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

Rain has boosted growing conditions in the Panhandle and South Plains as growers close in on final planting. Warmer temps, plus more shower potential this week should benefit early plant growth. Sunshine is needed from the Blacklands down through the Upper Coast, where it remains too wet.


Thrips are still migrating from wheat fields into cotton across much of northwest Texas, while fleahoppers are on the radar in central and south Texas. Stinkbugs are beginning to appear in our central coverage area.


Far West Texas cotton is responding to good rain. New herbicide tech is targeting morning glory, bindweed and hog potato weed aka mesquite weed.


Oklahoma cotton has been blessed with moisture. Kansas planting is 70% completed as temperatures finally warm up. Eastern New Mexico planting is wrapping it up after good rainfall. Randy Norton reports that isolated hail came down on some Arizona fields.


A Word from Larry: 

We're always expanding our list of crop consultants, dealer personnel and Extension advisors who provide reports for AgFax Southwest Cotton. If you would like to join our contact list, just email me, or if you have questions, call 806-671-1446. 





Gaylon Morgan, Texas A&M AgriLife State Cotton Specialist, College Station: “Parts of the Upper Coast have had good rain, but growers need some sunny weather. The southern Blacklands around College Station have had too much rain, with water standing between the rows in a lot of fields. They also need to dry out. The northern Blacklands are in much better shape.


“Some cotton is blooming in the southern Blacklands. Most is about 2 weeks behind, more like match-head square or a little further along.


“I’ve seen several crop dusters likely flying on insecticide this morning (6/6) because it’s too wet to get sprayers in the field. Some consultants are telling me they expect stinkbugs to be an issue in the Blacklands in the coming weeks.


“Fields remain clean for the most part, but some guys who didn’t get a good burndown are still fighting weeds. Hopefully, growers got PGRs applied before the big rains. Some areas that had extended cloudiness probably had fruit shed. Those plants will likely see extended vegetative growth, so PGRs will help.”  


Stu Duncan, Kansas State University Crops & Soils Specialist, Manhattan: “We’re still sneaking in some seed. We’re close to 70% planted after being 32% planted last week. Central Kansas areas keep getting rain, which has slowed those guys down. Cotton that has emerged looks good. A lot of guys planted into stubble from last year’s wheat crop. That’s a rotation that works well.


“Fields remain clean, but we’ll probably see some weed excitement a little later. Some guys may be late in getting their marestail treated in cotton and soybeans. It just kept raining and prevented them from getting into the field in a timely manner. Overall, the optimism is still there for this year’s crop.”


Kerry Siders, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Lamb, Hockley & Cochran Counties: “Last week’s forecast called for good rainfall, but some areas only received enough to tease the seed and possibly ruin it. A lot of cotton was dry-planted over the last 10 days. It needed a-half inch or better of moisture, but some has only received 0.2 in our 3-county area. We need more and it looks like we have a chance for rain the middle of this week.


“Some cotton that’s up has been slow to emerge and excel due to a roller coaster ride on temperatures. It was 56 this morning (6/5) and when you approach 55 that can slow the plant down to nothing. Overall, we’re about 60% emerged and the irrigated crop is 99% planted. Some producers will dust-in dryland seed this week in hopes of another rain very soon.


“We’ve seen little thrips pressure, partially because we have limited amounts of wheat to harbor them. There has been a little more thrips activity in Lamb County and we’re cautioning producers to watch for them. They’re the first pest we deal with and we can hopefully outrun them until they’re no longer an issue after the 4 to 5-leaf stage.”


Mike McHugh, Southwest Texas Ag Consultants, Uvalde, Texas: “We’ve been very wet. The cotton is looking good and starting to come on. Most is at third-grown square to first bloom. We have a few guys who were late and their cotton is just coming up.


“Insect pressure remains light. We have a few fleahopper problems but it’s not severe. Some Pix is going out with all of the rain. To handle weeds, most everyone has a preemerge that has been effective. We’ll probably need one more round of Roundup, Liberty or dicamba to handle late weed pressure.


“The sweet corn looks good after rains and cooler weather. Field corn is past pollination and looks tremendous. We haven’t seen much disease pressure, but had to treat most field corn for spider mites.” 




Brad Easterling, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Glasscock, Reagan & Upton Counties: "Things are looking really good in our area. We’ve received good showers after our crazy-planting the past few weeks. We’re 75 to 80% planted or emerged. Most is just coming up or at 2 true leaves. After some hard rain, we might have to run rotary hoes to break up fields that were packed in.


“After this rain, we’ll likely have to make some herbicide applications or cultivate the middles to handle weed escapes. A few fields have already gotten away from us. A fair amount of the new technology has been used, but mostly for the better genetics. The 2, 4-d and dicamba applications will be counted on more for morning glory, field bindweed and hog potato, also called mesquite weed.


“So far there are no insect issues. Historically, we’re usually so warm that thrips aren’t a problem down here. Fleahoppers are usually the first pests we have to worry about.”


Randy Norton, University of Arizona Extension Cotton Specialist, Safford: “It’s not fun looking at hailed on cotton this time of year, but we had a freak storm on one of our grower variety trials in the southeastern part of the state. It’s at an elevation of 4,400 feet and it’s too late to replant.


“Fortunately that’s isolated. The rest of the state’s cotton looks good. It’s rocking along. Some is up to match-head square, with a limited amount just starting to bloom in the central growing areas. Much in the Yuma area is at peak bloom.


“Bug pressure is still low, although there have been some isolated treatments for thrips.


"There is little weed pressure, but I’m keeping my eye on a few fields that had resistant pigweed last year. We’ve had calls from growers worried about resistance, saying their neighbors are not taking care of weeds, but there’s not a whole lot that can be done legally on their part.” 


Stephen Biles, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Victoria, Calhoun & Refugio Counties: “We are wet. If the rain stopped right now we’re pretty well set. Much of the cotton is in the first 2 to 3 weeks of bloom. Rain came at a good time to start filling bolls. Some fields are cutting out a little early, but we’re mostly in good shape.


“Stinkbugs are starting to increase in number, so some treatments are needed. I look at some conventional cotton, but so far bollworm activity is light.


“Corn is finishing up and sorghum is mostly blooming and at the milk or soft dough stage. In the mid-coast area, sugarcane aphid activity is variable from one field to the next a mile away. Some fields don’t need treatments but others are seeing a build-up. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few weeks following rain and high humidity. If it’s cooler, a fungus that feeds on the aphids will help us. Free control is the best kind.”


Wayne McAlister, Crop Production Services, Portales, New Mexico: “Rain has been good and cotton is coming along, but we’ve still been cooler than we’d like. Fortunately, we’re not having to replant a whole lot. Our insurance deadline was May 31 so we’re virtually finished with planting.


“We’re starting to see some hot spots with thrips and having to treat some fields. For weeds, our pres are holding up pretty good, but we’re already starting to make a few dicamba treatments tank mixed with glyphosate. We’ll come back with a residuals tank mix the next pass. We’ll be watching for escapes, but as long we keep getting rain we’re happy.


“Corn is a little behind but still growing hard. We’re side dressing on nitrogen. Wheat harvest is starting, but we’re still not sure about yields and quality. Some places had an April freeze that caused damage.”     




Tyler Mays, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Terry, Yoakum & Gaines Counties: “We got more rain than a lot of people. We received from 1 to 1.6 inches the last seven days. Those farmers closer to Muleshoe and Morton on the state line got just as much. Many dryland growers are planting in order to meet today’s (6/5) insurance deadline for our area. We’re also seeing some replant issues on seed that was hit by cool temperatures in May.


“Thrips are moving into some fields, which is a sign that seed treatments are starting to wear off. If their populations continue to grow, many may have to consider spraying.


“A lot of producers did an excellent job of starting the year clean, but now we’re seeing some preplant herbicides wear off. Some nutsedge, morning glory and devils claw are showing up. Guys getting ready to make their next herbicide applications are hopefully combining their particular variety technology with a residual tank mix.


“Peanuts are seeing a few thrips but it’s not a big issue. We’re also watching for tomato spider wilt, wireworms, white grubs and foliage feeders on peanuts.”


Rex Brandon, Crop Production Services, Dumas, Texas: “We had some good rainfall late last week and cotton is off to a good start in the northern Panhandle. There has been a little hail damage, but with that and previous cooler weather, only about 15% of cotton will be replanted. There is some small cotton that is getting an early PGR application. We have good moisture and some heat, so that cotton will grow fast. We need to slow it down.


“We have thrips coming on strong, mainly on cotton that was planted into wheat stubble. Not many of those varieties had seed treatments, so they will require spraying.


“Fields are still pretty clean. Early herbicide applications are working. We’re trying some of the new products in areas where we had some escapes. The new chemistry is working well.


“Corn is growing fast now that we have heat. The tallest is at the V-4 to V-5 stage. Smaller corn is rooted down and taking off.”


Randy Boman, Oklahoma State University Cotton Research Director, Cotton Extension Program Leader, Altus: “We had some good rain across the area this past week. Tillman County is in good shape. Around Altus, rain helped get replanted fields emerged. Unfortunately, we’re still dry in Harmon County near Hollis.


“Cotton is from 3 to 4 leaves all the way to still being planting. A lot of dryland will go in this week and next across the region. Much of the wheat has been cut so guys are watching for thrips and spraying when needed. It’s a little early for fleahoppers, but that’s right around the corner.


“Plenty of herbicide is going out where guys are trying to catch up with postemerge applications. Some guys who replanted have to clean up weeds that are coming up with the rainfall.


“It’s probably not too early for growers to be thinking about bacterial blight, which was a big problem last year. The disease usually doesn’t come until July, but it can hit fields early and work on seedling cotton. A lot of guys made the decision that ‘if it’s not bacterial blight resistant, I’m not going to plant it.’ They had a negative experience with it last year.”  


Seth Byrd, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Cotton Specialist, Lubbock: “We received rain that was sorely needed. It covered several counties in the central part of the region. A lot of folks planted last week and those who dry-planted got the rain they needed.


“After the rain, weeds will be a concern. Plenty of folks will be watching their fields to see how crops and weeds are emerging. They’ll determine what kinds of weeds they’re seeing and what type of early postemerge treatment is needed.


“Thrips are not a major concern yet, but wheat is drying down and we’ll need to watch for them. Seed treatments have a 2 to 3-week window from the time we plant. Some folks may need to spray to keep that window closed.


“We’re still a long way before squaring, so we want a vigorously growing plant. Folks need to monitor when they decide to apply PGRs.”



AgFax News Links


OK, KS, TX Wildfires: Fix the Fence, Grow the Grass, Re-Stock Carefully – DTN   6-2


Drought Outlook: Improvements Expected for Southeast, Texas; Dry in the Southwest, Northern Plains   6-2


Drought Monitor: Rains Drench Eastern U.S.   6-2


Rose on Cotton: Mark Your Calendar! USDA Supply & Demand Report Coming Up   6-2 


Welch on Wheat: Weekly Exports Net Cancellations; Still Above Target   6-2 


Welch on Grain: Strong Corn Exports Continue   6-2

Cleveland on Cotton: Snoozer of a Week   6-2


Texas: Private Applicators License Training, Canyon, June 14       


Texas: Land Leasing, Estate Planning Program, Sweetwater, June 27 


Texas: Stiles Farm Field Day, Taylor, June 20 


Oklahoma Sorghum: Budget Operating Costs for Planting in June 6-5


Texas Field Reports: Moisture Levels, Water Availability Looking Mostly Good 6-6


South Texas Sorghum: How Will Recent Rains Affect Sugarcane Aphids? 6-6


Texas Panhandle: Grasshoppers, Thrips Threaten Crops 6-5


Texas LRGV Sorghum: Sugarcane Aphids on the Rise Prior to Harvest 6-5


Texas LRGV Cotton: Whiteflies on the Rise, Plant Bugs Present 6-5 




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