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Larry Stalcup, AgFax Southwest Cotton Editor

Debra L Ferguson, AgFax Media Managing Editor  


Special thanks to PhytoGen, the exclusive sponsor of AgFax Southwest Cotton. 


OVERVIEW from Larry 

Thrips, thrips, and more thrips – armies of them are moving out of wheat and invading young cotton in some Panhandle and South Plains areas as stand establishment increases. Read Blayne Reed’s report for the details.

Fleahoppers, lygus and verde plant bugs are appearing farther south as plants hit squaring and approach bloom. Bollworms are apparent in parts of the Coastal Bend. 

Resistant pigweed and waterhemp are popping up. Growers who started with a herbicide management plan are seeing the payoff with their clean fields. But the cotton season has a long way to grow, so expect the hooded sprayers to be showing up in some turnrows.  

Rain is needed in northwest Texas and southwestern Oklahoma, while wet weather has coastal, southeastern and central Texas growers happy. Late last week temperatures soared past 100 in some areas south of Lubbock and pushed the mid-90s elsewhere.  

Kansas is still catching up from early cool, wet conditions. Eastern New Mexico is ready for more rain and Arizona is entering its peak dry stage, although a shower may be in the forecast. 

Check out your state News Links below. Got a field day coming up? Email your details to me or call 806-671-1446.  





Blayne Reed, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Hale, Floyd & Swisher Counties: “We’re seeing some cotton fields bombarded with thrips that are moving out of wheat. When we left the field over the weekend there were up to 12.7 thrips per plant on cotton that’s just coming up. It was ridiculous! Seed treatments seem to be working, but there are so many thrips hitting young plants at the same time. We’ll have to determine if we need to spray because thrips can do some serious damage and really delay the cotton. 

“Some farmers are still trying to finish planting. Others with fields hit with isolated heavy storms are having to replant. Some dryland fields may need a planting rain, but we have some deep moisture that should help us a lot. We need a good rain but no violent storms that will beat down young plants. 

“Weed control is better than we’ve seen in some time. There are a few battles out there, but producers are doing a good job with residuals in holding down weed pressure. Overall, we’re off to an okay start. We just need the moisture and to make sure we control thrips.”

Randy Boman, Oklahoma State University Cotton Research Director, Cotton Extension Program Leader, Altus: “We’re still struggling to get going in southwestern Oklahoma. A lot of guys replanted last week. Some cotton is up and guys are spraying for thrips. Wheat is being harvested and drying down, so we’ll see more thrips movement out of those areas.

“We’re seeing some poor stands that came out of that big 2-inch rain two weeks ago.

"It looks like herbicides are holding and keeping most fields clean. However, a lot of guys sprayed paraquat before they replanted to make sure they were weed free.

“These are all typical early-season struggles, but we need to get serious now that it’s the end of May. We got a late start on irrigated cotton the last 2 years and good fall weather helped pull us through. It looks like we’re back in that mode again." 

Paul Pilsner, Pilsner Consulting, Wharton, Texas: “The cotton looks spectacular. Some of the Upper Coast fields are just blooming. We finally received good rain after getting pretty dry. It’s wet from the Lower Rio Grande Valley up to College Station. I’d say well over 90% of the cotton has good moisture. 

“We’re seeing fleahopper pressure on some younger cotton. Lygus are also showing up and I’ve seen some verde plant bugs. Bollworms are showing up in the Corpus area and that’s an indication that we’ll need to be ready for some bug pressure. 

“We’ve had to spray a lot for weeds. Resistant waterhemp has been difficult to control with all of the rain. We’ll run a layby herbicide shot with hooded sprayers, and some fields will have to be chopped.  

“Sorghum is looking good, but stinkbugs are starting to move in and could get into cotton. There are also pockets of sugarcane aphids. Thankfully, insecticides Transform and Sivanto are working well in aphid control measures.” 

Scott Meeks, Yield Pro Crop Consulting, Farwell, Texas/Western Panhandle/Eastern New Mexico: “Some guys are still planting, but most of my cotton is in. It’s been slow getting established with the cool weather and rain. Remember we even had snow in early May. Some stands look good while others are trying to get established. Cotton in the Clovis, New Mexico area is at about 3-leaf. In the Hartley, Dalhart and Spearman area it’s 1 to 2 leaves.  

“We’re spraying our first post-emergence herbicide shots along with some Orthene. We’re getting used to handling varieties with the new technologies and making sure to use good stewardship with them. We have clean fields for the most part, even though some conventional-till fields had a few more weed problems after rain kept us out of the fields."  

Seth Byrd, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Cotton Specialist, Lubbock: “The main thing now is lack of moisture. Some growers are still planting in hopes of a good shower. Those types of conditions aren’t bad as long as we eventually get a rain. Cottonseed can set a long time in dry soil. Plus, a lot of folks are facing insurance deadlines of May 31, June 5 and June 10 depending on their area, so they have to get planted. 

“Fields are clean, even though lots of guys farther east and south of Lubbock have faced a little weed pressure after rain a few weeks ago. But overall, weed control has been good, and these aren’t all Xtendflex and Enlist folks. That shows you can get clean fields by using a good residual program and not depend totally on new technology.”  


Tom Studnicka, Studnicka Consulting, Belle Plaine, Kansas: “Things are moving slowly in southern Kansas after cool, wet weather. We’re probably 70% planted and 30 to 40% emerged. So far the earlier planted stuff has pretty good stands, with a few thin stands here and there. It’s just back and forth in drying out after the rains. 

“There are a few issues with thrips on early cotton. The timing will be perfect for thrips moving out of wheat into cotton in the coming days. 

“Weed wise, guys are pretty well staying on top of things. But we’re starting to see some weed escapes and misses with some dicamba programs. A lot can be attributed to cool, wet, cloudy weather when a lot of those burndowns were applied. But it’s still a concern. 

“Our wheat crop will be above average. This pocket of wheat will be some of the best around. Corn is finally starting to take off and looks really good, even though its way late. Soybeans are about 50% planted.”   

Xandra Morris, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Hill & McLennan Counties: “Cotton is looking really good. We range from just coming up to 5 to 6 true leaves. Some growers are seeing trouble with resistant pigweed, but on the whole, they did a good job of weed control. Growers started clean and used good residuals. I haven’t heard of any drift problems with the new technologies. I have my fingers crossed that trend continues.

“Some fields had poor stands because they received about 2.5 inches of rain a week and a half ago. That was after going dry for 3 weeks after planting.

“We had thrips early and most people had to make at least one treatment. We’re now seeing some fleahoppers and aphids, but everything else is pretty quite.

"We only have a few fields of sorghum, but they faced sugarcane aphid infestations. Populations were low and didn’t require spraying. Beneficials are now increasing in number and are helping with all insects. Corn is tasseling nicely, but a lot of it is short. We’re not sure why.”

Gaylon Morgan, Texas A&M AgriLife State Cotton Specialist, College Station: “Things are looking good. We received widespread rainfall this past week. There has been some isolated hail damage in Williamson County and up in the Brazos Bottom, but we’re happy overall with the rainfall. 

“Cotton is a little past match-head square in parts of the Blacklands. Some is starting to bloom in the Upper Coast, where heavy rain and cloudy days are causing a few problems with fruit retention. 

“Despite the rain, most fields remain clean, although some growers in the Brazos Bottom are still fighting preplant burndown weeds. Weed management is essential. It’s important that guys make sure they rotate their residual herbicides and their overall herbicide programs to fight resistant pigweed.  

“With match-head square cotton, they need to watch for fleahoppers through the early bloom stage. For the more vigorous varieties, it’s time to look at PGRs, especially if plants don’t have a good fruit set.” 

Peter Dotray, Texas Tech University Weed Scientist (joint appointment with Texas A&M AgriLife), Lubbock: “It’s pleasing to see that most folks in this region have done a good job of applying pre-emerge herbicides in order to have clean fields to plant. It was hot and windy a few weeks ago, but they managed to find a window to make those early applications.  

“Starting clean is such an important principal. Those growers used some sort of residual or yellow herbicide at planting. I can tell they are already working. I’m also seeing areas where residuals were not used and weeds are coming up with the cotton.  

“I’m hoping folks will be timely with their post-emergence applications, especially those using the new dicamba and 2, 4-d tolerant cotton. Those herbicides will be most effective on small weeds. The application process is critical. I always encourage folks to use the appropriate nozzles and applicator carrier volume, as well as appropriate tank partners and herbicide adjuvants.” 

Randy Norton, University of Arizona Extension Cotton Specialist, Safford: “We have a small chance for rain today (5/30) and this is usually the driest period we have all year. We’ll take any rain we get. We’re heading out to look at early season data on our plots and cotton is looking good. Yuma area fields are not far from peak bloom. 

“Central Arizona is well into match-head square. Some will bloom in the next 2 weeks. We still don’t have any major insect pressure. There were some treatments for lygus on some early-planted stuff. As long as we can prevent fields from facing water stress, we will be in good shape. 

“Alfalfa also looks good, especially in the Colorado River area around Mohave County in the northwestern part of the state.” 

Kyle Aljoe, Crop Quest Consulting, Dimmitt, Texas: “Most cotton has been planted and emergence is probably at 60 to 70%. But much of it still needs a rain to get it up. Some had to be replanted after a hard packing rain a few weeks ago.

“Some cotton is seeing thrips coming out of wheat. So far we’re confident that seed treatments will protect the young plants. We’ll start wheat harvest this week so we’ll be watching for more thrips pressure. 

“Overall, fields are fairly clean. We had to apply herbicide to fields that saw a little flush of weeds after an early rain.  

“Some corn is up to 5 to 6 leaves and we’ve started making layby fertilizer applications. The crop looks good as long as we can keep it irrigated. Our milo just got planted last week.”

Jason Woodward, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Plant Pathologist (Cotton & Peanuts), Lubbock: “Stands look good overall, but there is some variability out there. That may be due to cool, wet conditions right after fields got planted. 

“Some growers may have questions about seedling diseases. Most of our seed treatments do the job, but in some cases where disease develops, I get calls about making foliar fungicide applications. While a fungicide may be labeled for application now, cotton is too small and we will miss our target to maximize the efficacy of those fungicides. So basically there are no seedling disease control strategies out there other than seed treatments. 

“However, if we see development of root knot nematodes on early planted cotton, an application of Vydate could be beneficial. But that depends on the availability of Vydate.” 



AgFax News Links

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Rose on Cotton: July Might be Ready for a Bounce   5-26  

Cleveland on Cotton: Demand for the 2017-2018 U.S. Crop Continues   5-26  

California Farmer Continues Battle with Clean Water Act Enforcement – DTN 5-30   

Texas Supreme Court Rules in Subsurface Trespass Case – Oil-Gas Lease 5-30  

Oklahoma Wheat: Combines Moving Ahead Despite Weather Factors 5-30  

Oklahoma Wheat: Leaf Rust Active and Head Darkening Showing Up 5-30  

Oklahoma Wheat: Harvest Starts Moving Again in Southwest 5-29  

Oklahoma Wheat: Leaf Rust Still Active in Panhandle; Reports of Head Darkening 5-29  

Texas: Finding Value in Poultry Litter as a Fertilizer 5-29  

Texas Mid-Coast Cotton: Keep Watch for Fleahoppers Til 1st Bloom 5-29  

Texas Mid-Coast Sorghum: Watch for Sugarcane Aphids, Midge, Stink Bugs, Headworms 5-29   

Texas LRGV: Lots of Pests in Cotton, Be Scouting; Sorghum Being Harvested, Watch for Midge 5-26  

Texas Sorghum: Sugarcane Aphid on the High Plains – So Far a No-Show 5-26  

Oklahoma Sorghum: Growers Face Late Planting, Replanting Decisions 5-26  

Texas Cotton, Sorghum: Abundant Cotton Aphids, Sugarcane Aphids Not So Much 5-25  

Oklahoma Crops Conference Set for 4 Locations in July 5-26  

Oklahoma Sorghum: Growers Face Late Planting, Replanting Decisions 5-26 




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