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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 sponsoring our coverage.
Open bolls are becoming more obvious across a wider area and a small amount of defoliation could crank up this week in Louisiana.
More fields are being terminated as far as worms and bugs go. Some later cotton will be carried farther into the month. Also, spider mite applications will continue in northeast Arkansas and probably in the Missouri Bootheel. See comments by Gus Lorenz.
The crop is shaping up nicely, with great potential across plenty of acres.
Tucker Miller, Ind. Consultant, Drew, Mississippi:
“I’m through spraying about half of this cotton. We did kind of an end-of-season spray about a week ago for plant bugs and such, and that will be it for most of this crop. We can find a few plant bugs in the top but that cotton has big bolls 3 nodes down from the top and hardly has any blooms left. Any blooms still on the plant will fall off if you tap them with a stick, so that cotton is obviously done.
“I have lined up a couple of spots of really, really late cotton for treatments. Those will be for a pretty good hatch of immature plant bugs and for a second round of worm eggs. That part of the crop was planted on May 15, with some later than that, and we can’t turn it loose yet. For eggs, we’re going with a diamide again. There were just too many not to do it.
“In the older cotton, I’m seeing a lot of potash deficiency, so plants are rapidly running out of fertilizer. To me, that’s a good sign. This is a strong boll load and it’s absorbing as much potash as it can and the plants can’t old anything else. We’ve had good weather all year and the crop moved fast, sometimes maybe faster than we might have thought.
“We have open bolls now in irrigated cotton.
“Corn harvest started in the last few days. Rain had been in the forecast but it never developed. One grower said he was averaging 204 bu/acre in dryland corn and 230 in one irrigated field. Our soybeans range from some young stuff behind wheat or oats to some fields where we’ve applied harvest aids.
“Amazingly, not much insect pressure at the moment in soybeans. We sprayed a lot of late beans for bollworms about 2 weeks ago and got good results with Intrepid Edge. Those beans are late enough that stink bugs could still be a factor, but the majority of our beans are at R6.5-plus, so we’re about finished with them. A harvest aid application also went out on milo.”
Eddy Cates, Cates Agritech Inc., Marion, Arkansas:
“We’re pretty much on the home stretch with cotton. We’re starting to turn some loose and bolls are opening. With the exception of a few late fields, the bulk of the crop is at NAWF 1 to 2.
“In those later fields, we have some pretty heavy bollworm pressure and we’re still spraying part of that cotton.
“Spider mites have been an issue for about the last month and we’ve probably sprayed 90% of our fields at least once. In fact, that number may be closer to 95%. I can’t point to too many fields that haven’t been treated for mites. We used abamectin pretty much everywhere and came back with Portal if we needed a second shot. We still have worms in later cotton along with a little plant bug activity.
“In 2 weeks (from 8/14), we’ll start defoliating a little dryland cotton that never got a rain.
“We pretty much let go of our corn 10 to 14 days ago and will probably see harvest start in the next 10 to 14 days. Most of our soybeans are at R5 to R6. We are still chasing stink bugs in soybeans. It’s been kind of a gradual build and we’ve sprayed a few fields here and there. They’ve pretty much been green stink bugs, with browns maybe running 20%. We also have fields at R6.5, so we’re to the point we can terminate insect treatments in that part of the crop.”
Gary Wolfe, La-Ark Agricultural Consulting, Ida, Louisiana:
“In the cotton I’m checking in Arkansas, there’s no insect pressure and hasn’t been all year. It rained big time yesterday (8/12) and has rained over the last few days. I’m seeing some boll rot and hard locking now toward the bottom. To make 3-bale cotton, you need those bottom bolls, so we sure want this rain to move out.
“Overall, though, the crop really looks good right now. The important part of what I just said are the words, ‘right now’.
“In places, cotton went for 100 days without rain. Some of that looks terrible, some doesn’t look too bad. I’m pleased with how the irrigated cotton has shaped up. Some of our prettiest cotton was watered up and we continued watering it until just now. In places, cotton was chest high but it’s maybe knee-high now because it has that kind of boll load.
“We applied Pix on one farm and included an insecticide as a preventive, and that will be our last shot there. Some cotton is still going and we’ll probably spray part of that again.
“In soybeans, we sprayed one patch for green cloverworms. The grower was going to water, so we wouldn’t be able to get in by ground right away. Plenty of moths were flying around, so we went after them.”
Dale Wells, Ind. Cotton Services, Inc., Leachville, Arkansas:
“We’re looking at wrapping up this crop. We’re still scouting a few late fields this week, looking for mites and making sure worms don’t get into the last of our cotton. But that’s a very limited amount of acreage.
“Plant bugs are behind us. A world of them are still out there but we’ve accumulated enough heat units that the crop is safe. I’ll admit that it’s always scary when you’re scouting for mites and those plant bugs are crawling all over your hands. You feel like you’ve got to do something.
“We’re finding a few open bolls in irrigated cotton. The dryland corners are probably 40% to 50% open (as of 8/13).
“In soybeans, our early fields are at R6. The later beans range from R3 to R5. In the last couple of weeks, the crop seems to have sped up. We’re keeping an eye on podworms and stink bugs in the older beans. In places, our older beans have been skimming right there at threshold for stink bugs. If beans are less than R6, the threshold is 9 per 25 sweeps. Once you reach R6, it doubles to 18 per 25 sweeps.
“So far, I haven’t seen anyone cutting corn. I turned loose of most of my corn a couple of weeks ago. If we’re not cutting corn by the end of this week, we will be next week.”
Phillip McKibben, McKibben Ag Services, Mathiston, Mississippi:
“I saw my first open bolls this week, so there’s some light at the end of the tunnel.
“We treated about half of our cotton acres for bollworms. Of that, we treated about half with a diamide and were disappointed with the results. We’re not exactly sure what happened. With the other treatments, we went with a full pound of acephate plus a pyrethroid.
“In that half of our cotton that we didn’t spray at all, it’s been hard to find a worm or a damaged boll.
“Most of our cotton has bloomed out the top and some drought-stressed cotton has thrown off everything smaller than a quarter-size boll. That happened 7 to 10 days ago (from 8/14). Our greenest cotton is still at 2 to 3 NAWF.
“We’re treating plant bugs in places this week in some green cotton that has gone the longest since the last application. Acephate and a pyrethroid are going out. We’ve already terminated insect management on drought-stressed cotton and will probably finish looking at a good bit of the rest of the crop next week. We’ll hang onto the latest fields for at least 2 more weeks.
“Harvest will start this week in some 110-day corn that’s running 18% to 19% moisture. The bulk of our corn harvest, though, will probably begin in the first week of September.
“In places, we have exceptionally high green cloverworm (GCW) numbers in soybeans. These aren’t just small, isolated fields. Maybe 2,000 acres are like that. Pressure varies, from nothing to really heavy. We treated a few fields last week and will spray quite a bit more this week. Most of the pressure is in beans between R5 and R5.5. In places, they’re running 2X threshold. We’re not finding them in R6 beans but we also have a higher tolerance for them at R6 and beyond.”
Tyler Hydrick, Hydrick’s Crop Consulting, Inc., Jonesboro, Arkansas:
“At the end of this week we’ll shut off water on several cotton fields and will terminate irrigation on a lot more next week. This cotton has moved fast. It came out of the ground firing on all cylinders.
“We’re starting to see open cotton and for the most part we’re finished spraying anything except for bollworm materials in later fields.
“Our soybeans range from late R2 to some that are far enough along that we’ll roll up polypipe next week. We are starting to pick up a lot of brown stink bugs in r6 beans. Where they’re at treatment levels, we’re going in with bifenthrin and acephate.
“Our corn is done. No one has cut a field yet (as of 8/13) but one will probably be cut next week somewhere.”
Sebe Brown, Northeast Louisiana Region Extension Entomologist:
“Things are winding down in cotton, particularly where it was planted early or on a timely schedule. We’re seeing quite a few open bolls, especially with this current round of heat and sunshine. A little defoliation may start this week in a little April-planted cotton.
“The final plant bug and stink bug applications are going out on plenty of acres. Except for some really late cotton, worms are behind us.
“In soybeans, we’re seeing a good deal more fields being desiccated or close to that point. Loopers and velvetbean caterpillars are still hit or miss. Stink bugs aren’t very widespread, either. A lot of soybeans haven’t been sprayed for anything this year, which is very, very unusual in Louisiana. A consultant said that this was the cleanest he’s seen soybeans in a decade.”
Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist:
“The only thing going on in cotton are spider mites. We were in northeast Arkansas last week and I don’t think I’ve ever seen mites quite as bad as they were up there.
“People are still battling them and, unfortunately, you can’t let go of them like you would plant bugs or bollworms. Where we figure 250 or 350 degree-days after NAWF5 for plant bugs and bollworms, you have to stay on top of spider mites to 600 to 700 – essentially, almost to harvest.
“You have to protect the leaves so plants can finish filling bolls. Some people up there have sprayed 4 and 5 times and a lot of growers have treated 3 times. This is putting a heavy burden on folks who have already burned through plenty of money.
“We’re seeing a similar situation in soybeans with bollworms and other pests. Growers have spent a boatload of dollars on herbicides and insecticides and looking at a market with $8 or $8.50 beans. They simply don’t want to spray soybeans again.
“Unfortunately, some bad decisions are being made based on that. In certain areas, bollworms are really bad and people went with the less-expensive option – a pyrethroid plus acephate – and fields are back at threshold 2 weeks later.
“Numbers are extremely high in some late-planted beans – 75 to 100 per 25 sweeps. On top of that, soybean loopers are coming in really fast. In most cases, loopers are still small and haven’t taken off yet, so defoliation hasn’t started to any degree. But it will if they go untreated.
“People tell me their beans are at R5, R5.5 or R6 and they want to know when they can terminate treatments. Part of the decision depends on the stage of the crop and the amount of pressure. If beans are barely touching R6 and looper pressure is excessive, you probably still need to spray.
“Bean leaf beetles (BLB) are building in some areas, too, and causing defoliation. When you throw loopers on top of that, the decisions get more complicated. A lot of those beans are at R5 and you may actually have a combination of worms along with BLB. In some fields reaching R5, we’re also finding stink bugs. When you run into these kinds of pest combinations, no one product covers them all, so you’re looking at tankmixes, which get expensive.”
Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist:
“A lot of cotton is starting to finish up. That’s a good thing. This season has been a long run as far as pests go.
“We’re still getting reports every day about fresh eggs being laid. But except for late-planted cotton, we’re past the point that eggs matter. At 2 to 3 NAWF, which is a portion of this crop, you can find a lot of plant bugs in the top. But in mid-August, we don’t do very well when it comes to killing plant bugs, regardless of the product. This year isn’t an exception.
“By now, plant bugs have been exposed to everything under the sun, so you’re not going to take out any kind of economic numbers. Plus, most anything you’d try to protect this late will probably fall off anyway. We simply can’t show a yield improvement by killing plant bugs in the top couple of nodes. I’m already seeing some of that shed due to weather or other reasons unrelated to plant bugs.
“In soybeans, loopers started showing up in places last week and are spreading this week. Some treatments are going out on threshold levels. I suspect we’re on the front edge and more sprays will go out for loopers next week.
“Remember that pyrethroids don’t work on soybean loopers. Over the last couple of years, we’ve also seen less control with the diamides and residual isn’t as long with those materials as it once was. So, some tolerance may have built.
“Stink bugs are building in places. Some are running at half-threshold levels up to a full threshold or above. With more beans drying down, we’ll see them increasingly concentrate on those last greener fields.”
Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee:
“In cotton, we’re cutting loose a lot of fields this week. The majority of the crop has accumulated more than enough DD 60s to terminate insect control.
“Of course, we still have some later fields and greener bottoms that we’re monitoring. A few plant bug and bollworm sprays are going out, but the bollworm moth flight has still not impressed me. Aside from a few hot spots, numbers so far are about half what we normally expect.
“Although the flight isn’t impressive, we are seeing numerous escapes in our dual-gene cotton. That’s a little disappointing but I’m trying to remind everyone about our termination rules. A lot of people are still looking in cut-out cotton that they should actually be cutting loose.
“They’re seeing a lot of adult plant bugs congregating in white blooms in the top. I’m trying to convince them that those white blooms don’t have a chance of making it to a harvestable boll, so don’t get too excited about protecting them.
“People kind of cherry-pick this time of the year when they walk down the row and check for insects. They’ll see plant bugs in a white bloom but overlook the fact that there’s only one white bloom about every 20 feet.
“We do still have some cotton that’s susceptible to bollworms but our last effective bloom date is essentially now (8/15), based on historic weather data. If you do have late cotton, you’ve got to protect those last effective blooms for another couple of weeks and then you’re done.
“In soybeans, a little corn earworm spraying is still underway, particularly in river bottoms. Stink bug numbers also are pretty high in some areas, and that seems to be more in the hills of the state, like the counties around Jackson.
“Some people are spraying for that, plus green cloverworms are lingering. Nothing is exploding but we’re in that time of the year when insects in soybeans get worse and worse as the season progresses.”
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