers are in the forecast this week through a portion of our coverage area. In places, fields were too wet to hold up equipment last week and more rain since then will stretch out the delays.
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Lee Rogers, Rogers Entomological Service, Steele, Missouri
“Cotton is into the full plant bug phase now and a few stink bugs are in the mix, too. We are finding more and more plant bugs, plus a little bit of aphid. It seems like every week the plant bug counts increase, although they’re not too intense yet. But we are at the point that they’re coming out of ditch banks and wild hosts.
“Red spider mites are showing up in spots and we’ve bordered for mites in places.
“We got a big rain this morning (7/3) and it’s been raining off and on this afternoon. I’ve heard one report of 2.5 inches. Nobody can get in the field today unless they’re wearing rubber boots. We wouldn’t have turned away a rain, but we have had ample moisture this year. We’ve been applying Pix for a couple of weeks. Some cotton is blooming, as of yesterday.
“Our first fungicide went out on soybeans last week.”
Larry Walker, Walker Cotton Technical Services, Flintville, Tennessee
“Cotton looks good and we’ve been spraying Pix and also treating for plant bugs. In about 5 days the plant bug numbers nearly tripled on me, and I’ve never seen numbers go up that fast.
“That just underscores the need to closely scout and not just base treatment timing on what you did last year. They were hitting 25 per 100 sweeps in places, and it was an easy decision to spray.
“We’re within a few days of bloom on our earliest cotton (as of 7/3). Aphids are present in some fields but aren’t that bad. Depending on the area, the last rain fell either Friday, Saturday, Sunday or today (7/3). It’s been regularly raining. Thank goodness for the residual herbicides and Liberty and Engenia. Just about all of our cotton is clean and in good shape.
“We’re at 10 to 11 nodes and plant growth regulators have been going out. Hopefully, cotton will start lapping soon and shade the ground, which is as good as a herbicide.”
Trent LaMastus, Consultant, Cleveland, Mississippi
“Our cotton is at 11 to 20 nodes – ranging from not quite blooming to starting the third week of bloom. We’re getting a lot of Pix out and spraying light numbers of plant bugs.
“Square retention is lower than we would like to see where the weather kept us out of the field at the wrong time. Plant bugs began coming out of corn and soybeans, and where we did treat, some material washed off. In other cases the weather over the last couple of weeks kept us from applying insecticides as soon as we wanted.
“In some areas we’ve maintained 90% to 95% retention, but we do have those fields where that’s not the case. At this point, we’re spraying on lower numbers.
“We’re been fighting aphids a little and mites are coming up in a few spots. We treated mites in places last week and the week before and we’ve treated aphids off and on for two weeks, as well. I found our first eggs on bloom tags today (7/3) on some of our oldest cotton, so we have a little moth flight kicking in this week.
“Obviously, we’ve been catching a lot of rain and have irrigated very, very little. One guy was going to start irrigating cotton this weekend (7/8-9), but the moisture sensor said to wait, then he got 2.5 inches of rain. A few fields were getting dry last weekend but in those cases the moisture sensors indicated we could hold off until today, but a lot of those areas also received rain. A big part of our corn won’t be irrigated at all or maybe just once, and it looks like an excellent crop.”
Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee
“Plant bugs remain sporadic and populations are generally moderate where we are finding them. Yes, we do have a few hot spots where numbers might be a bit higher, but we also have what you’d call cold spots where it’s hard to find one.
“Everyone says the crop looks pretty good, and it’s really uniform. Fields are either starting into bloom or will be to that point next week. We’ve had enough rain to bring things along.
“Kudzu bugs are starting to move into soybeans. I still haven’t seen or heard about anything scary. It was the insect of the week last week, based on the calls. On the other hand, I’ve hardly seen a green stink bug this season. I would have expected them in the earlier beans, but they have been scarce. We had a light year with them in 2016 and it’s shaping up that way this year, too.”
Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist
“Plant bugs are being sprayed but numbers are fairly light. Aphids are becoming more widespread and people are asking about the status of the aphid fungus. I know of one report of the fungus in the hills and one possible sighting in the Delta of aphids crashing. However, I have not seen or heard enough to believe that we have the fungus to any extent (as of 7/5). The timing for it, though, is typically in the next 10 days or so.
“People are kicking up bollworm moths in places. In soybeans, more stink bugs are turning up, and more redbanded stink bugs are being found in a wider area. They’re not in terrible numbers but the counts are increasing.”
Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist
“Aphids are kind of coming back a little here and there. Some of this gets back, I think, to people applying acephate for plant bugs a little early, and that flared aphids.
“I’m getting reports of spider mites trying to get started, so look closely for them. With all the rain we’ve had, it’s hard to believe that mites are obvious since you assume that rain will always suppress mites. But mites tend to build on cotton that is stressed, and plants that have been sitting in waterlogged soils are stressed. That might help explain this.
“Bollworms are being treated in some fields in the southern half of the state, just here and there. Folks are finding eggs and small larvae developing in white blooms and underneath stuck dry blooms. This is that flight that we were following in late June, and timing for these eggs and worms is just about right.
“We’re wet. It rained all through the state today (7/5) and the forecast calls for more rain today and tomorrow. Water is standing in the middles and nobody can do anything in the field right now. More rain is in the forecast this week.
“Fall armyworms (FAW) are building in pastures and some rice. They’ve hit treatment level in at least a few pastures in south Arkansas and up the Arkansas River Valley. Some pastures have been sprayed twice. This FAW thing just won’t quit.
“Also, we’re starting to pick up a lot of bollworm moths and small larvae in soybeans, particularly in south Arkansas. No treatments have been made yet, but some may start late this week or early next week.”
David Skinner, Agronomist, CPS, Macon, Mississippi
“This crop got off to a rough start and it’s about as spread out as you could imagine. Our earliest planting date was April 16 and the latest was about June 15.
“Square retention is not what we’ve come to expect. Some of this is down to 60% to 70%. We’ve had weeks of rain and cloudy weather and some of that early cotton went through 40-degree nights. This has not been cotton weather.
“Even the early cotton will be late just because it took more than 5 weeks to reach first square. I have confidence it will come back to some degree, and when we had dry conditions and hotter temperatures last week the cotton visibly improved.
“But I know we’ve already taken at least some hit on yield potential. Last year the low end of our yield range was 1.500 lbs/acre, with up to 2,000 on the upper end. I don’t think we’ll do that this year but yields should be high enough that we’ll come out in the black.
“We’ve had a few plant bugs – no high numbers, just nagging counts. I’m treating aphids now in some small, still-vulnerable cotton, going with Transform if we’re only finding aphids. It we let them go, they will do some damage, and I have a pretty low tolerance for aphids on small cotton.”
Sebe Brown, Northeast Louisiana Region Extension Entomologist
“Plant bug numbers are definitely picking up now that more corn is drying down. A lot of Diamond and tank mixes are going out. We’ve had a really widespread bollworm egg lay, and a lot of guys are getting nervous about this. I’m not hearing about many escapes, but we do have eggs in cotton now.
“No spider mites to speak of, although I did get one call today (7/6) about mites being hit or miss in one field. Rains have definitely helped with mites, but if it turns off hot and dry then we can expect mites to build. Aphids are still lingering if they haven’t been taken out by Transform or other plant bug sprays. With this hotter weather we’re maybe seeing some degree of resurgence with aphids, especially in younger cotton but also to an extent on older plants.
“More cotton started blooming last week once the weather warmed up. We also have fields in peak bloom, and guys are trying hard to set fruit and beat back plant bugs.
“Soybeans are still quiet in north Louisiana, and it’s kind of uncanny. Most calls about beans are from people who are trying to figure out if they’re missing anything when they scout. The general thinking was that we’d be knee-deep in stink bugs by now, but they’re still mostly quiet. Corn earworms have been sporadic in soybeans, depending on the location and stage of the crop.”
Blake Foust, Consultant, Southern Heritage Cotton, LLC, Forrest City, Arkansas
“Probably half of our cotton is blooming now (7/5) and we’re spraying pretty heavily for plant bugs. Overall, the crop looks good. We are trying to clean up some weeds and make layby applications.
“Yesterday (7/4) we received that Fourth of July rain – from 1 to 2 inches pretty much everywhere. There are a lot of happy people now unless you’re having to wear boots to get through the mud.”
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Florida Cotton: Did Excessive Rain Skew Fertility? If So, Options? 7-5
Dicamba Spraying: Arkansas Gov. Acts on Plant Board Emergency Rules – DTN 7-5
Cotton – Southwest: Weed Wake-Up Call; Boll Weevil Sprays 7-5
Tennessee Cotton: Stop Sequential Applications of Dicamba – Video 7-4
Alabama Cotton: Fungicide Considerations for Target Spot Control 7-4
Mississippi Cotton: Early Season Plant Bug Management with Diamond 7-3
Flint on Crops: We Can Help Crops Recover – Commentary 7-3
Mississippi Cotton: Crops Mostly Recovering from Challenging Start 6-30
Preventing Dicamba Drift – Best Management Practices 7-4
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AgFax Midsouth Cotton is published by AgFax Media LLC, Owen Taylor, Editorial Director. It is available to United States residents engaged in grain farming or qualifying ag-related professions. Mailing address: 142 Westlake Drive, Brandon, MS 39047. 601-992-9488 (Fax: 601-992-3503). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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