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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.



More cotton is blooming this week and most of it needs rain. Irrigation systems are running in places and at least a small amount of furrow-irrigated cotton is on its second watering.


Plant bugs and spider mites are being treated in places. In some cases, a second plant but application is going out. Our contacts continue to emphasize that no overwhelming pressure has turned up. Aphids are on the scene but any treatments are mostly incidental to other trips across the field, we’re told.


More talk about trying to keep up with plant growth regulator applications on certain varieties – or just on cotton in general where plants took off in 2017.


Stand variability is complicating treatment programs in places. In extreme cases, cotton in parts of a field is approaching bloom or at least is into squaring while plants in other parts of the field only have a few true leaves.




Sebe Brown, Northeast Louisiana Region Extension Entomologist:

“It’s still dry and that continues to complicate how people manage this cotton crop. The big issue is stand variability. People are dealing with fields that have plants ranging from 2- to 3-leaf cotton in one area to plants almost at bloom in other parts of the field.


“In some of those locations, they have both thrips and plant bugs, so what kind of treatment program would you use?


“All that is due to drought. We’re at least getting little half-inch showers from a system in the Gulf of Mexico. That may go on for another day or two (from 6/19), the forecast says, but then it will be dry again for another week.


“On the positive side, spider mites have not increased as much as I assumed they would. However, a lot of Liberty herbicide has gone out, both at burndown and as a postemerge. It suppresses mites to some extent, so maybe that’s helped hold them back early in the year.


“Cotton aphids are still hanging around. No big influxes have been reported but people are reporting them in more fields. Again, nothing is at blow-out levels. What to do is a field-by-field call. If a field needs a plant bug application, a lot of guys are using Transform because it works on aphids, too. But I have not heard of aphids triggering a specific spray on their own.


“No bollworm pressure to speak of, and trap counts actually eased up some. I think we were in the middle of a bollworm flight a week or two ago but our corn wasn’t at a susceptible stage yet. So, the moths flew past it. I don’t know where they went because they’re not in soybeans or cotton.”


Phillip McKibben, McKibben Ag Services, Mathiston, Mississippi:

“I was bound and determined to start on Pix applications earlier and more aggressively than I ever had. We actually began applications but then rain started and we got behind.


“It’s funny to be on the tenth leaf and feel like you’re behind because you’ve only applied 10 ounces of Pix. Maybe that’s more of an emotional response than actually being behind, but last year we started behind and never caught up. Right now (6/19), we’re trying to apply 16 ounces on every acre that has not had an application yet.


“We already have some plants at 24 inches and I think a pint will do it for right now on that cotton. As far as I’m concerned, everything we grow now is more aggressive than what growers planted 10 years ago, and it’s a struggle to keep them under control.


“Where we’re applying Pix, probably half those fields are receiving a plant bug treatment, too. If we’re not finding plant bugs, we won’t add an insecticide.


“A spot or two of spider mites developed in very localized areas, and we treated those in one field. As it turned out, we treated that same field for mites last year. Usually, we deal with mites in about one out of every five years, and most of the time we don’t have to treat any. I’m hoping that this isn’t turning into a long-term trend.


“A general rain came through last week, so corn went into tassel with good moisture. We already were pumping water everywhere we could. Right now, corn appears to have good yield potential. Most of our soybeans are in mid-bloom.


“The most notable problem in soybeans has been herbicide runoff from where road crews sprayed highway rights of ways. Where there wasn’t a decent ditch, heavy rains moved the herbicides into the beans. We’re seeing this on 30 or 35 fields to varying degrees.


“Depending on the location, treatments were made by county or state crews or private contractors. Let me add, this isn’t drift. The applications were made in April and the injury is now showing up. Overall, this hasn’t been a huge number of acres but it’s turned into a real thorn in our side. A couple of different products are involved.


“Some of this herbicide, I’ve learned, can persist in the soil for 2 or 3 years. A lot of these beans will be followed by sweet potatoes, which also are sensitive. One grower already has filed a complaint about damage to 10 acres of sweet potatoes.”


Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist:

“This bollworm moth flight continues and trap counts are still way up this week. The flight has been ongoing for 3 weeks in a row. They’re concentrating in soybeans that are blooming but haven’t lapped, and we’re finding worms now.


“A lot of those fields are running 5 to 6 worms per 25 sweeps but we’re also hitting fields at 10 to 15 per 25 sweeps, and those beans are being treated. The way this flight has shaped up, it will keep coming. I’m afraid this is on track to be like bollworm years in 2011 or 2013 when flights extended over a substantial number of weeks.


“A lot of these moths also are going to corn and we’re now finding worms. This week the ones I found in corn were small, no more than a quarter-inch, but the numbers are building. It looks like they’ll come out of corn in the first to second week of July. A lot of late-planted beans will be blooming, and I’m afraid bollworms will be an issue.


“A good deal of our cotton is just starting to bloom this week and that’s when it’s game-on for bollworms in dual-gene cotton. We’ll see how well it performs in the next 7 to 10 days and how readily worms might develop in it. So far, we’re not seeing a lot of eggs laid in cotton.


“We had to spray the dual-gene cotton multiple times in bad years. Considering that growers already paid the tech fee, it’s a hard pill to swallow when you have to treat twice with something like Prevathon or Besiege.”


Darrin Dodds, Mississippi Cotton Specialist:

“A lot of fertilizer is going out. Folks are trying to get things in place, given that we’re 2 weeks away from the Fourth of July and we will be seeing more blooms. A good deal of polypipe is down or is being rolled out. I don’t think that much irrigation has started but people want to be ready if necessary.


“Parts of the state have gotten dry. Some rain fell in the Delta and pretty good chances remain in the forecast, at least for Thursday and Friday. Farmers are still cleaning up weeds but by the end of the month we should mostly be on the backside of weed management.


Tyler Hydrick, Hydrick’s Crop Consulting, Inc., Jonesboro, Arkansas:

“Plant bug numbers are starting to pick up. We have multiple fruiting nodes now and are even seeing sporadic blooms. Plant bug counts are mostly around 4 bugs per 100 sweeps (as of 6/19). So far, we haven’t seen anything above 8.


“We’re fighting mites in places where pressure tends to be historically high. Overall, they haven’t died out but we’re also not seeing as much damage as we did earlier in the season. Right now, we’re anticipating that bollworm flight that’s coming from south Arkansas. I haven’t seen many eggs in cotton but have been finding worms in soybeans.”


Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee:

“Scattered plant bug populations are out there but it’s just a scout-and-spray scenario. Nobody is reporting blowout numbers anywhere.”


Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist:

“Most calls seem to be about spider mites. I still wouldn’t say they’re out of control anywhere but populations are increasing in both the hills and the Delta. Quite a bit of applications have already been made.



“Some plant bug sprays are going out. The numbers aren’t anything I’d call horrible – just at threshold or bumping up towards it. They’re not everywhere, either. I swept a bunch of cotton today (6/19) and hardly found anything. A couple of people in the Delta reported a pretty good egg lay in cotton, but it’s not blooming, so the eggs aren’t anything to worry about.”


Eddy Cates, Cates Agritech Inc., Marion, Arkansas:

“It’s hot and dry and we need rain. The forecast says there’s a 50% to 60% chance on Wednesday through Friday (6/20-23).


“A lot of our cotton is about a week away from blooming and is at about 12 nodes, and we’re having to irrigate everything we can. Some already has been watered once and people are rolling out a lot of polypipe or are into their first watering now (6/19). It’s been about 3 weeks since the last general shower and that didn’t amount to much. We’ve really only had isolated storms.


“We’re spraying spider mites on cotton. The ditch banks are starting to dry up, so plant bugs are moving into cotton and we’re treating them, too. We’re putting some Pix out where we already have furrow-irrigated once or where we have been going across it with a pivot.”


Gary Wolfe, La-Ark Agricultural Consulting, Ida, Louisiana:

“Our last rain of any significances fell on April 20. In the last 4 weeks, we’ve only had 0.3 to 0.4 of an inch in isolated places. Mostly, though, totals have been zeros.


“Plant bugs have been very light except where we can irrigate and counts jumped up some in that cotton. Mainly, we’ve run imidacloprid once on some cotton.


“I am finding a lot of adult plant bugs in alfalfa but not a high population of immatures, and I’m not sure why not. Maybe the heat affected reproduction. When I sweep alfalfa, the net is usually tied up with immatures – but not right now.


“I found one colony of aphids last week and that was next to a pecan tree. No mites yet. The forecast has a pretty good chance of rain here on Wednesday and Thursday (6/20-21) and the second shot of herbicide is about to go out on some fields. I dread seeing money spent on that but on some of this dryland cotton we have no choice. I’m not working with insurance farmers.


“Where growers can irrigate, they’re spraying for weeds and adding something for plant bugs and that’s all we’re doing right now. Some fields had to be watered up and we have distinctly mixed soils in places – sand on one end and clay on the other. So in some of those fields we have plants approaching bloom on one end but just coming up on the other end. That’s complicating Pix and herbicide planning.


“Dryland corn looks like it’s pretty much over. Irrigated corn looks pretty decent.”


Tucker Miller, Ind. Consultant, Drew, Mississippi:

“Today (6/18) I found what will be a bloom tomorrow in some of the first cotton we planted. I looked and looked and thought I would find a bloom, so we at least know blooming is about to start in several places.


“We just came out of a farm that we sprayed for plant bugs a couple of weeks ago. They were still holding last week but now they’re up to a threshold and we’re lining up an application. We’ll probably include some Diamond with whatever insecticide we use.



“It looks like a pretty good flush of adults now. That particular field is surrounded by corn and soybeans, so this isn’t necessarily a surprise. Some cotton hasn’t been sprayed for plant bugs yet, other fields have had one shot and a few now will have a second application. Overall, nothing has been terribly bad yet.


“We did find a 50-acre spot with spider mites. The forecast says we perhaps will get a general rain this week, which could help with mites. Pix is going out on varieties where we need to gain early control and we’re trying to get layby applications out in places, too.


“A lot of our soybeans are at R3.5 and we’re lining up fungicides on some of those. We’ll wait until the end of this week to see if any bugs need to be treated when we go across the field, but insects in soybeans have been very light. Corn is well on its way. We’ve been irrigating for 2 weeks and brown silks are apparent in places. We’ll check southwestern corn borer traps tomorrow but I haven’t seen any insect activity in corn and very little disease, for that matter.”


Bill Robertson, Arkansas Extension Cotton Specialist:

“People are sharing photos of cotton blooms. Some shots from Clay County were being circulated and a couple of people called to say they found blooms, too. Those fields were likely planted in the last few days of April. By the end of this week and by this time next week, a good deal of cotton will be blooming.


“On a wide basis, people are trying to manage pigweed. Also, I think the need to irrigate kind of caught some folks by surprise. With the way this crop started, everything has been done on a reactive basis. We planted when possible. After that, wet weather set in and we fell behind on herbicide applications and at the same time we still had cotton left to plant. It’s been a tough year.


“The older cotton does look pretty good but it hasn’t been easy to get it to that point. We could really use a rain. I’m in a field right now (morning, 6/19) and the polypipe is rolled out and the well is running. A lot of cotton, in fact, was watered last week and more pipe is being put in place even as we speak.”


Dan Fromme, Louisiana Extension Cotton And Corn Specialist:

“Rain in our cotton parishes has still been mostly spotty and erratic. Cotton is blooming and it needs a rain. That’s where we were a week ago and the situation has only changed in those fairly isolated cases where it rained a half-inch to an inch at some point.


“Most of the good rain went to Texas. We’ve got cloudy skies and drizzle, and except for the heat, you’d think it was a fall day. Cotton is moving into the bloom stage, so water demand will significantly jump.”




Arkansas Cotton: As Acres Rebound, So Do Gin Numbers   6-19


Trade Policy: 25% Chinese Tariff – Lose-Lose Proposition for Both Countries   6-20


Thompson On Cotton: One Hiccup And Back To 90 Cents?   6-20


Mississippi Cotton: Managing Plant Growth Regulator Applications   6-19


Alabama Cotton: Plant Bug Management – Bollworm Problems 6-19


Tennessee Cotton: Should You Keep an Herbicide Injured Crop? 6-18




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