Larry Stalcup, AgFax Southwest Editor

Debra L Ferguson, AgFax Managing Editor


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


This past weekend’s rain is expected to wake up the weeds and test post residual applications. Hoe crews are active and more teams are expected to move into the fields. Plenty of cautionary advice is going out with recommendations to spray for weeds, especially related to dicamba.


Boll weevil eradication is ongoing in some south Texas fields. A few Oklahoma growers have sprayed for aphid. The middle ground of taking pests out but not harming beneficials is a real challenge.


Heavy rain in northwest Texas is knocking back aphid and fleahoppers. Fall armyworm flights are attacking some Lubbock grain crops. Hopefully, they won’t jump into the cotton.  


It's too late to replant cotton for insurance purposes. Tim Ballinger, Dumas, reported that hailed out corn and cotton fields were re-planted with dryland sorghum. There's been some talk that a few South Plains growers might have planted wildcat dryland cotton up to the 4th of July or later.


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Mike McHugh, Southwest Texas Ag Consultants, Uvalde, Texas: “Boll weevil eradication has kicked back in. Program officials picked up some weevils this spring and some growers have started back with the eradication spraying program. We’re seeing aphids come in after the program’s malathion applications, which are killing beneficials. There are boll weevil traps around every field this year. It’s more precautionary than anything, but it's sure something to think about.


“Meanwhile, cotton is looking very good. We finally dried up. We’re getting hot and that’s what we need. I’m excited about the crop. The majority of it is in full bloom. There’s no open cotton, but we could see some in the next 10 days. Our first fields might be picked about mid-August. It could be a bumper year.


“We’re seeing a few spider mites, but there are no major insect problems at this time.”


Tim Ballinger, Ballinger Innovative Agronomics, Dumas, Texas: “We’ve had some terrible luck with hail this past week. We had a little hail last night (7/2) at Dumas, but about 5 sections of crops that I watch were hailed out near Gruver last week. We lost good cotton and corn crops. We replanted with dryland sorghum. Hopefully the moisture we received with the hail will help it produce a crop.


“Other cotton is looking pretty good. It was pinhead squaring last week, but it’s not one of the better crops we’ve had for this time of year. We had a lot of thrips pressure and high winds. We’re now watching for fleahopper populations.”


Randy Boman, Oklahoma State University Cotton Research Director, Cotton Extension Program Leader, Altus: “We picked up some really good rain Friday night (6/30), anywhere from 1 to 2.5 inches over most of our area. It was very timely and there’s plenty of standing water around Altus. This will help a lot of our dryland and delay the need for irrigation a little more.


“We have quite a few aphids in older cotton. I suspect the 2.5 inches of rain we’ve had recently will wreck some of the aphid populations. But a lot of guys were concerned and were pulling the trigger to spray and clean that mess up. When spraying, they need to use something that’s soft on beneficials. We need lady beetles and lacewings to help manage the secondary pests.


“Although we started off pretty clean, a few fields are beginning to get hairy with weeds. That’s partly because guys have had a hard time getting to them because of wet fields.”


Brad Easterling, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Glasscock, Reagan & Upton Counties: "We had good rain a couple of weeks ago. It got a lot of cotton up and helped the crop that was struggling along. So we’re in better shape and the crop looks decent.


“There is little insect pressure. We’re seeing some weed issues and getting a lot of post herbicide applications out. There are also a lot of cultivators running. We never really had the glyphosate resistant weed problem down here, so there’s nothing to really be worrying about, so far.


“We’ve been concerned about dicamba and 2, 4-d drift issues. But this year, there’s not a great deal of that new technology used in this part of the country.”


Katelyn Kowles, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Lubbock & Crosby Counties: “We had 2 inches of rain Friday (6/30) and some scattered storms Saturday and Sunday. A lot of people benefited from it. The intense rain should help control a large fall armyworm flight we had last week. We’re still seeing high numbers in our traps, but the rain probably washed off eggs in corn and sorghum. Guys still need to scout for them because they can easily move from corn and sorghum to cotton.


“We’ve sprayed for fleahoppers in a couple of fields in Ralls and other areas no widespread square loss. In irrigated fields, some fleahoppers are moving from herbicide treated silverleaf nightshade to cotton. I’ve seen no lygus but we’re scouting for them.


“We’re also looking for grasshoppers that will move from weeds and bar ditches to crops. We’ve had no more reports of sugarcane aphid in sorghum. If there are any, the rain should do the same thing for sorghum as it did for fall armyworm.”  


Stu Duncan, Kansas State University Crops & Soils Specialist, Manhattan, Kansas: “Things look pretty good. We’ve received much needed moisture, and now we need some heat. Rhizoc seedling disease has been an issue, which is unusual. A lot of root issues occurred due to compaction around the seed zone. It was caused by planters, as well as combines and grain carts last fall. Cotton infected by rhizoc was mostly 4-leaf, while rows with no traffic had 6-leaf cotton starting to square. We’ve also seen root deficiencies in corn in northern part of the state due to compaction.


“Guys are scouting for fleahoppers with cotton at the 6-week stage. Thrips are pretty much gone. A lot of weed control is going out, but we haven’t had a big swath of weeds yet.


“In soybeans, we’re encouraging guys to be cautious about potential dicamba drift. And if there are issues with leaf damage, we need to take time to measure the true cause of a problem.”


Peter Dotray, Texas Tech University Weed Scientist (joint appointment with Texas A&M AgriLife), Lubbock: “It’s wet, wet, wet. I’ve seen several inches of rain in the past week. I talked to some dryland guys at church on Sunday (7/2) and they were very happy. Unfortunately, some folks got hit with hail that came with the rain.


“The rain will bring some weed flushes in the next 7 to 10 days. Some guys who put down residuals will see them activated by the rain. When we see the flushes, we’ll see who used residuals and who didn’t. We hope they will be timely in the post applications and remember that dicamba and 2, 4-d work best on weeds less than 4 inches tall. I’m hearing from folks concerned about the lack of kill that weeds are not turning brown. They need to target smaller weeds with their applications.


“This year we’re not seeing some of the weeds we typically see. Even Palmer amaranth populations are less than usual. That probably had to do with how dry the soil was plus the hot and windy weather. But with this rain, expect a significant flush. We just need to be ready for it.


“Growers need to remember to be careful if they are using both the new technology and other herbicides. Use the right spray tips and pay attention to what goes in the tanks. Knowing what’s happening in other states with severe drift problems, be aware of surrounding vegetation. And, be neighborly.”


Tyler Mays, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Terry, Yoakum & Gaines Counties: “We’ve received some needed and timely rain the past 2 weekends. Most have been slow soaking, but there have been small reports of hail damage in southwestern Gaines County.


“We started squaring the week before last on a few fields. Now, 95% or more fields are setting squares. There are a few fleahoppers present. Our biggest issues are getting fertility put out, weed management and plant growth management. We’ve seen some fields getting a little growthy and I’ve requested a few PGR applications.


“We’ll see another set of weed flushes after the rain. We put out residuals in our last post application pass. That will help maintain weed control. But some dryland fields could see weed pressure because residuals are often not in the budget. There are some hoe crews in cotton and peanuts working to get weeds under control.            


“I’ve seen no disease in cotton, but we’ve found some aspergillus crown rot in peanuts. We’ll keep track of this infection to help growers make the proper management decisions in future peanut crops. With all of this rain, it wouldn’t surprise me to start seeing disease in cotton.”


Gaylon Morgan, Texas A&M AgriLife State Cotton Specialist, College Station: “Overall the Blacklands have caught some good rain. Fields look promising in Ellis and Delta counties in the northern Blacklands. Cotton is starting to flower even up toward the Red River in the northeast part of state. There are a lot of squares and lot of potential.


“The Waco and Hillsboro area has a good looking crop. It’s still not uniform, but a full profile of moisture will even things out shortly. In the southern Blacklands they are irrigating in the Brazos Bottom. Some dryland areas there are blooming out the top.


“The Upper Gulf Coast has a lot of promise, but there is concern about bollworms. I’m also getting questions about bollworm threshold in the southern Blacklands.” 


John Idowu, New Mexico State University Extension Cotton Specialist, Las Cruces: “Cotton is looking good, but the temperature has been very high. It has been over 100 degrees in the last few days. We have plenty of irrigation water from the canal, which is really helping. My cotton was planted late and is about 10 inches tall. It will square in the next few weeks. Some cotton is squaring already.


“With our dry climate, NMSU is starting a new water use efficiency program for cotton. I look forward to being heavily involved in this project to benefit our growers.”


Seth Byrd, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Cotton Specialist, Lubbock: “We’ve had more rain and this is a great time for it. Most cotton is squaring that wasn’t replanted late so water demand is up. There has been discussion on whether some of the dryland cotton that was dry-planted will make it. We’ll need a little more time to see. I’ve already seen fields where cotton came up in the last 3 to 4 days after that first good rain we had last week. This additional moisture will pop more out. We should have good square retention heading into first bloom after this moisture. 


“We had weed flushes after the last rain and some folks couldn’t get back in the wet fields to spray. With the weekend rain, they may be out of the fields for 10 days. We’ve had to hand weed some of our test plots and we could see more hoe crews across the region. If fields have the big escapes, guys sure need to consider that option.


“As we progress into the growing season, folks need to be conscious of soil moisture and be efficient with their irrigation. We need to balance fertility and irrigation and let the plants regulate growth for us.”


Randy Norton, University of Arizona Extension Cotton Specialist, Safford: “We’re back to normal on temperatures after several days that surpassed 110. The state had 4 or 5 weather sites that recorded Level 2 heat stress on June 19 to 27. Growers need to remember to keep a close eye on what the crop does and not let it see water stress. Any damage will depend on where it was in the fruiting cycle. It could be worse closer to peak bloom. However, high heat was actually good for cotton in upper elevations, as long as it wasn’t water stressed.


“In the Yuma area, they’re on the backside of peak bloom. Some crops will receive their last irrigation in late July, then look at defoliation in mid-August. Central Arizona is well into mid bloom and had less heat stress than cotton at peak bloom. Most of the southeast production area is blooming. There has been some monsoon activity south of Tucson. It is working it’s way north. You can feel increased humidity in the air.


“Insects are just not a problem so far and we hope to keep it that way. At the Arizona Cotton Growers meeting late last week, one grower mentioned he had glyphosate resistant pigweed and had switched to dicamba cotton. Overall, growers were pleased. They seemed optimistic.”


Cotton field north of Lubbock.

Photo by Larry Stalcup, AgFax Southwest Cotton


AgFax News Links


Cleveland on Cotton: USDA Planting Report Brought the Bulls Roaring Back   7-3


Texas Plains: All Quiet on the Pest Front, Weeds Still a Problem 7-3


Texas Upper Coast: Bollworms Moving to Cotton as Grains Dry Down; Watch for Stink Bugs 7-3


Rose on Cotton: It’s a Weather Market - Especially in Texas   6-30


Texas LRGV Cotton: Time to Consider Harvest Aid Timing   6-30


Texas South Plains Cotton: Shifting Gears 6-30


Sugarcane Aphid: Farmers Fight Back with Resistant Varieties, Insecticides – DTN   6-28


Kansas: ‘Tomorrow’s Ag Starts Today’ Conference, Ulysses, July 12


Oklahoma Crops Conference, Ardmore, July 10 6-30


Texas: Prescribed Burn School, San Angelo, July 13-14





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