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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.




Scattered reports of rain helped spur planting into full swing across west Texas and parts of Oklahoma. But moisture is still needed for putting seeds into dryland fields, especially in Kansas.


Roundup resistance. “It’s here,” says Mark Nemec. Waterhemp is pushing on through.


Swarms of thrips –  a scary vision – are leaving the wheat and headed for Southern Plains cotton sprouts. Be on the lookout.


Dicamba and 2,4-D injury. Self-inflicted and off-target movement is getting the blame.


Send your meeting details to me: beef2lar@suddenlink.net or call 806-671-1446.





Seth Byrd, Oklahoma State University Extension Cotton Specialist, Stillwater and Altus: “We had an inch of rain early Sunday morning (5/20) in Altus, which was very much welcomed. Folks are going to be in a different mindset. Many will have to let the fields dry out before they can plant.


“North of Altus some acres were planted before the shower, but a large portion of growers were waiting on the rain. Most folks had been holding off and weren’t too worried because it was still early to mid-May. If they had not gotten rain, we would have been a little nervous in the southwest corner of the state.


“The cotton that did get planted the second week of May looks really good since it was planted into good moisture.”


Mark Nemec, MJN Consulting, Waco, Texas: “We’re seeing more and more glyphosate-resistant waterhemp. Fields that Roundup worked on last year have more resistance this year. I’ve been warning the guys that Roundup resistance is coming, and it’s here now.


“Cotton is starting to grow off pretty good. Older cotton is putting on squares and we’re spraying for fleahoppers. We had some spotty thrips pressure but nothing bad. We have a few fields we were behind on with weed treatments, but we’ve been able to get in and do some catch up.


“We got a lucky rain yesterday (5/20). The forecast Friday was for no rain, but we got 1.5 to 2 inches. It’s good for our cotton and hit the corn just right. It was burning up.”


Randy Norton, University of Arizona Extension Cotton Specialist, Safford: “Things are rocking along. Our temperatures have moderated after being extremely warm for this early in the season. I’d say 99% of the crop is in the ground. Some double-crop is still being planted. Yuma cotton is well into squaring and close to early bloom.


“We’re seeing some disease west of Buckeye, which is west of Phoenix. We’re meeting a plant pathologist there today (5/22) to analyze the situation. It’s 3 to 4-leaf cotton so we’re concerned about it.


“There’s no insect pressure other than a little flea beetle damage. Also, a few fields have been treated for mites near alfalfa fields.” 


Katelyn Kesheimer, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Lubbock & Crosby Counties: “I’m being swarmed by thrips this afternoon (5/21) near Lubbock. They are widespread between New Deal and Slaton. They are in bar ditches on Johnsongrass and other vegetation. I haven’t seen a lot of cotton up, but they’ll be looking for it when it emerges. Growers need to keep an eye out for thrips in really young cotton.


“We had scattered showers in the area over the weekend – about 0.5 inch in southern Lubbock County. Crosby County also had some good rain. We should see nice planting this week, but it’s actually too muddy to get into some turn rows. That’s a good problem to have this year. Other areas remain dry and hope to receive showers in the next few days. With the rain, guys need to keep an eye out for weeds.


“There are some fall armyworms out now. Guys with corn need to watch for those. I haven’t seen any sugarcane aphids. Let’s hope they hold off for those who need to plant some sorghum.”



Gaylon Morgan, Texas A&M AgriLife State Cotton Specialist, College Station: “Due to dry conditions, things were looking pretty rough in parts of the Upper Coast and Blacklands. But a lot of places received some decent rain Sunday (5/20) and into Monday. There were a few reports of spider mites but rain should slow them down. The southern Rolling Plains also caught some rain, as well as areas north of Abilene. 


“We’re expecting some weed flushes after the rain. Unfortunately, we have observed some self-inflicted herbicide injury with both dicamba and 2, 4-D. There have been some spray tank contamination issues, and we’re also hearing reports of off-target movement of both of those herbicides. Guys are working it out amongst themselves at this point. They’ve had narrow windows to make these auxin herbicide applications, but growers need to remember to follow the label for applications and tank mixes. We can’t be complacent with this issue or it could affect the entire industry and weed control options into the future.”


Jerry Stuckey, farmer-general manager, Northwest Cotton Growers Co-op, Inc., Moscow, Kansas: “Our irrigated crop is mostly planted and most of it is up. Looks pretty good. But we need some rain to help it along. Since it has been so dry, we don’t have any dryland planted. We just have no moisture. For the most part we’ve been able to get the Enlist seed we’ve needed to help prevent 2, 4-D damage to cotton. That’s good, but we need rain to make this year work.”


Chuck Wilbur, Independent Crop Consultant, Wellington, Texas/Southeastern Panhandle/Southwestern Oklahoma: “We’ve finally had some good rain. It’s been anywhere from 1 inch to 3.5 to 4 inches. With the rain came a little wind damage and some damage from slushy hail. But we’re much better off than we were before it rained. One customer in the Red River Valley had 4.5 inches and missed all of the hail. He’s pretty happy.


“Cotton that’s up is at cotelydon and will see its first true leaf later this week. A lot of people started to plant dryland between storms last week. But many are forced to let fields dry out before they can get back in the field. This is our window for planting and we have a good profile. We’ll be fast and furious in another day or two.


“There are a few thrips but nothing bad. And the December futures market hit 84 cents today (5/21). That makes it look even better.”


Clyde Crumley, Crumley Agricultural Consulting, El Campo, Texas: “Cotton is a mixed bag. We had a lot replanted after poor emergence and cool weather concerns. Then it was terribly hot and dry for about a month before we had nearly an inch of rain this past weekend (5/20). Our cotton got its legs under it and kicked into gear. We’re seeing some squaring cotton and should see some blooms in a week to 10 days.


“We’re treating for fleahoppers. Most fields have had some kind of treatment and some are on their second round of spraying to get us to bloom. There are a few spider mites after the warm dry weather, but I haven’t seen any fields that needed spraying. We’re also seeing a few tarnished plant bugs but nothing that’s too serious.


“Guys need to watch for bollworms once we hit bloom. We’re probably 3 weeks to a month from seeing some bollworm pressure. The older Bt technologies are not working. We’re hoping WideStrike 3 and Bollgard 3 keep us out of trouble.


“Overall we have a chance for a good crop if we get more rain. Corn looked good early, but the dry weather during tasseling really hurt.” 



Gary Beverage, Crop Production Services, Artesia, New Mexico/Southwest Texas: “We’re anywhere from still planting to 2-leaf at this point. What we have up looks pretty good. We have a chance for rain tonight (5/21). Unfortunately, some cotton in Van Horn, Texas, got hailed-out last night.


“We’ve had light thrips pressure but nothing horrible yet. Weeds vary from field to field. Overall weed pressure is light.


“It’s important that guys make sure they have enough soil moisture to keep fields going so we don’t have to do any emergency irrigating later on.”


**Remember to scroll down to read AgFax.com headlines: cotton market commentary, field information and meetings.  


Josh McGinty, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agronomist, Corpus Christi: “We’ve been very dry, but finally caught a little rain over the weekend. It was from 0.5 to 2 inches in spots and not as much as I would have liked in others. There hasn't been much rain since we planted in March. But we haven’t faced any true moisture stress due to a good soil profile left from last year’s Hurricane Harvey rain. We still have moisture 6 to 7 inches down.


“We haven’t had any bad insect problems –  a few spider mites during the warm dry spell but the rain probably took care of them. Growers need to watch for bollworms pretty soon. We had some worm resistance issues last year and there’s still a lot of 2-gene Bt being planted.


“There have been very few weed issues, but that could change with the rain we’ve had.”


Rex Brandon, Crop Production Services, Dumas, Texas: “Our irrigated cotton jumped out of the ground fast and looks good. We have a good stand and some is at its first true leaf. Good heat and the seed treatments helped us out.


“A lot of dryland fields are getting dusted in. Some pockets have caught rain, but it is really scattered. There is dryland that may be on the line if it doesn’t see rain soon. Some growers have questions about planting to qualify for insurance.


“On the insect-side, we’re seeing a lot of aphids since it is hot and dry. We’ll have more aphid pressure as the wheat matures and dries out.”


Suhas Vyavhare, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Entomologist, Lubbock: “We’re finally getting rain and planting is going strong. At the same time, we’re seeing swarms of thrips moving from wheat to the little bit of cotton we have up. Many farmers are probably not ready for an insecticide treatment, but they still need to look out for thrips this early in the season.


“There are some reports of wireworms in spots. They can be a problem especially in no-till fields and those planted after sorghum. Guys should be looking at stands to see if there is any damage. There is no treatment for wireworms. The only way to manage them is to replant with an insecticide treated seed.”



©Debra L Ferguson


AgFax.com News Links 

Texas Field Reports: Corn, Sorghum Producers Face Weather, Market Uncertainties  5-21


Texas Upper Coast Cotton: Lygus and Fleahoppers with a Side of Spidermites   5-21


Texas Mid-Coast Sorghum: Watch for Midge in Blooming Fields   5-21


Cleveland on Cotton: Bullet Train Was Riding High This Week   5-18


Rose on Cotton: Foreign Demand Excellent; Crop Weather Tough Everywhere   5-18


Thompson on Cotton: Would Enough Rain In Texas Be Too Much?   5-18


Decline in Farm Income Slows but Persists – Fed Reserve Bank, Kansas City   5-18


Farm Bill: Hard Line Republicans – Proposals Overly Generous to “Big” Farmers – DTN   5-18


Texas Upper Coast Cotton: Lygus and Fleahoppers with a Side of Spidermites 5-21


Texas Mid-Coast Sorghum: Watch for Midge in Blooming Fields 5-21


Seed Cotton Program: Bipartisan Budget Act Requires Producer Action 5-17



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