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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.
What remains of Hurricane Harvey has moved into the Midsouth to varying degrees and could likely effect areas in western and northern Alabama along the way. More will be known next week about the effects on this year’s cotton crop.
No reports of cotton being picked ahead of the storm and anyone planning on defoliating this week has probably held off. Cooler conditions have slowed crop development and overcast skies have triggered some shedding in the top of plants.
Insect treatments have pretty much wound down in cotton. Soybean loopers and redbanded stink bugs remain active in soybeans.
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Blake Foust, Consultant, Southern Heritage Cotton, LLC, Forrest City, Arkansas
“With cotton, we’ve pretty much turned all of it loose. We’re not defoliating anything yet and it doesn’t look like we’ll be in a big hurry, considering the lack of heat. It could be 10 days before we start.
“In soybeans, only a small number of fields have been cut. We have applied paraquat on several acres but haven’t been able to cut any of those yet. Loopers are starting to build and we’re finding a few redbanded stink bugs, but not enough to worry about. We’re probably 70% done with corn harvest. This is the best corn crop I can remember. A whole lot of people are talking about averages at or above 230 bu/acre.”
Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist
“A lot of cotton is finishing up but we have plant bugs in the top of a little of our later planted cotton. But most folks are about to throw their hands up. It’s hard to kill late-season plant bugs. With all the cloudy weather, some of that top fruit is falling off, anyway. As much as they can, people are calling it done.
“In soybeans, we’re still spraying redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) and they are building in later beans as other fields are cut or at least dry down.
“Plenty of loopers are moving into late-planted beans and looper products are running short. I think that most people are able to take care of them but are having to scrounge around to get whatever material is available. We’re finding quite a bit of defoliation in places. With all the spraying for RBSB, we took out beneficials.”
Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee
“We’re doing the last little round of spraying on later cotton, primarily for bollworms. A little too much worm activity developed in Bollgard 2 cotton in places, with fruit injury. However, I doubt if 10% of our fields would fit in that scenario.
“I visited several producers’ fields in the last couple of days (from 8/30) and was disappointed to see some of the damage in top bolls in Bollgard 2 varieties. It was certainly more than I’ve been accustomed to finding in the past.
“Taking into account our first frost date and last effective bloom date, I’m encouraging everyone to wrap up insect management next week on even the latest fields.
“We do have a good crop. Hopefully, any rainfall from (tropical storm) Harvey will be minimal. We don’t want to see cotton go backwards. I expect that some defoliation will start up in the next week or so.
“In soybeans, we’re also dealing with bollworms. We had a pretty good flurry of moths over the last 2 or 3 weeks, but that appears to be subsiding. A portion of the crop is no longer blooming and isn’t super attractive to moths now, but we have had to do a fair amount of spraying for corn earworms in soybeans.
“Kudzu bugs blew up in places over the last couple of weeks and a few fields had to be treated. Stink bugs remain pretty light. We can find a few loopers here and there, although they likely will increase. The big thing on the radar now is the redbanded stink bug and how far north it might move. I have a feeling that we might be dealing with it in our late beans.”
Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist
“Even the late cotton is past the point you would do much in it, and we’re kind of in that lull between insect termination and defoliation. A very limited amount of defoliation has started in south Arkansas, but people are mostly holding back ahead of this storm (Harvey).
“The last forecast I saw (8/29) said we could get 3 to 8 inches of rain in much of our Delta region. Most of that area is already wet. Creeks and bayous are full, so 8 inches of rain would constitute a catastrophe.
“In soybeans, redbanded stink bugs continue to march across the state and have hit treatment levels as far north as Crittenden County. In places, soybean looper populations are unbelievable. In our soybean trials at Marianna they’re running 10 per row foot. All the late beans in that area are at treatment level.
“Defoliation is reaching 30% really fast in those beans. The threshold is 30% defoliation through the plant, not just on top. The larvae are in all sizes but enough big ones are present to really hurt. Remember that soybean loopers start in the bottom and move up through the plant. Where beans aren’t being scouted, people won’t find them until the damage has been done.”
Trent LaMastus, Consultant, Cleveland, Mississippi
“A small amount of defoliation started last Friday (8/25) and more will go out when we have heat and sunshine. For right now, though, we’re waiting for this storm (Harvey) to pass through.
“We treated some later cotton last week for worm escapes and are pretty well satisfied with the results. We’re getting a lot of regrowth. We had all that rain early in the month and in places 8 to 12 inches fell over 2 or 3 weeks.
“Target spot has been bad in the bottom canopy in the bigger cotton and shed has increased – both leaves and bolls in the bottom and fruit on the top. A lot of this cotton looks like it got nitrogen in the last week – it’s as green as a gourd and will not quit. With that shed, energy that would have gone into filling bolls is now going into regrowth.
“A big portion of the corn has been harvested. Some soybean harvest started last week. We’re still dealing with redbanded stink bugs (RBSB), and length of control in some cases hasn’t been what we expected. I think that’s due to a combination of more pressure and showers that have washed off materials at times.
“We averaged 1.5 RBSB sprays on early beans and could end up with 3 or more sprays on later beans, plus 1 to 2 shots for loopers in later fields. Budgets have been blown out of the water, particularly in later soybeans.”
Larry Walker, Walker Cotton Technical Services, Flintville, Tennessee
“We finally had 10 days without rain. We made our peak bloom shot of Pix to control growth and it looks like the crop is now moving towards finishing up.
“We were hitting some ideal temperatures, with highs in the low 90s and lows in the 70s. Cotton had ample soil moisture and it really grew. This past week we could tell that the color had changed as the fruit began pulling in potassium to fill out bolls. We’re 6 weeks from applying our first harvest.
“We treated worms once and got through that without any issues. That was around August 11-15 and we also applied Pix and boron.
“We’ve seen some kudzu bugs this year but hardly in big numbers. A few loopers are out there. About 20% are soybean loopers, with the rest cabbage loopers. Defoliation is running less than 10%, with zero pod feeding, so we’re just monitoring them right now. I’ve hardly found any stink bugs in soybeans. What few that turned up in cotton would have been taken out when we sprayed for worms.”
Lee Rogers, Rogers Entomological Service, Steele, Missouri
“We’re getting right at the end with cotton. We’ve been spraying a little for worms and treating a small amount of late cotton for plant bugs. But much of this crop is winding down and after this week I think we’ll be finished with insects.
“In soybeans, we’re finding a few worms and stink bugs and are spaying in places, but it’s nothing widespread.”
David Skinner, Agronomist, CPS, Macon, Mississippi
“A couple of thousand acres of cotton are ready to be defoliated, but we’re waiting to see what the storm (Harvey) does. A bunch of cotton will be ready in another 2 weeks and then the last round will probably be defoliated around October 1.
“We’re still spraying some stink bugs, although nothing across the board. It’s mostly greens and browns, and they’ve kind of exploded in places.
“We’re also fighting stink bugs in soybeans – all of our usual stink bugs plus redbanded. We would let some beans go now but still have redbanded in them. Nothing has been sprayed twice yet for redbanded but we’re spraying a good many acres at R7 and then cutting them not too long after that.
“So far, soybean yields have been disappointing – 40 to 60 bu/acre. Beans may get better as we transition into later fields. Dry conditions in late June and into July may have taken more out of the early crop than we thought.
“Corn is really good. A lot of dryland is going 180 to 190 bu/acre, with irrigated running 200 to 230.”
Sebe Brown, Northeast Louisiana Region Extension Entomologist
“More bolls are opening. People have been pulling back on insecticide sprays ahead of the storm (Harvey).
“The crop hasn’t progressed much because we haven’t had hot weather lately and the forecast calls for cooler conditions starting in the middle of next week – highs in the upper 70s and lows in the upper 50s at night. We’re sure not breaking into the 90s. Based on the last long-term forecast I saw, the best we might expect is 88 or 89 as the season continues.
“People pulled back on defoliation ahead of the storm. If this rain hadn’t materialized, we might have picked some this week. It’s been raining off and on and we can’t get in the field right now (8/30) to do anything. Some boll rot is apparent and we also can find target spot, although nothing widespread.
“In soybeans, redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) and loopers are still out there. Just because conditions cooled down, don’t assume that insects have backed off. Enough pressure is out there in places that we may have to spray once a week or less – particularly for RBSB – to get through the season.
“A lot of insects do stop feeding with rain and cooler temperatures, but that’s not the case with redbanded. It’s maybe not as active in cool mornings, but it will pick up the pace as the day progresses. Don’t let your guard down.”
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