Larry Stalcup, AgFax Southwest Editor

Debra L Ferguson, AgFax Managing Editor


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


Bob Wills is still king in Turkey, Texas, but this

cotton field is running a close second.

Photo: Larry Stalcup



It’s not fall yet in Texas but the Panhandle and South Plains sure are getting a taste of it with temperatures running in the 70s and 80s.


‘Cotton showers’ have been frequent and welcomed across the majority of the acres in our coverage area. Although, those Upper Coast cotton fields full of open bolls could have benefitted from that rain a couple of weeks ago. Gaylon Morgan reports that it’s picking time in a big way in the Coastal Bend area.


There was plenty of “cutout” talk this week, and an optimistic attitude we all feel as the season moves closer to harvest. Randy Norton commented that Arizona cotton, for the most part, is on the “backside of peak bloom.” 




Rex Friesen, Southern Kansas Cotton Growers Co-op, Winfield: "I toured some fields west of the Winfield area today (8/7) and cotton looks really good. Much of that is thanks to the multimillion dollar rains that fell in the last few days. We had 3” at the Winfield gin, 2.3” in other parts of town, 1.5” at Kingman and about .4 of an inch at our Anthony gin. We were just starting to shed fruit after hot weather. With this rain, I think we’re in excellent shape all things considered.


“All of the cotton is blooming. Some is at 2 to 3 NAWF after the drought situation. Last week was cool. It was effectively just like receiving a rain. Water demand was so much less, which really saved us and then we topped it off with the rain. Fruit counts are high on a lot of cotton and it has a yield potential of 3 bales. Most of it will likely be 1.5 to 3 bale range – and that’s dryland.


“My next concern is stinkbugs. I found some damage and will be scouting. There are also bollworm moths in the area. The herbicide drift situation is still being closely watched. I keep telling growers to follow the label to the T.                           


“Rain also came at the right time for some full season soybeans, and may have also saved double-crop beans. Unfortunately, dryland corn is probably burned up and we’re not sure if irrigated corn got pollinated enough.”


Seth Byrd, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Cotton Specialist, Lubbock: “I’m in a field between Lubbock and Tahoka (8/7 morning) and there’s a light mist falling. It’s well below 80 degrees and might be the coolest day we’ve had in about 3 months. The extended forecast shows us getting into the 90s only about 3 days in the next 15. It’s not concerning yet, but it would be ideal if it were warmer more of those days. The cooler August may drag us out a little longer in crop development.


“Meanwhile, the cotton is definitely looking good. Rain has come at the right time. Fields that were hurting are in much better shape now. The rain continues to give irrigation a little break. If we can get one more good rain it will be a good August. Of course, not all areas have gotten the rain. Some counties directly south of Lubbock could use more moisture.


“Weed control is very good nearly everywhere you look. I can’t see a single weed in the field I’m in now.”


John Idowu, New Mexico State University Extension Cotton Specialist, Las Cruces: “The cotton is doing well. Fields are looking good and many are already at cutout and about 5 NAWF. Generally, there are no reports of disease or pests.


“Water is still being supplied from the canals in the Las Cruces area. Farmers are receiving up to 24” of irrigation water per acre, or 2 acre feet this year. This has not happened in a long time.


“We have had some scattered showers over the past week which have been good for our fields. There is no forecast for rain this week and the maximum daily temperatures will stay between the mid to upper 90s.”


Dwayne Reed, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Hale, Floyd & Swisher Counties: “Generally we’re looking good. Rain came at the best possible time and we have chances for more this week. Cotton is from 7 NAWF to already cutting out. Fruit set has been good and we’re even putting some PGRs on.


“With our increase in cotton acres and decrease in grain acres, we’re seeing a wide array of insects. We’re finding bollworms, lygus and beat armyworms. Nothing is at threshold for cotton, but I would expect the bollworm and other insect threats to increase in cotton as our corn starts drying down.


“Sugarcane aphid is scattering across our sorghum acres. We will reach threshold across the 3-county area this week. Even though it’s cooler, we’re still seeing spider mites in corn.” 


Gaylon Morgan, Texas A&M AgriLife State Cotton Specialist, College Station: “We’ve had a lot of rain recently. It’s going to be quite helpful in the central and northern Blacklands. But it wasn’t the best timing for the Upper Gulf Coast and southern Blacklands due to the amount of cotton that is already open. We needed that rain 2 weeks ago.


“Guys are in full swing with harvest in the Coastal Bend. The upper coast harvest is just getting under way. The dryland in the southern Blacklands will soon be defoliated. Cotton is at cutout in the central Blacklands and likely in the northern Blacklands. I’m hearing of a lot of good yield potential. Some of the central Rolling Plains is still behind and will need an open fall.


“I haven’t heard of a big spread of bollworm resistance to older Bt chemistries moving west. We hope it stays that way.”


Kerry Siders, Texas A&M AgriLife  IPM Agent, Hockley, Cochran & Lamb Counties: “We’ve had some good rain through July and had another good system that produced an average of 3 to 4 inches this past week. We’d like to get another gentle rain and it’s threatening to rain right now (8/7).


“We’re still a little weary after the huge amount of hail damaged cotton we had in early July, but we have some good cotton out there. Some is not yet blooming and some is nearing peak bloom. I’d like to see the last blooms on August 20, and not the tenth or fifteenth.


“Quite a bit is already past cutout. It’s a little early for that. I’d like to see 5 NAWF by August 10. Some has been at 5 or fewer NAWF for a week to 10 days. That tells me it will mature out a little early. Of course if fall sets in early we’ll be glad we have cotton that far along in maturity.


“We also have some late cotton. We need good weather in August and September to finish it out.


“We’ve been fortunate that we don’t have much of an insect problem. We’ll need to continue to scout. Even though cloudy and cooler weather can slow growth, some cotton that’s at cutout and beyond will see a natural shed of small squares. We need to be careful and not blame it on insect pests. When scouting, make sure it is not a worm induced shed.”



Randy Boman, Oklahoma State University Cotton Research Director, Cotton Extension Program Leader, Altus: “We got the precipitation we desperately needed in many areas in the past week. For example, they’ve had excellent rain in Tillman County and the cotton looks fantastic, and much of it is dryland. Their acres are up from 75,000 last year, to 124,000 this year. The same goes for much of Kiowa County, which has also had good rainfall. They’re up from 12,000 acres to 45,000 this year, and it’s mostly dryland. There are still some dry weather issues up toward Greer County. They could use a good rain.


“There are some weeds around after the rains. But by and large, guys have continued to do a good job with their weed control programs. I haven’t heard of any complaints with respect to herbicide drift from the new technologies.


“There are still no bollworm issues that I’ve heard. But there is a lot of corn silage grown for dairies in the region, and when it starts to dry down, we may see some moth movement toward cotton.”


Tyler Mays, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Terry, Yoakum & Gaines Counties: “We have bacterial blight showing up and a little verticillium wilt. If we get more rain, we will see bacterial blight take off in fields with susceptible varieties.


“There are still bollworm egg lays but I haven’t seen enough to worry about. However, in non-Bt cotton, guys really need to scout for bollworm activity.


“We’re also seeing a few cotton aphids, but they’re still well below the threshold of 50 aphids per leaf. Once bolls open, the threshold reduces to 10 aphids per leaf. We will have to spray for aphids unless we get more timely rain. Lygus and fleahoppers have been minimal.


“About 95% of the cotton has bloomed and 10 to 15% is at cutout or will be in the next week. Square sets are still running high and there is good fruit retention, not much below 90 percent.


“In peanuts we’re seeing more leaf spot and a little pod rot. Infestation is still too low to spray anything.”  


Chuck Wilbur, Independent Crop Consultant, Wellington, Texas/Southeastern Panhandle/Southwestern Oklahoma: “We’ve had cotton showers off and on in the past week, from a half to 1 inch. The irrigated looks really good, probably from 6 to 7 NAWF to cutout – close to on time in growth. All cotton should be at cutout by September 10.


“I think the Bt is holding up, although I got a little nervous 10 days ago. I saw what appeared to be worm damage on plants and some shed, but I didn’t see any worms. I’m checking hard for insects every 3 days. I just hope we escaped what they went through with bollworm resistance in other places. I’m finding no lygus, stinkbugs or other insects that are above threshold. I’ve seen some armyworms feeding on careless weed. I hope we have enough beneficials to hold all bugs down and not have to put down any treatment.


“Herbicides are holding up for the most part. There are some weed problems in some fields and there have been some issues with dicamba overlap in spots. But that’s better than fighting 4 to 5 foot careless weeds.


“I’m still not seeing any bacterial blight like we had last year. People planted more disease resistant varieties. But now that it has turned off damp and cool, it may show up.


“We’re seeing leaf spot issues in peanuts. Some fields were treated a week to 10 days ago and almost all peanuts will need a treatment. We may get by with one fungicide application, maybe two.


“Overall our cotton and other crops are looking good. If we can keep from getting hail, we should see good results this fall.”


Randy Norton, University of Arizona Extension Cotton Specialist, Safford: “I’m getting more and more optimistic about the crop the closer we get to harvest. We will pick our first trial in Yuma later this week. There has already been some cotton picked around there. The eastern part of state has some good looking cotton, as does central Arizona. The pima looks good and is holding fruit.


“There have been more treatments for lygus going out in the Maricopa County area and elsewhere, so we are seeing some insect pressure. But it’s late in the season. We’re not sure if it will have a big impact on the crop.


“We are out of the moisture pattern that has been around much of the past month, and don’t expect to see any more rain until the weekend. We’re warming back up to near 110, so we could see some heat stress across the state. But most of the crop is on the backside of peak bloom. We’ll probably lose some fruit from heat stress, but the plants can’t hold it all anyway.”


Mike McHugh, Southwest Texas Ag Consultants, Uvalde, Texas: “I haven’t pulled the trigger on defoliation just yet, but probably will in the next couple of days. We’ve been extremely dry until the past few days, when we received from 1 to 5 inches of rain. That will green things back up, so we may have to run more defoliant.


“I’ll start picking in about 2 weeks. It looks like we’re headed to a good crop, a little above average in yields.


“There is some spotty whitefly pressure, but below what we usually see late in the season.”  


AgFax News Links


Cleveland on Cotton: Rain Washes Over West Texas Acres; Don’t Be Greedy   8-4


Rose on Cotton: Stocks are Tight; Think About Forward Contracting   8-4


Cotton Market Teleconference, Friday, Aug. 11   


Monsanto and Valent Expand Partnership in Roundup Ready PLUS, 2018   8-7


Texas Plains: Next Few Weeks Critical for Crop Yields 8-8


Texas Field Reports: Panhandle Cotton Looks Good Following Timely Rains 8-8


Texas: Guar Workshop, Field Tour, Lubbock, Aug. 15 


Texas Sorghum: Sugarcane Aphids Unaffected by High Plains Rains, Continue Spread 8-4


Oklahoma Cotton: Insect Scouting a Top Priority; Boll Weevil Free Equipment Certification 8-4


Celebrate Cotton Game, September 16 at 7 p.m. – Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Arizona State Sun Devils at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock. Tickets are $35 with promo: COTTON17. Call Texas Tech Ticket Office at 806-742-TECH (8324) and ask for Cotton Game special pricing. 



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