Larry Stalcup, AgFax Southwest Editor
Debra L. Ferguson, AgFax Media Managing Editor

Owen Taylor, AgFax Editorial Director

Optimism rules! Rain continues to fuel hope for the region’s best crop in years. From the North Canadian River, flowing bank-to-bank in parts of the Panhandle, to the Rio Grande, where cotton is flourishing and the sugarcane aphid has crashed, prayers have been answered.


Still, it won’t be a cakewalk. The usual suspects – stink bugs, verde plant bugs, spider mites and fleahoppers – are being monitored and treated in the southern half of Texas. There’s a sugarcane aphid watch along the coast and in the Blacklands. Thrips are expected to appear in emerging cotton further north.


Eastern New Mexico saw good rain, but southwestern fields still count solely on irrigation. The Kansas crop is progressing after nice showers. Oklahoma’s dryland fields should see good stands, and will commence fighting weed invasions shortly.


Pigweed resistance should become evident with warmer weather in the Panhandle and South Plains.


Hail damage and flooded fields dampened some of the happiness yielded by welcomed rain. But it’s a tradeoff most will take.


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Stu Duncan, KSU Crops & Soils Specialist, Manhattan, Kansas: “We’ve had some good rainfall. Cotton has made some pretty good progress. As far as the percentage planted, I think we have more planted than some think. We are past the insurance deadline. Anything planted now is just a shot in the dark.


“We’re collecting a little heat and I think it has emerged pretty well. I don’t think we have any big issues yet. We’re watching for thrips more than anything else.


“Corn is also looking pretty darn good. It has really taken off. It’s at 8 to 10 leaf by now. Ears will be forming pretty quickly.


“Soybeans are also coming along pretty well. With the early situations we saw with corn, I think we will be wall-to-wall with soybeans.


“Some of the late rain will help wheat that was delayed. We’re probably a week to 10 days behind.”


Gaylon Morgan, Texas A&M AgriLife State Cotton Specialist, College Station: “We caught a little more rain and things are looking quite good. Fleahopper numbers have gone up a bit in the southern Blacklands and Upper Gulf Coast. There has been a lot of spraying for them. But the crop condition is really good. Some areas that were underwater in the El Campo and Wharton County area after the Memorial Day weekend rains are coming out of it.


“The Rolling Plains received another 2 to 3 inches, which was really needed in areas around Haskell and Munday that missed the rain 2 weeks ago. There will be a lot of dryland cotton planted in that area this coming week. The insurance deadline for planting dryland in the northern Rolling Plains is June 15-20, so they will be socking it in.


“This week’s crop progress report showed 85% of Texas cotton had been planted, compared to 62% last week. So planters have really been rolling.”



Mark Nemec, MJN Consulting, Waco, Texas: “Most fields are in pretty good shape after good rains. Cotton is growing off pretty good with most of it in the match-head square stage. Rain has pushed growth along and we’re putting on some PGRs this week. Some fields will also need a herbicide application as soon as it dries up.


“We’re picking up some fleahopper numbers in the Blacklands and they’re pretty heavy in spots, especially on the Brazos River Bottom. We sprayed for fleahoppers quite a bit last week.


“On other crops – that large boom you might have heard – that was the sugarcane aphid showing up here in the Blacklands. Those things explode fast. We’re doing a lot of treating. Otherwise, sorghum is looking good and starting to head out.


“Corn is looking beautiful. It’s the best-looking corn crop we’ve had in a while. But we are picking up some spider mites in a few sandier soil fields.


“Our wheat crop came off surprisingly good. We were hoping for 35 bushels per acre after 2 late freezes and drought. But yields have averaged from 45 to 55 bushels. We were pleasantly surprised.”


Danielle Sekula Ortiz, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Weslaco/Lower Rio Grande Valley: “Cotton is putting on a good fruit load and continues to bloom at anywhere from 12 to 16 nodes per plant. A few fleahoppers are being seen in Hidalgo and Cameron counties, while in Willacy County, there have been reports of sprayable levels of fleahoppers.


“Spider mites were also at high levels in a few fields in Willacy County. They are being treated. In eastern Willacy County, low numbers of adult and nymph verde bugs are starting to pop up.


“In fields along the river south of Donna, Bluetown, Weslaco and in the San Benito, Los Fresnos areas, we are starting to see some whitefly adults emerge. Population is about 1 per every 5 plants. In the next 2 weeks, it will be important to keep an eye out for increasing whitefly populations in cotton.


“In grain sorghum, we noticed a crash in the sugarcane aphid populations in all counties. Similar decreases of their populations were observed in Tamaulipas, Mexico. Monitored fields are looking clean after spraying for sugarcane aphids. However, there have been reports of a handful of severely damaged sorghum fields in Cameron and Hidalgo counties that were more than likely not treated or treated too late. In the Mission area there was a report of false chinch bugs infesting the grain sorghum heads and the fields had to be treated.”


Stephen Biles, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Victoria, Calhoun & Refugio Counties: “We’re doing alright here in the short term. Cotton is starting to bloom. Nothing is stressing at the moment. We’re moving from fleahopper pest problems to scouting for stink bugs and verde plant bugs.


“We’ve seen a few verde plant bugs. We’re also picking up pretty heavy stink bug populations in our soybeans and farmers are having to spray. Stink bugs will prefer soybeans over cotton, but once beans mature, they’ll move to cotton.


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“In sorghum, I’m using an economic threshold of 100 sugarcane aphids per leaf. If a field has 100 aphids per leaf, recheck the field in 48 hours to see if the population is rising or falling and make the application decision then. We’re a few weeks behind the Valley, which is seeing the aphids crash. What I’m expecting is for them to slowly build, and some fields will reach treatable levels. We saw some fields at treatable levels in the Port Lavaca area last week.


“We started picking up some rice stink bugs, which are common in sorghum. Be careful in treating them. A lot of times we choose a pyrethroid to control them. But if we also have aphids, a pyrethroid might cause aphids to be a bigger problem. It’s not uncommon for a pyrethroid to increase an aphid population in cotton.


“When applying insecticides, make sure you put them on properly. Make sure you get good coverage, that’s very important.”


Charles Allen, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Coordinator, San Angelo: “Farmers are in the bulk of planting in the Concho Valley area after heavy rains over the Memorial Day weekend. We had another inch of rain this past weekend. The Rolling Plains area is probably not a whole lot different than we are, after they finally received good rainfall.


“It’s getting warm enough that these guys probably won’t see much thrips pressure.


Down south, we’re happy that sugarcane aphid populations have crashed in the Valley. But they did their damage on fields that didn’t get treated. There are reports that the best control of the aphid was seen from people who didn’t panic and didn’t pull the trigger too early. Most got control in 1 application.”


Randy Boman, OSU Cotton Research Director, Cotton Extension Program Leader, Altus: “We picked up more rain, beginning June 6 through the June 9. There was another 2.5 inches around Altus. So we’re at 6 inches in the last 2 weeks to 20 days. We still have some areas in Tillman County that haven’t had much, but the last round of rain was a lot better for the western edge of the state.


“The rain was good news for a lot of folks who dry-planted cotton, based on the weatherman forecasting about 100% chance for rainfall.


“We should have a lot of cotton emerging the next few days. We’ll have to deal with thrips issues along with weeds. We will have plenty of weeds to fight.”


Ryan Roberts, Ryan Roberts Crop Consulting, Farwell, Texas: “We’ve had more good rain, but I’ve had a few phone calls about hail. One patch of cotton I saw northwest of Brownfield near Sundown was hailed out.


“Most cotton is approaching the 3-leaf stage and some might hit 4-leaf this week. We are still a little behind.



“Our first flush of weeds is coming and we’re getting out our first applications of Roundup. It’s just glyphosate for now, then we’ll come back with a residual in about a week or 2.


“There is still no thrips pressure, so our seed treatments are holding up.”


John Idowu, New Mexico State University Extension Cotton Specialist, Las Cruces: “In the eastern part of the state, cotton is coming up. That includes our plots in Tucumcari. Some cotton in the east received hail damage, which accompanied rain in recent days.


“In southwestern New Mexico, we remain dry. We had several days over 100 the past week. There is still no forecast for rain. We don’t expect rain until early July. However, we are grateful that water is flowing in the canal for irrigation. Fields are looking good. I am just now applying fertilizer because I didn’t want it to get leached out from early irrigation.”


Wayne Keeling, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Weed Specialist, Lubbock: “We had 1.5 to 2 inches of rain around Lubbock with no hail. With that and other rainfall, there’s an indication that weeds are going to be strong.


“People need to be on the lookout for resistant weeds. It will be interesting to see what kind of problems pop up. Whether we have more resistant pigweed is a question we’ll see answered in the next few weeks. We’re hoping that residuals go a long way.”


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Kerry Siders, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent Hockley and Cochran Counties: “We had some golf ball or even tennis ball size hail. But all in all, we faired okay. We probably have lost some acres, but I think the trade off for another 2 inches of rain, is a pretty good trade.


“Some cotton is on the third true leaf, while other fields that were planted just before the last big rain have seen some emergence and disease issues. A lot of that cotton was either replanted, or fields were rotary hoed to straighten them out. Some cotton is still trying to come out of the ground. However, it’s hard to complain with the kind of rain we’ve had. We will have some dryland cotton. We haven’t been able to say that in the past couple of years.


“Our corn looks good, although there is a little hail damage in some areas of the county.


“Most peanuts are in pretty good shape. I don’t like to say peanuts are bullet proof, but they can handle hail better than other crops. We’re probably 10 days to 2 weeks off before we see our first bloom.


“I am really encouraged by the quality of soils we’re likely to see after these rains. We had faced salinity problems with the dry weather. But we’ve had 7 inches of rain in the past 10 days, so we should have flushed out salts in the root zones. Any fertilizer we apply should respond better to a higher quality soil.”


Mark Kelley, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Cotton Specialist, Lubbock: “We’re in good shape for water. We had another general across-the-plains rain event. But there was some hail reported in parts of Lamb, Hockley and other counties.


“Cotton growth is in various stages over the Lubbock-South Plains region. Some is doing very well, some is being replanted and some is having trouble pushing through the crust caused by the rain. We’ll see rotary hoes rolling again to break up the crust.”


Rex Brandon, Crop Production Services consultant, Dumas, Texas/northern Panhandle area: “There had been some thrips pressure, but I’m sure that changed with this big rain. Some guys have flooded-out cotton and there has been a little hail.


"Since farmers now have a full soil profile, some may come back with some short-season corn. Our full season corn looks good. It’s 6 to 12 inches tall. Farmers are starting to side dress, As soon as it dries up, there will be a lot of postherbicide going on.”



Cotton: Texas Economist Gives Market Overview – Ag Market Network, June 12

Oklahoma: Cotton Management Meeting June 12 Near Hydro

Texas: Grain, Weed, and Cotton Field Day, Thrall, June 17

Texas: Ag Business Planning Workshop Slated June 28 in Belton

Oklahoma Cotton: Planting After June 15 Means a Yield Loss  6-9

Kansas: Rain Helped Planting But Still Need More – USDA 6-9

Oklahoma Cotton: Spray or Nurse Tank Cleanout Concerns 6-9

New Mexico: Flood Irrigation Active as Heat Saps Soil Moisture – USDA 6-9

Texas: Ogallala Aquifer Decline Slows in Key High Plains Area  6-9

Oklahoma: Rain Always Helps – Planting, Emergence Good – USDA 6-9

Texas: Rainfall Slowed Wheat Harvest in Southeast Texas; Hail on So. High Plains Cotton – USDA 6-9



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AgFax Southwest Cotton is published and distributed by AgFax Media, LLC.  AgFax Media crop newsletters include: AgFax Midsouth Cotton; AgFax Southeast Cotton; AgFax Southwest Cotton; AgFax Peanuts; AgFax Rice; AgFax Southern Grain; AgFax West, AgFax Almonds, AgFax Updates. Owen Taylor, Editorial Director, and Debra L. Ferguson, Agfax Managing Editor, AgFax Media LLC, 142 Westlake Drive, Brandon, MS 39047,, Office: 601-992-9488.  ©2014 AgFax Media, LLC.  

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