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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.



Cotton harvest has started in places. A couple of reports filtered in through Twitter:


More defoliation would have started by now but growers held back until the tropical system, Gordon, moved through.




Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee:

“Cotton is done as far as bug control goes. Defoliation has started here and there. A lot of people aren’t making a push yet because they’re still trying to harvest soybeans and corn.


“For the first time in a long time, defoliation started in Tennessee in August. Temperatures have been pretty good and defoliation should progress pretty quickly. We have some variability with the crop but I think it is good overall.


“In soybeans, people are cutting now (9/5) in earlier-planted beans. But in wheat beans and later planted fields, stink bugs built and a lot of treatments have been going out. I’m seeing a few loopers and other pests. But aside from stink bugs, very little else has reached treatment level in soybeans.”


Kyle Skinner, Skinner Ag, Starkville, Mississippi:

“Rain totals from the storm (Gordon) have varied. In Noxubee County, it’s rained 1 to 2 inches. North of U.S. 82, it’s only rained a half-inch so far (9/5) but the storm is still moving up that way. I’m not very concerned about it. We didn’t really want it, but Gordon hasn’t turned into one of those huge yield killers.  


“We started defoliating last Friday. We’re doing two shots on some cotton and only one shot on other fields. In all, we’ve started defoliation on 1,500 acres. Once Gordon blows through, we’ll resume as soon as the plane can get in the air.


“Corn is doing really well. Dryland fields here and there have cut 80 to 90 bu/acre but a lot of people are telling me about 160 to 200 bu/acre averages in both dryland and irrigated corn. Some guys who farm redder dirt to the north have averaged 150 to 160 in dryland corn and they’re really pleased with that. We’re 90% finished with corn harvest.  


“Desiccants went out on some soybeans and harvest started in places. No feedback yet on yields. We sprayed for bean leaf beetles about 2 weeks ago. We have beans that are kind of at R6.5 with close to 20% leaf defoliation from feeding. But considering the cost of treatments and how close we are to harvest, I’m letting them go.” 


Tyler Sandlin, Extension Crop Specialist, North Alabama, Belle Mina:

“Overall, the crop in north Alabama looks pretty good. We do have a couple of areas with localized droughts and that cotton burned up. The situation is minimal when you consider the full crop, although it’s sure a serious thing for the farmers who are affected.  


“In general, we wish we’d caught another rain or two, but some of the early crop-set is pretty good. To date (9/5), I don’t know of anyone defoliating cotton. However, if the weather forecast is favorable next Monday, some of those drought-stressed fields will be the first to go. People will start there and the brunt of defoliation will be underway from mid-September on.



“Cotton has finished a good bit earlier than last year. In my book, last year’s crop was unusually late, which I think was largely due to cloudy weather. We had the heat units but less-than-optimal sunshine.  


“In corn, at least a couple of producers with dryers are almost finished with harvest. Other growers are just starting. Yields I’ve heard so far are respectable, especially for dryland corn. A lot of that received moisture early and then again during silking, which helped.”


Victor Roth, Roth Farm Service, Malden, Missouri:

“We’re talking about defoliation. If it hadn’t been for off-and-on rainy weather, some probably would have already gone out. One grower said he might start on a few acres today (9/4), just kind of easing into it. We have some concerns with this tropical system (Gordon) that’s supposed to come through the area. Where cotton isn’t ready yet, it should be there shortly.”


Hank Jones, C&J Ag Consulting, Pioneer, Louisiana:

“I don’t think we’ll be affected much by this tropical system (Gordon). It’s not a category 3 hurricane. If that were the case, it might still be a category 1 hurricane when it reached us, but that’s not how it’s shaping up (as of late afternoon, 9/4).


“Frankly, I’m more worried about what the weather does on Friday and into the weekend once the storm passes through. If the sun comes out right away and things dry up quickly, we’re back in business. But if cloudy weather persists and we get these little spits of rain, we’ll see sprouting in both cotton and soybeans.


“Cotton has pretty much shut down. A little defoliation started, just enough to get pickers stirred up. I’ve just made the second shot on a few acres. Once we’re into dry weather again, those applications will start up fast and 50% to 60% of the cotton will get the first shot right away.


“Most of this cotton looks pretty good and it’s one of the better crops I’ve checked in the last 3 or 4 years. What cotton has been defoliated looks nice. Maybe we’ll have a chance to redeem ourselves after bad crops in the last couple of years.


“Soybeans cut so far have been excellent without exception. We’re on pace for this to be the best bean crop I’ve ever checked and, by far, the least expensive. Disease pressure has been low and I’ve recommended very few fungicide applications.


“As far as redbanded stink bugs go, 2018 has been the polar opposite to the overwhelming pressure that hit us in recent years. At least a third of my soybeans never had an insecticide. They were cut and went to the elevator without any damage.


“A lot of fields are averaging into the high 80s (bu/acre). The lowest yield I’ve heard was in the upper 40s, and those were dryland beans on clay. But a lot of dryland beans on better dirt are averaging into the 60s and 70s. Most everybody is pretty pleased with their soybeans.


“With corn, I’m hearing yields ranging from 190 to 250 bu/acre. About 30% of our corn was above the 5-year average and 70% fell within the 5-year average. We’re done with corn harvest except for one late-season variety that root-lodged pretty badly, regardless of locations.


“Where yields were off a little, it probably had to do with irrigation – how well the water moved to the end of the field. If the amounts were short at the end of the row, you could see that on the yield monitor.


“With rice, we’re kind of in the middle of harvest. Some hybrids are running 225 to 230 bu/acre green. The folks at the elevator say this looks like good rice but we still have a lot out there. The storm is a concern, of course.”


Blake Foust, Consultant, Southern Heritage Cotton, LLC, Forrest City, Arkansas:

“We’re defoliating pretty hard and heavy now. We haven’t picked any yet but some fields have had their second shot. We pretty much pulled back yesterday (9/4) on further defoliation until the storm (Gordon) comes through. Dropp needs 24 hours without rain, so we decided to hold off on more applications until we’re into drier weather again.


“We’ve probably started defoliation on 25% of the cotton. If not for the likelihood of rain, we would have kept on trucking.


“Corn harvest is underway. Guys who weren’t going to dry corn had a heck of a time waiting for moisture to go down. It seemed to stay between 18% and 20% forever, and some harvest has just started.



“In soybeans, we’re cutting some MG3.8 and MG4.1 varieties and desiccating more fields. We cut 2 dryland fields that were planted really early and then were hit by charcoal rot, and no one wants to think about those yields now. But after this weather moves through, we’ll be into soybean harvest pretty good.


“Rice harvest has been moving along. From what I’m hearing, this is a bang-up rice crop. Frankly, some of the yields are so high that I’m embarrassed to talk about them. Every now and then, growers will hit a field that’s not doing too well. Some of that rice didn’t look right all year but it’s been difficult to pin down the problem.”


Harold Lambert, Independent Consultant, Innis, Louisiana:

“A little defoliation started but we have mostly put that on hold with as wet as the weather has been. It’s rained enough that cotton has kind of taken a beating. We sure didn’t need these conditions with a lot of open bolls.


“Once this system (Gordon) moves through and the forecast calls for a window of open weather, more defoliation will start up. Our early-planted beans ahead of sugarcane planting are all harvested and a lot of our later MGIVs have been cut, as well. But we also have quite a bit of the crop that’s been desiccated but frequent rains have kept combines out of the field.


“We do have a smattering of early to mid MGV beans. Depending on planting dates, they’re still in some phase of pod development. Any stink bugs still around are rolling into those fields, and a fair amount of spraying has been necessary. Fortunately, we don’t plant as many of those varieties as we once did.


“My rice was planted later after the crawfish season ended. It’s all been drained but none has been harvested yet, as far as I know. Some rice stink bug pressure developed but nothing as intense as what we’ve had in the past.”


Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist:

“Except for a few questions about plant bugs in very late-planted fields, not much is happening in cotton – except for defoliation. Picking has started on a limited basis.


“In soybeans, a few brown and green stink bugs are turning up in late fields. I’m still surprised that loopers didn’t materialize to any extent in the latter part of August. We had a big run several weeks ago and people cleaned them up where necessary. Since then, the virus developed and loopers crashed. I guess the virus is still around and it’s hanging with loopers as they move up the state. This is perhaps the most lackluster year for soybean loopers that I’ve ever seen.”




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Mississippi Cotton: Updated 2018 Defoliation Guide   9-3


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Tennessee Weeds: Monitor Grass Control Failures from the Combine, Picker 8-31


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