Larry Stalcup, AgFax Southwest Editor

Debra L Ferguson, AgFax Managing Editor


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


Reports come to you from the cotton fields of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Arizona.



Waiting on a rain. Most West Texas growers are chomping at the bit to plant. With temperatures in the mid-90s and high winds, they can’t catch a break.


Rio Grande Valley cotton is in full bloom. A few fleahopper, aphid and spider mite situations have required spraying. Bollworms remain a no show.


The Blacklands enjoyed some rain, but there remain concerns about getting good stands after a cool April.


Weeds are beginning to turn up. A wide swath of growers are counting on new herbicide technology to do battle with marestail, Kochia, resistant pigweed and more.


Oklahoma acres will be up considerably, which might complicate rotations, reports Seth Byrd.


Couple of things to remember this week:

Friday, May 11, is the deadline to sign up for the Cotton Ginning Cost Share Program.

Friday, May 11, Lahoma Wheat Field Day, registration at 8:30 a.m., DASNR’s North Central Research Station.


Send your meeting details to me: or call 806-671-1446.


Scroll down to read our latest AgFax News Links.





Seth Byrd, Oklahoma State University Extension Cotton Specialist, Stillwater and Altus: “We received some much needed rain late last week over the state. We had been extremely dry and some areas received close to 2 inches.


“Planting has kicked off for irrigated acres, but it depends on where you are in the southwest corner. Many areas got enough to get a wet seed bed. We have a forecast of wind and high temperatures in the 90s. Guys are trying to plant where they can find windows of good soil moisture.


“With it being so dry before the rain, it has been hard to get yellow herbicide incorporated in the soil. Right now there’s not a lot of weed pressure, other than a few grassy weeds here and there. We’ll need to watch for them after the rain we've had.


“Oklahoma’s acres will really be up this year. USDA has forecast 680,000 acres. That’s a good starting point but may be a little low. I see 700,000 to 750,000. I’ve even heard 800,000 tossed around. Some who were worried about freeze damage to wheat want to switch to cotton. Cotton is a multi-year decision and could throw some rotations out of whack.


“I’d like to remind farmers of the Lahoma Wheat Field Day that is scheduled for Friday, May 11. It’s a good opportunity to see how old and new varieties look. There will also be some discussion of summer crops that should be beneficial.”


Danielle Sekula Ortiz, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Weslaco/Lower Rio Grande Valley: “Cotton is at full bloom and squaring very nicely. There are still a few pest situations but nothing serious at this time. There are a few cotton aphids here and there. Fleahoppers were a problem and a lot of guys sprayed for them last week. There has been a little bit of spider mite damage, but overall there’s nothing big going on with pests.


“I haven’t seen any bollworms yet. I’ve alerted growers that if they have any bollworm pressure to call me. None of my guys have had to spray for bollworms like growers north of here. We haven’t seen any Bt resistance.


“Sorghum looks pretty and is either flowering or at the soft dough stage. Sugarcane aphid populations are at little to none and I haven’t seen any midge.” 


Stephen Biles, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Victoria, Calhoun & Refugio Counties: “Some of our oldest cotton is squaring and we’re watching for fleahoppers. I’m monitoring them and have yet to see the numbers high enough to cause concern. With the dry forecast we have, it’s important to adhere to the threshold of 15 fleahoppers per 100 plants. In dry conditions, the plant does not have the ability to compensate for any fruit loss.


“While the older cotton is squaring, some cotton is just now coming out of the ground. It can still face thrips, but as warm as it has been, thrips may not be a problem. That late cotton is on replanted ground that saw early stands heavily damaged by cold temperatures and high winds. Some fields had nothing left but the cotyledon.


“We also need more rain to help activate residual herbicides. They don’t work as well without rain and we’re seeing some early pigweed growth.


“Our sorghum is progressing well and I’ve yet to see any significant sugarcane aphid populations. Also, a lot of corn is already tasseling. But it’s having problems because of the dry weather. We need a good rain for these crops.”


Alan Seitz, Crop Production Services, Wilcox, Arizona: “It has been a little slow. Very few fields are at a full stand. We’re probably about 40% planted, but the bigger acre guys are finishing up this week.


“Thrips and aphids are generally a problem in cotton and other crops this time of year, but we’re only seeing light thrips pressure that is below normal. I’m not sure why because by now we’re usually getting hit pretty hard.


“There are no real weed situations. Our biggest problem is with our oats cover crop. Some guys did a poor job of getting their oats killed. It was under drought when we sprayed it and likely didn’t respond as well to the herbicide. We like to see a dead cover crop before we plant.”


Tommy Doederlein, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Dawson County: “We’re just too dry to plant. This morning (5/8) was the first time I’ve seen a planter on the road. I’m not sure if it was headed to plant or just gearing up for it. A lot of guys haven’t put out any Treflan due to the lack moisture. Others have applied fertilizer and yellows, and are hoping for rain.


“We’re at all spectrums of preparedness. Fields are listed and in position to be planted. Guys are just waiting on moisture. But it wouldn’t surprise me if some started planting any day now.” 



Emi Kimura, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Area Agronomist, Vernon: "We’re not yet ready to plant in the northern Rolling Plains because it is still too dry. We’re seeing temperatures in the 90s and need more rain to get the ground ready.


“A wide range of producers are interested in the new seed technologies. They just need to make sure they use them correctly so we can have the new systems in 2019 and beyond.


“Wheat has also suffered from the dryness since being planted last fall. We had 3 to 4 months of dry weather after planting. Some didn’t even germinate. We also had a freeze in April that injured some wheat heads. Producers who received good moisture should have a good crop. But others will not.”


Stu Duncan, Kansas State University Crops & Soils Specialist, Manhattan: “We have the soil temperatures to get stuff in the ground in cotton country. It’s just a matter of whether they’ve finished planting corn. We’re looking for more cotton acres in Kansas. I feel we’ll have our largest number of acres ever, since we have the Enlist and Xtend technologies.


“Far southwest Kansas will be almost 100% Enlist if they can get the seed. Overall, we’re looking at 125,000 to 150,000 acres. But some gins feel that if growers can get the seed, we could see 200,000 acres signed up.


“Corn is spiking in the central and north central areas. We’ve had good rain over much of the state.”


Gaylon Morgan, Texas A&M AgriLife State Cotton Specialist, College Station: “We caught a rain through much of the southern and central Blacklands on Friday (5/4). Things are warming up, which will push some cotton through. Some guys are still questioning whether they will have a decent stand in much of the Blacklands.


“Weeds are an early problem. I’ve heard some guys say that weed control wasn’t what they had expected from a number of different herbicides. That’s probably a factor caused by the cooler temperatures we’ve had. Now that it’s warming up the herbicides should work better.” 



Mike McHugh, Southwest Texas Ag Consultants, Uvalde, Texas: “It has been a little cool this spring and we’ve had a lot of replanting. So we’re about 2 weeks late on the crop. Most early stands were weak and got replanted. Everything planted in the last 10 days looks really good.


“We are seeing thrips move into older cotton and we’re having to treat some. There’s also an older block of cotton that is seeing some fleahoppers. We’ll spray for them tomorrow (5/8). But since it has been dry, it doesn’t look like we’ll have a huge fleahopper problem.


“We have some Roundup resistant pigweed showing up everywhere. There’s a lot of Liberty going out. Plus, the new seed technology gives us more tools. It’s still a learning curve for some, especially where they’re running dicamba.


“Our corn looks really good and is in the V-8 to V-10, pre- to early-tassel stage.”


John Idowu, New Mexico State University Extension Cotton Specialist, Las Cruces: “I just finished planting my plots last Friday (5/4), but some growers began planting two to three weeks ago. It has been so dry. We will need all of the irrigation water we can get this year from the Rio Grande River and Elephant Butte Reservoir. Other farmers will have to rely more on their own wells. The dry weather is reflecting in all crops.”


Jason Woodward, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Plant Pathologist (Cotton & Peanuts), Lubbock: “With the dry weather and too much wind, it’s hard for many growers to get started. However, soil temperatures have warmed up. So once we get cotton planted shallow and get water on it, seedling disease shouldn’t be much of an issue. If they go deeper it could be more of a risk. We planted corn shallow and got it out of the ground in 4 days. Cotton planted shallow should do just as well as temperatures continue to heat up.


“I think we had some irrigated cotton going in the ground over the weekend. But the wind has effected the ability to put down preplant moisture to get things started.”


Tim Ballinger, Ballinger Innovative Agronomics, Dumas, Texas: “We received about an inch of rain a week ago that helped us get started. We started planting cotton last Thursday and have some irrigated and dryland in the ground. In strip-till systems, we’re having to lower the trash wheels to move a lot of the residue out of the way. That’s so we can plant the seed shallow at about a half-inch deep, then wait for more rain.


“Marestail looks like it will be the main weed issue this year. Kochia and other weeds decided to come on strong about a week ago. Marestail has been difficult to control. We applied some burndown with a residual from March through April. Now that we have cotton planted, we’re putting down some preemerge herbicide to take care of the early weeds.


“Most of my corn is in the ground and is emerging. Wheat is at headed to bloom. The tallest is at about 18 inches tall. We expect dryland to insurance-out soon.” 

©Debra L Ferguson


AgFax News Links 

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Texas: East Side Row Crop Tour, Downsville, June 15  


Texas Field Reports: Alternative Crop Interest Remains Steady Despite Lower Prices   5-8


Texas Cotton: Wireworms in the High Plains a Threat to Establishment   5-8


Texas Cotton: Problems with Thrips, Fleahoppers   5-7


Weekly Cotton Market Review – USDA   5-4


Texas: Marketing Plans Help Farmers Capitalize on Grain Markets   5-2


New Mexico: 3 Counties Designated Natural Disaster Areas from Drought   5-3 


Texas: 3 Counties Declared Natural Disaster Areas from Drought   5-3


U.S. Drought Outlook Monthly – May   5-1


Texas Cotton: To Replant or Not to Replant? That Is the Question.   5-3 


Texas LRGV Cotton: Blooms in the Valley; Aphid Moving in Some Areas   5-4


Texas Cotton: Scouting for Thrips and Aphids   5-1  



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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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