Larry Stalcup, Editor, AgFax Southwest Cotton


Debra L Ferguson, Managing Editor, AgFax Media


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



The heat is on. You’d think Nolan Ryan was still pitching his legendary fast balls with this heatwave that's been moving across Texas. The 100s have been common, with 106 in Amarillo on Saturday and 110 toward Midland. And it’s too dry for cotton from about Waco north, with little rain in the forecast for the Panhandle and South Plains. Stressed cotton has growers worried about maintaining uniform stands if rain doesn’t come soon.


Egg lays have the Blacklands and more southern areas on bollworm alert. Stinkbugs are also drawing sprayers to the field in some of our coverage area. Thrips are still a menace where wheat is drying down. Fleahoppers are also on the radar.


We're not hearing of many dicamba drift reports, but it's worth noting that the Arkansas Plant Board took a vote this week on restricting use. Read our story in AgFax News Links below. 


Southwest Kansas has a good crop in the making. Arizona growers are working the dry heat-irrigation combo. Eastern New Mexico needs a rain, as does southwestern Oklahoma, where much cotton was replanted after hard-pack rains came at the wrong time.


Quick Weather Update, Wednesday Morning: The Upper Gulf Coast may see additional rainfall from tropical storm Cindy which threatens to reach hurricane status and skirt parts of east Texas. The storm path was projected to turn northeastward near the Texas-Louisiana line.


We're always expanding our list of crop consultants, dealer personnel and Extension advisors who provide the 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: “I’m at the Stiles field day in Thrall this morning (6/20) and have attended several others this past week. Cotton in the Upper Gulf Coast looks really good and is fruiting up nicely. There’s a lot of yield potential.


“Parts of the southern Blacklands need a rain pretty badly – from Waco to Austin. They missed the rain further south two weeks ago. Guys are starting to irrigate in the Brazos Bottom. Rolling Plains growers were trying to wrap up planting last week. Cotton is up and looks good, but they also need rain.


“I’m not hearing of any big issues with herbicide drift. Guys are communicating well and working out potential problems amongst themselves. I’ve heard of a few self-inflicted drift problems, but haven’t heard any horror stories like they’ve had elsewhere. We don’t have near as many soybeans as Arkansas where they’ve had drift problems.


“As corn begins to dry down, we could see some bollworms move into cotton. Guys need to stay on top of that. They also need to watch for stinkbugs and other insects. They’ve had to spray for stinkbugs in the upper coast, and I’ve also seen a few fields with spider mites.”


Randy Norton, University of Arizona Extension Cotton Specialist, Safford: “They’re predicting 120 in Phoenix today (6/20). I don’t care if it is a dry heat, that’s hot. But if we can keep moisture on the crop, it will excel in this heat. The issue is when we get this heat and have the monsoon moisture and high humidity. The crop can develop heat stress and abort fruit. This dry heat is good as long as we don’t get behind on irrigation.


“I’m seeing blooms all over the state. The earlier stuff in the southeast is starting to bloom. There’s a good boll fill in the Yuma area, where it’s near peak bloom. There are still no issues with bollworms or other insects, even though there have been a few sprays for Lygus in the west.


“We’re in the field putting out a Topguard fungicide trial. Certain areas in the state need treatments for root rot and it has been successful in treating that, Alternaria and other diseases.”


Seth Byrd, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Cotton Specialist, Lubbock: “Cotton is all over the board, but we do have some decent looking fields out there despite the 100-degree temperatures, wind and little rainfall. A lot of the dryland is a little behind irrigated. Some areas have caught more rain than others, particularly those counties east of Lubbock.


“Several of our own variety trials look good, while others would have been replanted a week ago if we’d had any moisture. There’s no sign that rain will come, so we could see a lot of fields that have less than optimal stands due to the harsh weather conditions we’ve had the past several weeks.


“We’re seeing a few issues with rhizoctonia. It’s on the radar and folks need to monitor fields for it. I’ve heard of few, if any, issues with herbicide drift. That’s a testament to our producers doing the right thing and working with each other.


“West Texas is a definition of good stewardship technology.” 


Kate Harrell, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Jackson, Wharton & Matagorda Counties: “We’re seeing some stinkbugs and some guys have had to treat for them in the 3-county area. Early planted cotton is blooming and has big bolls. Wharton County cotton has bolls 6 to 8 NAWF.


“With the blooming and boll set, were monitoring fields closely for bollworms. I haven’t seen any larger worms, but there are small ones. There has been little damage and populations don’t require treatments just yet. Late planted cotton is still squaring, so we’re watching for fleahoppers.


“Weeds are under control other than where there has been a lot of rainfall. Some of those fields are grassy.


“In sorghum, a lot of sugarcane aphid populations crashed with the large rains we had. However, we’re still watching closely for them as sorghum matures leading up to harvest.”


Jaime Lopez, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent, Frio County: “Cotton is moving right along. Early cotton makes up about half of our crop. It is moving from the squaring stage and setting bolls. Later cotton is well into squaring. It all has been helped by substantial rainfall in Frio County and much of south Texas.


“Farmers have done a good job with their weed control programs. Fields remain pretty clean. I’m hearing of no disease or insect pressure.


“Peanut planting was completed last week. With so much rain, guys have been able to hold back on irrigation. Corn and sorghum are maturing and turning color.”  


Randy Boman, Oklahoma State University Cotton Research Director, Cotton Extension Program Leader, Altus: “Most guys are finishing up planting and a few are trying to double-crop cotton into wheat stubble. The problem is we’re really getting dry and it doesn’t look too shiny the next week. We need rain behind the planters for the seed and to get herbicides activated. A half to 1-inch rain behind a planter will fix a whole lot of planter mistakes.


“The irrigated crop looks good and there’s talk of releasing water from Lake Altus. It is over 80% of capacity so we’ll have plenty of irrigation water this year. A lot of cotton had to be replanted after a big rain packed us down with a 2 to 3-inch crust. We couldn’t get through it with a rotary hoe.


“A lot of guys are thinking about fleahoppers as plants move into squaring. Many are running fleahopper treatments. We’re no longer worried much about thrips. After wheat dries down, thrips are usually not a major problem this late in the season. As it looks now, some cotton will likely start blooming in early July.


“A lot of guys are running residual herbicides. There are also some dicamba, Enlist and other herbicides going out. I haven’t heard of anyone complaining about drift situations or lack of control.”


Jourdan Bell, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agronomist, Amarillo: "A lot of farmers are getting aggressive in spraying for thrips. The numbers are heavy with wheat drying down. For the most part, it’s starting to progress after the cool weather in May.


But with the heat we’ve had, some fields are starting to stress. Much of the western Panhandle is starting to see precipitation deficits. Farmers are evaluating their irrigation options and watching cotton. Several areas have been hit by hail, so farmers are considering their replant options.


“I’m still amazed at how much cotton we have in the Panhandle. Some late cotton is to first true leaf. Earlier planted cotton is starting to reach the second node level.


“Weed control is really good. Farmers did an excellent job in starting clean. In the northern Panhandle, a lot of cotton is in a no-till or strip-till program. Other farmers planted into a terminated rye or wheat cover crop. That helped in managing weeds and erosion and minimized evaporative losses. That helped with the high heat the past week.


“I’m not yet seeing any herbicide drift issues. Farmers are aware of the potential problems and are being very cautious. They will need to do in-season herbicide applications within the next month. They’re doing a good job of communicating with each other.


“Corn looks good where there is good water for irrigation. It’s at the 3- to 10-leaf stage. A few fields are in the late vegetative stage and suffered from the heat. But soil moisture is still good. There are very few grain sorghum acres out. That’s due to low sorghum prices and the potential for sugarcane aphids that can add insecticide application costs.” 


Jerry Stuckey, farmer-general manager, Northwest Cotton Growers Co-op, Inc., Moscow, Kansas: “Overall the crop looks good despite the hot, windy weather. We had 5 days of wind when it was over 100. We lost a little dryland that didn’t get a good stand, but most of the early planted dryland is holding up and looking good. We have sprinklers going on all the irrigated.


“Weed control is holding up well. A few fields are weedy and are being sprayed with 2,4-d. It looks like growers are getting a good kill.  All of our fields are Enlist cotton except for 2 circles of dicamba. We’re worried about the drift potential that could hurt both crops.


“We have just a few thrips, although I expect any time to see larger populations with wheat ripening so fast.”


Katelyn Kowles, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Lubbock & Crosby Counties: “We were teased with some spot showers this morning (6/19). They are frustrating because they’re not helping much. Hot, dry, windy weather has been hard on cotton. We’re seeing the effects of blowing dust and extreme heat, where plants are starting to shrivel and wilt. It’s nice today and tomorrow with cooler temperatures, but we’re forecast to be right back into the 100s later in the week.


“Cotton is starting to square in some fields. We’re from just emerging up to 7- to 8-true leaves and pinhead squares. The good thing is I haven’t seen a lot of thrips. There may be more in Crosby County near the Floyd County line but nothing near threshold. There are a few cotton aphids, but they may be beneficial because they will bring in common enemies.


“Despite the dry period, some fields have weeds breaking through the crusty top. Guys need to get on top of their herbicide treatments. With this weather there are few good days to go out and make applications, so they need to pick a good time to spray when the weather cooperates.


“Also, they need to check herbicide labels for tank mixes to make sure what they can and can’t mix. If they’re going to spray for thrips, they can’t mix insecticide with dicamba or Enlist. There must be a separate application. I’m not hearing of major herbicide drift issues up here. A lot of guys are communicating with their neighbors to know who is planting which chemistry and where.”  

Patrick Kircher, New Mexico State University Extension Agent, Roosevelt County/Portales: “We have a lot more cotton acres this year but we have really struggled. We were so cool early and had a lot trouble getting it out of the ground. One hard and fast rain crusted it over. Many had to replant. Most everything is up that’s going to come up.


“All crops need a drink badly. We’ve been terribly dry and the 100-degree heat last week was a killer. Unfortunately, we’re forecast for 105 to 106 by Thursday.


“Fields are pretty clean. Guys have been able to go back and top dress herbicide and knock weeds back. No insect pressure has been reported.


“Guys have been torn on their sorghum crops – whether to plant early or later. They were advised to plant early to avoid late sugarcane aphid pressure. But those crops are struggling for rainfall like cotton. Those planting late hope to catch better rainfall but they may face potential aphid pressure.


“Some haygrazer was planted and is trying to come up. Several guys have even played with dryland corn. Amazingly it is still holding on. What everything needs is a big drink of water.”


Mark Nemec, MJN Consulting, Waco, Texas: “Cotton is progressing fast and loading up with a lot of fruit, although we’re still a little behind. Blacklands cotton is at a half- to two-thirds grown squares. Some will start blooming in another week or so.  


“We’re seeing a big egg lay and a lot of moths this week. We’re watching closely for worm development. Fleahoppers have been spotty. There’s either none or a lot, depending on where you’re standing. Most fields are past the fleahopper stage, but a few fields will see them coming in by the droves out of pastures.


“We seem to have weeds handled. We’ve been able to keep them killed out, other than a few flushes here and there. We’re not seeing any drift damage in new chemistries, other than some drift from ranchers using 2, 4-d that’s drifting onto a few dicamba cotton fields.


“Corn is drying down fast. High heat has it speeding up toward finish. It is denting and leaves are turning brown on the bottom. The corn looks good, but could have used one more rain. Milo also looks really good and is some of the best I’ve seen in years. I’m standing in a field now (6/19 p.m.) looking for headworms, which have been heavy in places. We treated a few isolated fields for sugarcane aphid last week.”


Emi Kimura, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Area Agronomist, Vernon: "It’s too hot and dry. We need the rain. Almost all irrigated cotton was planted the second week of June. Dryland producers had to wait for rain. Since June 20 is the insurance deadline, if they don’t get rain by today they will dry-plant and hope for the best.


“My variety trials were planted in mid-May and mid-June. They have germinated okay but still need the rain to keep going.


“Weed control still looks good and I haven’t heard of any drift issues with new herbicide technologies. We hope that trend continues as the crop progresses.”    


Dicamba application in cotton.

©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography


AgFax News Links

Dicamba Drift: Arkansas Plant Board Votes to Restrict Use - Now a Re-Vote Required 6-21

How Not to Spray During an Inversion – Video   6-20 

Texas Field Reports: Summertime Vegetable Pests Emerging   6-20


Resistant Weeds – Options When Control Jumps The Track – AgFax   6-15 


Dicamba Drift: Injury Reports Rolling in as Investigations Begin – DTN   6-14


Texas West Plains IPM: Weed Control Is All Over the Board   6-12


Cotton Outlook: Global Stocks Forecast Lower in 2017/18   6-13


Texas Wildfire: Rain Helped Pastures but Full Recovery is a Slow Process – DTN   6-19


Rose On Cotton: Demand Fails To Offset Negative Trend   6-16


Thompson on Cotton: Reasons Not To Slip Into Panic Pricing   6-14


Farm Business: GPS, Apps, Social Media, Drones are Tools for Success   6-13


Oklahoma Sorghum: Sugarcane Aphids Found in 5 Counties 6-20


Oklahoma Cotton: Stand Problems; Cotton Fleahopper is Next Pest Up 6-19


Texas: Prospective Winegrowers Workshop, Houston, June 23


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


Oklahoma Crops Conference Set for 4 Locations in July


Texas Field Reports: Summertime Vegetable Pests Emerging 6-20


Texas Upper Coast Pests: Watch for Bollworms, Get Ready for Plant Growth Regulators 6-19


Texas Wildfire: Rain Helped Pastures but Full Recovery is a Slow Process – DTN 6-19


Texas Plains Pests: Thrips Pressure Variable in Cotton; Watch for Spider Mites in Corn 6-16 




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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. ©2017AgFax Media, LLC.

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