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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.
A limited amount of cotton has been picked and defoliation started on a wider basis once the weather turned drier and warmer.
Too much rain and cloudy weather have clearly taken a toll on cotton in parts of our coverage area. Much of the damage – boll rot, hardlocking and fruit shed – was triggered by rains and cloudy conditions that predated hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
LAST REPORT FOR 2017
This is our last issue for 2017. Our thanks to:
Our contacts – the consultants, dealer personnel and Extension workers who provide the reports that go into each edition. Their willingness to share information is the real heart of AgFax Midsouth Cotton. We appreciate the time that they graciously give us as the season progresses. Their knowledge and observations are invaluable.
SePRO and its field staff – for once again sponsoring this newsletter. The next time you see someone with SePRO, be sure to thank him or her for this ongoing support.
From Our Sponsor
Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist
“We got enough rain from Irma to get everything wet. It didn’t fall in big amounts but enough came down to delay defoliation. But we’ve moved through that weather pattern and conditions are heating up, which will help. Defoliation isn’t underway on a big scale yet but more will likely start this week and next week.
“In soybeans, worms have generally declined. With the rain and cool conditions, fungus and virus pressure worked over the loopers. Redbanded stink bugs continue moving into areas where they haven’t been a factor in the past. Bifenthrin plus acephate or bifenthrin plus imidacloprid are giving 10 to 14 days of control now.”
Richard Griffing, Griffing Consulting, LLC, Monterey, Louisiana
“We’ve got about 3,000 acres of cotton that haven’t had a shot of defoliant yet and 300 acres of late beans remaining to be desiccated, so we’re almost through. A little cotton has been picked around the area. The earliest any of my clients will start picking will be Monday, I think.
“We’ve probably lost 200 lbs/acre of yield due to rains in August – if not more in places. We actually didn’t get much rain from the hurricane (Harvey), relatively speaking, maybe 4 inches over that full week. But it consistently rained through August. One grower said he recorded rain during 25 days in August.
“Boll rot is terrible in parts of the crop, plus pretty bad fruit shed and target spot are obvious. Some of this cotton is really ugly.
“Soybean yields have been pretty good. A lot of dryland beans are averaging 50 to 60 bu/acre, with irrigated fields are running in the 60s to 80s. However, the crop has sustained some damage. A lot of people report 10% to 15% damage in the earlier fields. Now, though, it’s more like 2% to 5%. Maybe those somewhat later beans weren’t as vulnerable when all the rain fell or the elevators are tired of farmers complaining (about dockage) – or some combination of both.
“My growers finished corn harvest and this is probably the best corn crop we’ve ever made. Rice seems to be turning out pretty well, too.”
Tyler Sandlin, Extension Crop Specialist, North Alabama, Belle Mina
“Most of this crop seems late and I’m getting a lot of calls about where we are with DD60s. Compared to last year – in the May through August period – we’re running behind by 285 units at the Tennessee Valley REC.
“After this hurricane activity, things cooled down and it seemed more like we were in November than September, so the crop hasn’t progressed much. But we’re supposed to move into the mid to upper 80s for several days, which should help.
“While we are way off with DD60s compared to 2016, we’re not that far behind the 5-year average for 2012 to 2016 in that same May-through-August period. As it turns out, 2017 is only 85 degree days behind that 5-year average. Probably two-thirds of north Alabama’s cotton was planted in a May 10-15 window, so a big portion of the crop is running behind schedule to some extent.
“We do have scattered fields planted on the early side and some defoliation may start next week in that part of the crop. But the majority of applications are 2 to 4 weeks out.
“With Irma, it rained 2.2 inches at the station, although it maybe rained more at locations to the south and east. The wind wasn’t as bad as we expected. A lot of farmers hustled to get corn out but some was still in the field when the storm reached us. However, people were pleasantly surprised at how little corn went down. A few early-season soybeans have been harvested. More are slated to go as soon as it dries up.”
Sebe Brown, Northeast Louisiana Region Extension Entomologist
“Defoliation is pretty much going full swing now (9/14). A lot already has gone out and more will be applied this week. A few guys are starting to pick.
“Preliminary yields are running 800 to about 1,000 lbs/acre. We’ve had an uphill battle with this crop – too much rain too often, extended periods with overcast skies, plus worm escapes and heavy pressure, among other things. It seems like we’ve been fighting one thing or another ever since cotton emerged.
“Unfortunately, this seems to be becoming a typical season here.
“With soybeans, we’re still seeing that green-island effect where stink bugs congregate on the latest beans. It’s primarily redbanded stink bugs but other species are in the mix, too. Loopers blew up over a couple of weeks but then disappeared after Harvey. Green cloverworm numbers crashed, as well. These conditions have promoted epizootics, which are taking out a lot of worms.”
Tucker Miller, Ind. Consultant, Drew, Mississippi
“We received 2 to 3 inches from Harvey, which didn’t hurt too badly, although it twisted things up enough in places that we can’t defoliate with a ground rig.
“I did defoliate some cotton a week ago (from 9/13). Some leaves are coming off but it’s been slow, what with this cooler weather, and we’ll definitely have to hit some of it a second time. We’ll start on more fields today and tomorrow.
“We’re about half finished with cutting soybeans. We just sprayed some late soybeans a third time for redbanded stink bugs. A big part of the crop was planted in a good window in April, so those fields are being harvested or are about to be. One grower who began planting soybeans in late March and early April has 400 acres left to harvest out of 4,000 to 5,000 acres.
“A bunch of irrigated fields are averaging 80 to 85 bu/acre and we also have some dryland beans running 62 to 63. This bean crop should turn out alright unless we get into more rot.”
Gary Wolfe, La-Ark Agricultural Consulting, Ida, Louisiana
“Harvey didn’t affect us a lot. Areas down toward Shreveport did get more rain than needed but we missed most of it up here. Still, though, we can find a lot of hardlocked bolls in the bottom, and that’s mainly been due to earlier rains.
“We’re defoliating now, and everyone has at least made some applications. As far as timing goes, this is pretty much when we might expect to start. The crop looks good, but we won’t know how it will yield until we see how much is left after the picker runs through.
“I looked at some early soybeans (on 9/13) that I think will cut 60 bu/acre or better, but I’m expecting heavy damage, too, taking into account how wet it’s been.”
Phillip McKibben, McKibben Ag Services, Mathiston, Mississippi
“With all the rain, cotton has greened up again. It actually had cut out pretty nicely but now we have 3 to 4 nodes of regrowth on top. I’m ignoring that.
“I feel like we’re 2 weeks from the first defoliation going out. We got rain from Harvey but also had received 6 to 7 inches in the first week of August and then later it rained for about 2 straight weeks.
“All that really hurt our sweet potato crop, and that will complicate harvest. I suspect that a couple of my growers will lose significant yield in their sweet potatoes due to all the rain.
“In soybeans, the rain left us with some quality issues. With as much rain as we’ve had, it’s hard to peg which of those events caused the damage. We’ve treated about 50% of our soybean acreage for redbanded stink bugs. We didn’t specifically spray early beans for redbanded. But without exception, what’s left in the field now (9/13) has been treated once. I’m sure hoping for a hard winter so we don’t have to deal with redbanded stink bugs next year.”
Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee
“It’s still cool and wet (9/13) but people will begin defoliating cotton as soon as the sun comes out. One consultant said they may begin making a few applications on Thursday and Friday (9/14-15), so quite a bit should start next week.
“We really didn’t receive much rain from Irma – from a quarter-inch to 1.5 inches, but the forecast looks good after today. Some cotton laid over when Harvey moved in but nothing is rotting or sprouting.”
Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist
“I’m driving past a lot of cotton today (9/14) that’s had a defoliation application. We’re supposed to get into warmer temperatures in the next few days, which will help move that along.
“One grower I know picked a little cotton on burned up ground south of Greenwood.
“In terms of insects, the only thing now is the redbanded stink bug in later beans. With lower temperatures and recent rains, they’ve slowed a lot. But where beans are still green, you won’t have problems finding them. I just came out of plots in a late-planted field that was absolutely full of them. It has been sprayed 4 times. That’s an extreme case and not every field has been affected to that extent, but that insect is still with us.”
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