Larry Stalcup, AgFax Southwest Editor

Debra L Ferguson, AgFax Managing Editor


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


Three to 4 bales are in the forecast for parts of the Coastal Bend despite the multiple treatments needed to battle bollworms. Northern Panhandle fields are also primed for good yields as plants bloom at 8 to 9 NAWF.


Dicamba drift injury has “impacted thousands of acres” in parts of Kansas and Oklahoma where the herbicide has drifted onto non-dicamba soybeans fields. See comments from Tom Studnicka.


Verticillium wilt and bacterial blight have turned up in the South Plains and parts of the Panhandle. Fusarium is showing up in southern New Mexico cotton. Arizona growers are seeing southwest cotton rust spawned by monsoon rains.


Bollworms are becoming less of a worry in some areas but resistance to Bt technologies this year is an ongoing topic.


Pull out that phone and send us your photos from the cotton fields! Make sure you send the largest file size. Email is better than text but we'll be excited to get whatever you can send!  




Scott Meeks, Yield Pro Crop Consulting, Farwell, Texas/Western Panhandle: “The crop is looking nice. We’re approaching mid-bloom and most cotton is at 6 to 8 NAWF. We’ve had plenty of heat and there are lots of scenarios depending on a field’s irrigation capacity. We’re managing irrigation and determining the need for PGRs. Some limited irrigated fields could use a rain farther south.


“Mother Nature has been neutral this past week. We have very light insect pressure and I don’t have any insecticides going out this week. There are few weed issues so we’re running hoe crews to cleanup Roundup resistant pigweed. Overall, we’re pleased with the crop.


“The corn also looks good. It’s the same scenario with irrigation management. We’re having to spray for western bean cutworms and applying some fungicides to manage any disease outbreaks.”


Tom Studnicka, Studnicka Consulting, Belle Plaine, Kansas: “Weed control is still pretty good overall, but we’ve had some bad dicamba drift problems. Within the last 2 to 3 weeks we’ve had field after field of non-dicamba soybeans see major dicamba injury. It’s definitely a hot topic.


“The drift has impacted tens of thousands of acres in southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma. At least 70% of the non-dicamba beans I look at have some sort of dicamba drift damage. Most damage is light to somewhat moderate. If it starts raining, there should be limited impact on that yield. However, about 30% of those acres hit were blooming hard. They could see moderate to heavy damage.


“Meanwhile, cotton all looks really good. Even the last planted is blooming. The early stuff is 5 to 6 NAWF. We have really good fruit loads, but we’re in a 2-week stretch of hot, dry weather in the high 90s and 100s. The heat may take its toll if we don’t receive rain soon. We could see some fruit shedding.


“Insect pressure is quiet. The last of the fleahoppers were handled on late cotton the last week or two. I finished up a round of PGR two weeks ago on areas where we had good rains.


“Corn is going south really fast because of the hot dry weather. Most early stuff was far enough along and will see a good harvest if aflatoxin is not an issue. But the late planted is in serious trouble if it doesn’t rain. A lot of bean fields not impacted by dicamba drift are also starting to stress. They need rain.”


Joel Webb, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension IPM Agent, Runnels, Tom Green & Concho Counties: “We’ve had some scattered showers, but we’ve missed that good rain that would give us 2 inches over this area. Heat units are stacking up. Overall the crop is not too bad.


“Earlier planted cotton is flowering and the later planted is squaring. Pests are staying down, with no high populations. There’s no disease pressure and guys are keeping the weeds knocked down. We’re still in range for a good crop if we get some moisture.”   


Jason Woodward, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Plant Pathologist (Cotton & Peanuts), Lubbock: “We’re seeing the first symptoms of Verticillium wilt on the High Plains. We’re getting into bloom and that’s the time we expect to see vert. As we get moderate temperatures, more of the disease may come on, especially after the crop matures. 


“Bacterial blight has also shown up on a number of susceptible varieties. If producers see that disease, I remind them to contact their local Extension agent so we can be on top of it. That will help manage fields in next year’s crop.


“Also, we continue to see evidence of root knot nematodes. It’s imperative that we identify the fields where problems exist to improve our management next year. There is currently nothing to control nematodes, other than any stored Vydate.” 



Mark Hatley, Crop Quest Consulting, Dumas, Texas: “Most cotton is in early bloom and in good shape in the northwest Panhandle. We’re applying some PGRs, depending on irrigation availability. There are a few fields that are starting to stress due to limited water. Some is on the verge of cutout.


“I’m not hearing of any insect situations. We’re still fighting a few weeds, but most fields are pretty clean. There are some hoe crews out to handle Roundup resistant pigweed and Kochia, which remains hard to control. 


“Corn is from pollination to the blister stage. It’s holding up very well where we have good water.”


John Idowu, New Mexico State University Extension Cotton Specialist, Las Cruces: “Cotton is doing well with the monsoon rain coming down and more in the forecast. Some growers fear that hail may come with the monsoon. But so far, we have not seen any hail damage other than an isolated incident.


“Another problem that may arise from the monsoon is the flooding of fields. In one of our research sites, we got 2.2 inches of rainfall last Sunday and all of that cotton was flooded. The field had a lot of clay soil and we had to drain it to prevent damage to the cotton plants. 


“Another recent development is the official confirmation of Fusarium wilt in a cotton field in the El Paso area. This is a very damaging disease which could threaten cotton production in the region.”


Kate Harrell, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Jackson, Wharton & Matagorda Counties: “We have cotton open in all 3 counties and it looks pretty nice. We’re getting close to defoliating but we still have stuff all over the board. We’ll probably start harvest in another 3 weeks.


“There’s nothing going on with insects. We had problems with bollworms, but guys treated fields a little bit sooner and received good results.


“Corn and milo are looking good. We’re pleased that we didn’t have bad sugarcane aphid populations in milo. I’ve put out field trials in 2 locations and didn’t get close to threshold numbers.” 


Seth Byrd, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Cotton Specialist, Lubbock: “We received a little rain over the weekend and every little bit helps. Most areas could still use more and there’s another chance for rain this weekend. Heat units are where we need to be, even with cotton that’s a little late. With more moisture possible we can be optimistic.


“The crop is still in decent shape. We have both ends of the spectrum in terms of conditions. What looked good a couple of weeks ago still looks good. It’s the same with cotton that looked rough.


“Everything planted in our normal planting windows is in bloom. The average irrigation field is in bloom and a lot was 7 to 9 NAWF going into bloom. That’s where I’d like to be. I was in the northern Panhandle last week. Cotton went into bloom at 8 to 9 NAWF. That stuff has potential for a nice fruit load.


“We’re still okay insect wise. Thankfully, we haven’t seen the problems they’ve had with bollworms down south. Bollworms walked through Bt technologies. Insecticides that worked before have had a hard time controlling them this year.


“Weed control remains good overall. There are super clean fields north of Amarillo and many in the Lubbock area. Although we couldn’t control rough weather conditions, we’ve done a good job of staying on top of pests we can control.”   


Randy Boman, Oklahoma State University Cotton Research Director, Cotton Extension Program Leader, Altus: “We’re still hanging in there, but much of the cotton could really use the rain. It was extremely hot over the weekend, with 100-degrees or higher in many areas. There were a few scattered showers. We received about a half inch in Altus, but areas in Jackson County didn’t get the rain they needed.


“We still think about 500,000 acres were planted in Oklahoma. A lot of the dryland cotton will fail. There are many pockets that didn’t get a good stand early on and haven’t had rain. The irrigated looks good and is at about 7 to 8 NAWF. Guys just need to pour the water on it.


“I haven’t heard any reports of anything bad with insects. Most guys got their weeds beat back, but there are some fields out of control with weeds. It’s some bad stuff.”


Xandra Morris, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Hill & McLennan Counties: “I got rained on in the field this morning (7/24), but it wasn’t enough to help anything. The vast majority of our cotton is past cutout. The crop looks good, but some is only 1 to 2 NAWF.


“For the most part, we’re out of danger from bollworms. But that’s after quite a few fields had to be sprayed. All Bt technologies have had problems. A lot of it had to do with corn acres. We had large earworm populations. Fortunately, we had a lot of fields that completely missed bollworm damage. It’s good to not worry about them anymore. 


“Now we’re on the lookout for stinkbugs. I haven’t seen many so far, maybe some fields with 2% damage. But I’m still a little worried because stinkbugs were bad down south. Some cotton will be far enough along next week to be out of danger from stinkbugs.  


“We have a medium range of beneficials. They’re still active on milo fields that have not dried down. Some fields reached sugarcane aphid threshold and had to be sprayed.” 


Justin Chopelas, JWC Consulting, Mathis, Texas/Coastal Bend: “I put in orders today (7/24) for my last dozen fields to be defoliated. We could have the best crop ever here, which is saying a lot, because last year was really good. I have a lot of 3-bale cotton and many fields are well above 3 and some breaking 4 bales. We also had good rainfall, which helped with yields and the quality looks fantastic. Quality normally drives us.


“We needed the good crop because it has been a challenging year. Bollworms were horrible. We’ve battled resistance to Bt cotton for several years. This year they walked through all technologies.


“We have aggressive growers. Producers have realized they needed to spray –  even in the newer technologies. They know what needs to be done. You make the recommendation and things hit the ground in a timely manner.”


Randy Norton, University of Arizona Extension Cotton Specialist, Safford: “We’ve had a lot more heavy rain in isolated areas, with a lot of flash flooding near Phoenix and spots all over the state. Some have had 2 to 3 inches of rain in a single shot.


“For cotton, the benefits of the monsoons outweigh the other issues. Other than some isolated hail, the rain has been good. It has moderated temperatures, which is helping hold down heat stress. A lot of cotton is in peak bloom and the last thing we need is heat stress.


“Some pockets of southwest cotton rust have popped up. Most guys make preventative applications of fungicides when they see the monsoons coming in, but some didn’t get treatments applied in time.


“Some insecticide applications have gone out in central Arizona. It’s mostly for whitefly and lygus, but nothing widespread. A lot of treatments are near alfalfa. When it’s cut, lygus migrate to cotton.


“We still need to be aware of isolated incidences of Roundup-resistant pigweed. Some guys want to use lowered rates of Roundup to save money. They can’t do that. They will wind up with bigger problems.”  


AgFax News Links



Dicamba: Monsanto Speculations about Drift Injury are Not Helpful or Valid   7-18


Bollworm: Bt Cotton Resistance from North Carolina to Texas – DTN   7-21


Texas High Plains: Crops Dive Right into Heavy Management Mode   7-25


Texas Sorghum: Sugarcane Aphids Found in Hale County   7-26


Texas Sorghum: Headworm Control – Consider Sugarcane Aphids   7-26


Texas Field Reports: Pecan Crop Projected to Exceed 50Mln Pounds   7-25


Cleveland on Cotton: World Crop Size; Concerns Over India   7-24


Rose on Cotton: Oversold Market Got a Win this Week   7-21


Ag Appropriations: Cottonseed Eligible for PLC Program – DTN   7-21


Cotton: Trump Urged to Continue Cotton Ginning Cost Share Program   7-18


Texas Blacklands IPM: Keep a Lookout for Stinkbugs   7-21


Texas – West Plains IPM: Cotton Blooms; No Sugarcane Aphid, So Far   7-21


Texas Sorghum: Sugarcane Aphids in the Panhandle   7-21


Texas High Plains Cotton: Stay Vigilant for Bollworms   7-20


Texas: Rolling Plains Summer Field Day, Chillicothe, Aug. 30 




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