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Larry Stalcup, AgFax Southwest Editor

Debra L Ferguson, AgFax Managing Editor


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


August is midway done and it’s been way too eventful in some areas. Excess rain followed by cooler temperatures that may slow things down a bit is causing concern over heat units. But those who have received well timed moisture are talking about harvest potential. Plant growth regulators are sure getting a workout.


Worst Case of Bad Luck: Roosevelt County, New Mexico, started with 8,000 acres of cotton. Things were looking pretty good, and then the August hailstorm hit. See comments from Patrick Kircher.


Be on the lookout for verticillium wilt, which loves to show up in cool, wet conditions. Southwestern rust, another disease favored by this kind of weather, has been found in the El Paso region. See comments from Jason Woodward.


In case you missed the 2017 WASDE crop estimates report last week, here are the numbers for our coverage area:   

Arizona, 560,000 bales - 177,500 acres

Kansas, 110,000 bales - 55,000 acres

New Mexico, 89,000 bales - 50,000 acres

Oklahoma, 720,000 bales - 450,000 acres

Texas, 8.83 million bales - 5.7 million acres


Scroll down to the AgFax News Links to read cotton market commentary about the WASDE report. Don’t miss our Events section where you can read about upcoming  August workshops and meetings scheduled in Texas and Kansas.   






Jerry Stuckey, farmer-general manager, Northwest Cotton Growers Co-op, Inc., Moscow, Kansas: “We’ve never had cotton this good this late. Every field looks beautiful. It’s really nice to see our cotton without 2, 4-d damage. So far, these Enlist varieties are really performing like we wanted. We don’t really know how good our crop can be. It’s a whole new experience. But we need heat and sunshine.


“We have had continued rain and there is water everywhere. We need heat and dry weather. Some places have received 5 inches at one time. There’s been some flooding in Liberal. Like I said, the crop is beautiful except that we’re struggling to control excessive vegetation. We’ve put on a lot of Pix and there are plenty of squares, blooms and bolls. We just have to get it matured.


“Overall, I think we’ll gin at least 50,000 bales in Moscow if the weather cooperates. We haven’t ginned that many bales since 2006.” 


Jason Woodward, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Plant Pathologist (Cotton & Peanuts), Lubbock: “The pump is primed for verticillium wilt and with cooler temperatures and wet weather it could be pretty severe. Since conditions are so conducive, we may see some fields flare up that have relatively little history of the disease. There’s not much you can do about vert. We just want to take note of where it is this year because of the risk of the disease showing up next year in high numbers. There is no silver bullet to prevent vert, but it will get worse and worse if we don’t start planting resistant varieties. When producers get their herbicide package they need to not forget about disease resistance as well.


“Further south in the El Paso valley and Trans-Pecos area, we’re seeing some southwestern rust due to wet weather. With excessive rain there and in other parts of West Texas, we may see more boll rot. Where we have late cotton, bolls may be more immature. If we get transient insect feeding, that could also cause symptoms that bring about boll rot.


“We’re seeing a little leaf spot in peanuts. But there are several fungicides that are affordable and help control it. Folks are staying on top of pod rot and weed control looks exceptional. Overall, it’s scary how good peanuts look.”


Katelyn Kowles, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Lubbock & Crosby Counties: “Beneficials are doing a job on cotton aphids. Some of the highest numbers are being taken down, so we’re holding off on spraying. I’m encouraging growers to be sure and scout closely for beneficials before they make a decision to spray.


“We’re still not seeing any big problems with bollworms. They continue to stay in corn. Sugarcane aphid numbers are also being held down by beneficials. But we need to watch for big outbreaks, especially on newer replanted sorghum that is located near older fields. The aphids will move to these fields if they are not controlled by beneficials.


“We received good rainfall in Lubbock and Crosby County last night (8/14). It came at a good time. The rain will extend peak bloom.” 


Patrick Kircher, New Mexico State University Extension Agent, Roosevelt County, Portales: “What was turning out to be a promising cotton crop was virtually destroyed in an August 4 hailstorm that devastated much of our Roosevelt County production area. There isn’t much cotton left. We had roughly 8000 acres lost.  There are about 2000 acres left.


“I talked with a consultant this morning (8/14) who said one producer had 3,000 cotton acres and lost it all. It had looked like we would make a good crop before the hail. All that’s left now are bare stalks with a boll. We’ve had plenty of rain this month. Some people have received 12 inches in Portales in August. But that doesn’t sound nearly as good after the devastating hailstorm.”


David Kerns, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Professor and Statewide IPM Coordinator: “We’re defoliating a lot of cotton in the College Station area. But there is some late cotton, so we’re still watching for stinkbugs. It hasn’t been a huge issue, but there have been some treatments in cotton.


“There have been aphid control issues for treatments with Imidacloprids. They are systemic insecticides that have not worked too well in several years, and we’re not recommending them. We don’t get big aphid runs, so growers sometimes forget what has worked and what hasn’t.”


Seth Byrd, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Cotton Specialist, Lubbock: “After all of this rain, I don’t know what to say anymore. A lot of areas got a little more rain last night (8/14). It’s not just the frequency – it’s the amount that’s received. These rains are at least a half-inch or more at a time.


“That doesn’t include everyone on the High Plains. Some areas south of Lubbock have not caught the rain that others have seen. Those places that have not received the rain will still need to manage their irrigation as bloom continues. But for the most part, rains have come at the right time for many growers. We’ll still take it, as long as we don’t have to deal with flooding. We’re getting good heat and we’re on the downhill end of bloom period, the peak time for water usage.


“With the rain, folks will see their weed control tested. It they have a good canopy and were able to get the second post-application down, they should be in good shape. Years like this where we have late rains show how timeliness is important in a good herbicide program that includes residuals. If that’s not the case, there can be issues in some fields that receive this much moisture.”


Cotton field in bloom - Chattanooga, Oklahoma.

Photo: Michele Kinder


Brad Easterling, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Glasscock, Reagan & Upton Counties: "We had a good shower over the weekend, which added to already good growing conditions. We’ve had a few bouts with aphids that we’ve been spraying. There are a few stinkbugs but they aren’t near threshold. We have a little largus bug, or border plant bug, that has some guys concerned. But it’s not yet a big issue.


“Our biggest concern is knowing how much Pix to put out after the rainfall. We may need one more shower to finish things out. Overall, it’s not too shabby to be growing cotton here. We just need an open fall to mature the late stuff.”


Suhas Vyavhare, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Entomologist, Lubbock: “I’ve had a couple of fields around Levelland with bollworms crossing the threshold in non-Bt varieties. I’m also getting bollworms at threshold in non-Bt varieties in my research trials. With the wet weather, we’re seeing a lot of extra growth in the terminals. That may attract more bollworm egg lay. They like that new growth.


“Fortunately, there are some good numbers of beneficials in some areas to help control cotton aphids. Beneficials are being aided by the good rain we’ve had. Rain is washing off most of the honeydew.


“Still, in some fields, especially non-Bt, folks may have to deal with both bollworms and aphids. In this case, tank mixing two products such as Prevathon plus a neonicotinoid would be a good option to hit two birds in one shot.


“In addition, stinkbugs could become a problem like we had last year. I haven’t spotted any activity, but stinkbugs love wet weather so we need to scout closely for them.”

Jourdan Bell, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agronomist, Amarillo: "I was in the northern Panhandle at Perryton late last week. Cotton looks good. But with the cool temperatures and continued rainfall, a lot of guys are getting concerned because of the potential shortage of heat units.


“Most fields are from flowering to boll development. With the rainfall we’ve had, it’s important for producers to evaluate the crop and determine if they need to be aggressive with PGRs. It may be needed to prevent plants from switching from boll development back to vegetative development.


“The rains have been very beneficial to dryland. A lot of it was pretty water stressed in early to mid-summer. Also, irrigators have been able to turn off their irrigation engines and reduce input costs. The rains came at the right time during peak bloom. I haven’t heard of any major hail damage that accompanied it, but there has been some wind damage.


“If producers had hail damage from the early July storms that slowed down production, the past 2 weeks of cooler temperatures could be a problem. But as long as we get warmer temps that are normal for August and September, and farmers are proactive with PGRs, we should finish off nicely.” 


Randy Norton, University of Arizona Extension Cotton Specialist, Safford: “We’ve had some areas that are bumping high rainfall totals. For us, that’s one to 1.5 inches. The Tucson and Phoenix areas have pushed those numbers. Thankfully, I’m not aware of any devastating storms.


“I remain very optimistic about this crop. Things are looking good. Harvest is under way in the Yuma area. Some of my plots were well above 3 bales per acre in yield. Over the rest of state, I’m very pleased. In the Maricopa area there is good fruit load and little insect pressure. Some growers have treated for lygus and may treat again. But overall, treatments have been minimal.


“Now guys are looking at terminating the crop and deciding when to put on the final irrigation. Most fields will be irrigated up to early September. We’re close to the end.” 



Gaylon Morgan, Texas A&M AgriLife State Cotton Specialist, College Station: “The central Rolling Plains crop looks good in the Haskell and Knox County area. The cotton is at cutout for the most part and looks like it has good yield potential. Aphids have been a problem there and a lot of guys have been spraying. Weed control looks good throughout that region.


“In the southern Blacklands, farmers are defoliating and looking at a slightly above average crop. There are some reports of premature leaf drop due to a potassium deficiency.


The northern Blacklands crop is also looking good. They caught some good rains recently. In the Upper Gulf Coast, they had a week or more of rain after they had defoliated. But harvesting has resumed. I’m hearing good yields from that area.”


Todd Baughman, Oklahoma State University Institute for Agricultural Biosciences, Program Support Leader, Peanuts, Ardmore: “The cotton crop still looks very promising. A lot of the area got rain in the past week or so, which has really helped. Much of the dryland went in late. So this August rain and cooler weather is going to benefit that crop.


“A lot of guys who went to the new herbicide technology have been happy with it. Weed control for those guys has been as good as it has been in a long time. There is nothing serious to report on insect pressure. Some growers are looking at Pix applications to manage the plant height. As a whole, things have been pretty good. Any time you have these kind of temps and rainfall in August it’s a positive experience.


“The same goes for peanut production. Peanuts look good. Most are on irrigation, so we didn’t have any stand issues. They have been running on full cylinders after a little slow start and there are no unexpected disease issues. If August continues like it is, we should be on our way to a good crop.”


AgFax News Links

Cottonseed Proposal, FY18: Details You Need to Know About Generic Base 8-15


Cleveland on Cotton: Stunned by WASDE Report? It Ain’t Over Yet. 8-11


Rose on Cotton: USDA Report Has High Expectations of U.S. Production 8-11


Shurley on Cotton: So Much for the 18-Mln Bale Scenario – And Higher Prices 8-14


Thompson on Cotton: USDA Sucker Punches Market 8-15


Texas Plains: Good Moisture Beneficial to Crops and Pest Alike 8-15


Texas Livestock: Burned but Not Lost – Pasture Management After Wildfires 8-15


Texas Field Reports: Vineyards Poised for Banner Year 8-15


Texas Sorghum: Sugarcane Aphids Spreading Through the Panhandle 8-15



Kansas: Ag Risk & Profit Conference, Manhattan, Aug. 17-18


Kansas: Regional Farm Succession Planning Seminar, Lincoln, Aug. 22


Kansas: Row Crop Roundup Field Day, Hays, Aug. 23


Texas: Randall County Ag Day and Crops Tour, Canyon, Aug. 30 


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


Texas: Wheat Production Meeting, Bovina, Aug. 31


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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