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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.
Bollworm pressure has subsided in parts of the Midsouth but increased in other areas.
Plant bugs continue to be relatively light. Our contacts over the last couple of weeks have used words like “strange” and “eerie” to describe the lack of plant bugs at this point in the year.
Spider mites are still active in places, even with persistent rains. Note comments about mites by Scott Stewart.
A rainy pattern is in the forecast into next week through much of our coverage area. So far, most people report relatively light levels of target spot and bacterial blight, although wetter weather could favor disease pressure. According to one report Thursday, 10 inches of rain had already fallen this week in an area in Mississippi’s south Delta.
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Sebe Brown, Northeast Louisiana Region Extension Entomologist
“Cotton is progressing along pretty well and a lot of fields around the state are starting to cut out. Worms are still out there and we can find some eggs, but it’s nothing as bad as a couple of weeks ago.
“Plant bug numbers are fairly light. Several people, in fact, have commented about how light plant bug pressure was for them this year. A lot of guys made it through with fewer sprays than last year.
“Mites have kind of faded away with all this rain. Last week it rained 2 inches in a lot of areas and some places this week have caught 3 to 4 inches (as of 8/8). More rain is in the forecast for the rest of this week and into next week, so we’re definitely saturated.
“With all the rain and cloudy conditions, we are seeing square loss. But plants do have a good load as it is. I’m just hoping this doesn’t shape up like last year – a beautiful crop but boll rot took it away. We’re finding open bolls around the state now.
“Soybean loopers are starting to move into beans, and some treatments have gone out. I haven’t heard of any insecticide failures with loopers. They did come in early, maybe by a couple of weeks, and we can find them from the top to the bottom of the state. In particular, we normally don’t see them this soon in north Louisiana.
“Redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) are hit or miss. Guys who let them go last year and got burned are very aggressive in 2017. They’re taking action as RBSB reach or approach threshold. I think that will go a long way towards suppressing RBSB pressure.”
Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist
“With bollworms, we seem to be in at least a temporary reprieve. You can still find a few eggs, but for now we’re past the big moth flight and the action is dying down a little.
“On the other hand, plant bugs are starting to increase in some areas and are being addressed. Thankfully, we’re mostly past the worm deal. Some people are concerned about how much money they’ve spent on worm control, but the crop does look good.
“In soybeans, a significant portion of early beans are drying down, plus harvest aids are going out, so we’re seeing redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) vacating those early fields and moving into soybeans that are still green. The bulk of this is south of U.S. 82, but people are treating RBSB a good bit north of that now, too.
“We’ve had enough rain to keep equipment out of the field just as RBSB numbers hit or exceeded thresholds. So, sprayers can’t run and planes can’t fly and we’ve also got issues with rainfastness where anyone might be able to spray. The best option in normal weather is acephate and bifenthrin, but you don’t want to fly on acephate where rain might wash it off. You need 8 to 12 hours of dry conditions, although 24 hours is more preferable.
“In terms of rainfastness, options would include Endigo, Belay plus bifenthrin or bifenthrin plus imidacloprid. Those choices are much more rainfast. Rain will likely continue. Over the next 10 days (from 8/8), there are only 2 days with a 20% chance of rain and the rest are 60% or even higher, so rainfastness has to be a consideration. Loopers are beginning to pick up a little and a few treatments are going out.”
David Hydrick, Hydrick’s Crop Consulting, Inc., Jonesboro, Arkansas
“We’re completely done with some cotton and have been letting go of several early fields. We’ll release some additional fields in the next week or so. No open bolls yet (as of 8/8).
“Worms are in some cotton but we’re not treating a lot. We are spraying in places for plant bugs. Overall, though, plant bug numbers have really fallen off. Populations are low enough that it’s kind of eerie, considering we’re in August and you expect to be dealing with plant bugs. Aphids and mites appear to be on the downhill slide.
“Target leaf spot is still really low, just in a few fields. Usually by now it’s ramping up. We are supposed to move into more cloudy, rainy weather, so that’s subject to change. It’s muddy right now in places. Some areas received 2 to 3 inches of rain 2 days ago. We’re topping off some fields with Pix and are foliar feeding where we’ve run short on nitrogen. We received rain where we have some dryland cotton, which helped.
“A lot of bacterial blight has appeared in certain varieties.
“We’ve let a lot of beans go, maybe 15% of them. Those were early-April fields. Bean leaf beetles have turned up and we’ll treat in some of the younger beans. Over the last 3 weeks or so we had to spray for bollworms in beans, but populations were nothing like what we ran up against last year. In places where you’d expect bollworms – soybeans with a solid bloom and small pods – we’re not finding enough to treat.
“We started letting go of corn 2 weeks ago and we will soon be down to replants.”
Victor Roth, Roth Farm Service, Malden, Missouri
“A nice rain fell over most of our area, from 1 to 2 inches, and it was very welcomed. That started on Sunday afternoon. Today (8/8) we’ve had a full day of sunshine, and that makes cotton.
“The crop is winding up pretty good. In spots, plants are at 1 NAWF but field-wide it’s more like 2 to maybe 5. We’ll be into cutout in the middle to latter part of the month.
“A few plant bugs are present, sometimes in high numbers. We’re still trying to clean up red spider mites in places. They keep coming back, and we had to treat several fields yesterday. I’m hoping they’ll stop with these somewhat cooler temperatures, but I’m still dealing with them.”
Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist
“Our cotton in south Arkansas weathered all the worms but they’ve now moved into our central and northeast counties. We do expect to spray some of the regular WideStrike fields. However, I’m getting calls about treatments being made in Bollgard 2 cotton in parts of the state where you don’t expect that to happen.
“They’re spraying dual-gene cotton in Leachville, which borders the lower Missouri bootheel. That’s very rare but it shows how widespread this bollworm deal is. Treatments are going out but people are still finding worms after applications. In places, I think that the numbers are simply overwhelming.
“This is a real concern, and everybody needs to be scouting their dual-gene cotton. Check for damage and check behind treatments to make sure you’re gaining control. I’m still seeing plenty of moths flying.
“Spider mites are getting worse. In particular, some people in northeast Arkansas have made 2 applications and are still looking at spider mites. We’re into cool, wet conditions, which typically don’t favor mite populations increasing. But mites keep on coming, and this is unexpected.
“Plant bugs are in hand. Some people are still spraying in places, but nothing terrible has been reported.
“Our bollworm flight in cotton is carrying over into soybeans, too. In places, they’re running 1 per sweep, with 9 to 12 per 25 sweeps being threshold. In spots, people are finding 2 per sweep. So, the numbers are starting high and the worms are hitting R1 and R2 beans.
“Bollworms aren’t making their usual exceptions in beans. Usually, we expect to find them in row beans that haven’t closed the canopy. But from what we’re seeing, you’d better be checking drilled beans where the canopy has closed, since worms have developed in some of those, too. This flight has been active in our central and northeast counties and up the Arkansas River Valley.
“People are catching redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) in Marianna and they’ve hit treatment levels in Stuttgart, Altheimer and Pine Bluff. Numbers are increasing, so check beans at R5 and beyond, which is when RBSB begins moving into fields.”
Kyle Skinner, Skinner Ag, Starkville, Mississippi
“From yesterday (8/7) morning to right now, most guys have gotten rain – from 2 to 6 inches, depending on the location. This should finish us up on at least some irrigation. We’ve got a shallow root system due to all the rain and saturated soils early, so people have been irrigating cotton pretty hard over the last couple of weeks.
“I have 4 fields of dryland cotton planted on April 10 and bolls are starting to open in some of that. A big part of our crop ranges from 5 NAWF to bloomed out the top. I’ve still got 2,000 acres that we couldn’t plant until June, and it just started blooming last week.
“We had 20% to 45% eggs in spots 10 to 14 days ago and sprayed – just based on the sheer numbers. That’s been the main thing with insects and most of that happened in Noxubee County. We’re finding stink bugs just here and there.
“Some corn is being shelled at high moisture. Other fields also would be ready but moisture is holding it up. With this weather, it will be on hold for a while.”
Hank Jones, C&J Ag Consulting, Pioneer, Louisiana
“Rain has been somewhat spotty but plenty has fallen in places. On some farms in East Carroll Parish they’ve measured 3 to 4 inches since last Friday. In general, the area I work has received 1.5 to 2.5 inches, at least in spots. The bulk of the rain has been north of Interstate 20 (as of 8/8).
“This is looking a little like the beginning of what we saw with all the rain last year. More is in the forecast, so we’re about to be really wet.
“Cotton looks pretty good. We had to treat some regular WideStrike with a second shot of Prevathon. Plant bugs are relatively moderate, and we really haven’t had to battle them on a wide basis this year. Maybe all the rain prevented them from establishing heavy populations.
“I guess there’s been an industry-wide push to regulate plant height, and I’m not checking that many acres of rank cotton. I’m also not seeing problem levels of target spot and bacterial blight like we had last year – at least not yet. But with this weather pattern, disease could blow up over the next several days.
“Corn harvest was going wide open ahead of the rain. Most guys in Tensas Parish were averaging 200 bu/acre on some earlier varieties, but we’re not yet into the later varieties that tend to yield better. I haven’t heard of anything under 200, which is phenomenal for us. This could be a record corn year in our area.
“If corn was irrigated, it was only watered once or twice. With one client, I calculated that he skipped 5 irrigations.
“In soybeans, we’re running wide open to try to kill redbanded stink bugs (RBSB). They’re moving in big numbers as early planted beans dry down and are going to the next greenest field. I’ll be chasing around after RBSB for the rest of the season. I feel a bit like Wile E. Coyote trying to catch the Road Runner.
“A few treatments went out for loopers but the bulk of my beans are around R6. Those fields are far enough along that we’ll let it ride.
“The National Weather Service says daytime highs could be 5 to 10 degrees below average for the rest of the month. That will put the brakes on crop development across the board. We need sunshine and heat. We need it to be August.”
Herbert Jones Jr., Ind. Consultant, Leland, Mississippi
“It’s been a weird year. Plant bugs have been practically nonexistent for a couple of weeks but I am picking up low numbers now in places. At the end of July and into the first of this month we had low counts of heliothis but not on every farm and not even in every field on a specific farm. One field might be running 10% to 15% but I couldn’t find anything in the next field I checked.
“However, I did start picking up a fair number of eggs yesterday (8/7). I would at least anticipate a fair number by the end of this week, but it’s been raining. That could delay egg laying or even take out some moths. But egg numbers are at least on the rise and we may have to address some situations in the next 5 to 10 days.
“Spider mites really jumped before this last rain, so we’ll have to wait and see if the weather has had any effect. Aphids have been increasing a little, as have whitefly in places, but nothing was at threshold early this week.
“Recent rainfall totals range from over an inch to something less than 2 inches, and it’s raining this morning (8/8). We needed this rain across the board, although people are cutting corn, so that will hold them back. We had been watering cotton but nothing beats a rain. This will fill in cracks and we may not have to water much of anything again except late soybeans.
“In cotton, the big challenge will be to make sure enough Pix goes out. A fair amount of our later cotton is nowhere close to cutout, from 6 to 7 NAWF, with very few bolls filling out.
“Soybeans are fairly clean. It’s hard to say what this heliothis flight will do to younger beans, but that’s a couple of weeks down the road. We’re also making sure redbanded stink bugs remain under control.”
Harold Lambert, Independent Consultant, Innis, Louisiana
“It continues to be too wet here. It’s rained somewhere every day. Big rains came through yesterday (8/7) and more is expected today. We’re finding quite a bit of target spot in some cotton and are seeing a lot of small bolls being shed.
“I’ve come across what’s either bronze wilt or potassium deficiency. This cotton is far enough along that I don’t know if we’ll do anything. The roots are worn out from saturated conditions. We’re past the effective bloom period and square production has tapered off for a variety of reasons.
“We haven’t had bollworm pressure like areas north of us. I haven’t detected enough slippage or pressure to justify an overspray. Where we’ve treated lately, it’s been bifenthrin and acephate, mainly for brown stink bugs.
“Paraquat went out on some early beans. In the last couple of weeks, velvetbean caterpillars built in a huge way and we treated. We’re on our second stink bug spray in soybeans. It’s been a mix of species, although with the second application the percentage of redbanded were a bigger part of the mix. No matter what we apply, that first spray always separates out the species that are harder to control.
“Corn harvest is ongoing – and with a great deal of frustration due to the weather. A lot of fields have been persistently wet enough that equipment can’t run. Last week we did catch a window when rain in the forecast failed to develop. Yields averaged 180 to 225 bu/acre. For growers, it was like an emotional experience to finally be able to run those combines.”
Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee
“Cotton is beginning to wind down pretty quickly and people are turning loose of some fields or making the last spray on others. We’ve had some heat and decent moisture, and the cotton looks good, on average.
“In terms of bollworms, I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. Some people have been spraying the technologies for low numbers, but I’m not hearing about any crisis situations. If anything, moth numbers are maybe easing down, and it’s almost too late in the game for them to matter. Performance has been about what we’d expect with both the materials and the technologies.
“Spider mites remain in a cyclical pattern – they’ll build, then kind of back away and then build again. Oddly, I’ve gotten more calls about aphids than mites, but I think mites are more important. Aphids are easier to see, I guess, so people are more likely to react.
“One reason more mites could be in the picture this year is that less Liberty herbicide has gone out. Liberty has appeared to have pretty good activity on mites in the past, and colleagues in other states have mentioned that, as well.”
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Tennessee Cotton, Soybeans: Bollworm Update – Good News and Bad News 8-9
Farm Bill: House Ag Comm. Chair Conaway Now Hoping for 2018 8-9
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Mississippi Cotton: Late Season Nutrient Deficiency/Fertilizer Applications 8-7
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