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Larry Stalcup, AgFax Southwest EditorDebra L Ferguson, AgFax Managing Editor


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



West Texas drought continues. Temps pushing 100+ this week. Dryland acres desperate for moisture. Kerry Siders talks about it.


Central Texas cotton nears squaring or is further along as growers scan the sky for rain clouds.


Kansas growers have spotty stands and multiple plant sizes in some fields. Tom Studnicka talks about early weather challenges.


Other than planting, herbicide and thrip sprays are keeping equipment running hard across the Belt.


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Paul Pilsner, Pilsner Consulting, Wharton, Texas/Upper Gulf Coast: “We have some serious heat in the forecast. Fortunately, we had perfect rains on nearly all of our cotton in the past few weeks. The cotton I watch received from 1 to 4 inches. It was perfect timing because it was squaring up and just starting to bloom.


“Fleahopper populations have been as light as we’ve seen in a long time. We had a few pockets but nothing bad. And we never had any aphids in Upper Coast cotton. It was so hard to get a stand early. I guess the bugs didn’t think it was worth eating.


“There’s some Bollworm moth activity south of here in the Refugio area. Our Upper Coast worm moth runs are historically about 3 weeks from now. We rely on WideStrike 3 and Bollgard 3 to handle them, but worry if the earlier Bt technologies are being used. They are not effective.


“After the rain we’re seeing more growth, so we’re applying Pix to manage it. Most weeds are under control. The new Enlist and Xtend technologies are saving us right now.


“In sorghum, we saw some rice stinkbugs that we’re watching.”


Alan Seitz, Crop Production Services, Wilcox, Arizona: “Cotton looks pretty good. We had very little replant and most cotton is at 3 to 5-leaf. Heat in the mid-90s has been good for us.


“Insect-wise, we’re seeing a few thrips. There are no pinheads yet, so we’re not worried about fleahoppers. We’re monitoring some lygus populations near hay fields. Other than a few morning glory and bindweed situations, weeds are not bad.”


Kerry Siders, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent Hockley, Cochran & Lamb Counties: “We’re dusting in the end of our dryland trial plots this morning (5/29). For the area overall, about 50% of the dryland has not been planted, while about 15 to 20% of the irrigated still needs to be planted. All of it should be planted between now and June 5.


“The dry weather is really hurting – no matter where you are. We had a little rain in the far east side of the county 2 weeks ago. But it’s still bone dry for most of us. At this point, we need more than 1 inch of rain to keep this moving. If it’s less than that, it could hurt the seed. A quarter-inch rain would just kill us.


“We’re seeing some thrips populations. For cotton that’s up and not protected from thrips, growers need to determine if they need to spray to prevent damage.”


David Drake, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension IPM Agent, Northeast Texas: “We struggled a little early and had some replants. With the warm weather last week and some good rain on Friday (5/25), we have about 80% of fields in great condition. We have a large thrips population and we’re spraying some fields for them. That’s unusual for us and for much of Texas. We’re monitoring for fleahoppers since we are a week or two away from squaring.”



Tom Studnicka, Studnicka Consulting, Belle Plaine, Kansas: “Overall, we’re off to a pretty good start. We’ve been fortunate to receive some rain, but it has been erratic. It has caused a tale of 2 plantings. We had a small planting window in early May following rain. Some cotton got in. Then the weather dried out, so guys couldn’t plant for a couple of weeks. Then we caught another little shower and got some planting done. But back-to-back heavy rains events hurt that young cotton.


“The results are spotty stands and some replants. Now, planting is running smoothly, even though we have all types of stands to deal with.


“With the rains, we’re also seeing pigweed with a vengeance. The preemerge herbicides are not holding up well, so we’re starting post-emerge applications earlier than we’d like.


“Wheat will be below average from what I see. It was too dry for too long. We have a lot of only 20 to 30-bushel wheat.”


Wayne Keeling, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Weed Specialist, Lubbock: “Weeds are on the back burner for now. With the hot, dry weather and wind, growers are just trying to get the crop up and going. Things are challenging at best. Some areas got a little rain, but a 0.75 rain isn’t enough to keep dryland cotton going.


“When we do finally receive good rain, guys need to keep in mind what type herbicide plan they’re on and stick with it. Some would like to spray now, but with the wind we’ve had, it is risky.”


Mark Hatley, Crop Quest Consulting, Dumas, Texas: “Planting is starting to wind down and some cotton is up and emerged. We’ve had some good rain. With that and the heat we’ve seen, I feel like it’s a good year for stands.


“We’re starting to fight some weeds. We’re spraying herbicide and we’ve also had to spray for thrips.


“Corn is looking good and growing rapidly. We’re doing some lay-by applications of herbicides. Some guys may have come back with more corn on what had been cotton acres. We had a very long cotton harvest and ginning season and there were also some issues with quality. That may be the reason.”


John David Gonzales, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension IPM Agent, Muleshoe/Parmer & Castro Counties: “We had a few rains last week and most of our cotton is planted. Most of the irrigated is in or should be. Some guys are planting dryland in center pivot corners.


“Stands are looking pretty good on irrigated. But the dryland is definitely taking a hit, especially some of the stuff that was hit with hail last week. Cotton was just pushing through the ground. Some guys are replanting, but others will leave it and hope it grows out of any hail damage.


“Thrips pressure has been low in my area. I’m not sure if it’s the lack of wheat being cut or not. Wheat took a hit with the dry winter. That likely suppressed thrips populations.


“There are some thrips in corn fields, which should help in controlling spider mites we’ve seen in the edges of fields in Parmer and Castro counties. Corn is looking good. The few rains we did get helped it. But some growers will run the pivot pretty soon after the hot and dry weather this past week and what we expect this week.”


John Ellis, Crop Production Services, Southwestern Oklahoma: “We’ve caught some decent rains recently that were badly needed. Most guys are still planting. I’d say about 10% of the cotton has a stand.


“They’re planting into good moisture in Tillman County and will keep at it until the moisture runs out. Then they’ll lay it on top and hope for rain. Some are still waiting until the first week of June to plant their dryland.” 




Scott Meeks, Yield Pro Crop Consulting, Farwell, Texas/Northern Panhandle: “We had some beneficial rain last night (5/28) in the northern Panhandle that should set us up for the heat wave coming in this week.


“Our cotton is off to a good start. We’re at least 2 weeks ahead of where we were this time last year. Things got planted early after an early warm up. We have good stands overall. My most mature cotton was planted April 23. It’s now at the 6-true-leaf stage. Some dryland is just now cracking the ground. I’m afraid there’s a lot of dryland that will come up, but not make it because of the low profile. But our irrigated looks good. We’re making herbicide applications and treating for thrips.


“My corn acres are down, but the crop is off to good start. The wide open planting window we had made it easy to get crops established.” 


Gaylon Morgan, Texas A&M AgriLife State Cotton Specialist, College Station: “Cotton is growing well with the warmer temperatures. The southern Blacklands is just starting to square in some early planted cotton. Other Blacklands cotton is also approaching that growth stage.


“We’re in need of moisture. We’re about to reach a situation where we’ll see some excessive heat this week with no moisture in the forecast. Some areas in West Texas are forecast to see temperatures that may approach 110. It’s pretty early to be breaking 100.


“Again, we are reminding growers to do a good job of managing their herbicide applications in the event we see weed outbreaks when rain does come.”


Emi Kimura, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Area Agronomist, Vernon: "We’ve had some good rain the past few weeks that really helped us. Parts of Hardeman County had 5.5 inches. We saw a lot of planting after the fields dried out. We’re still planting today (5/29).


“Cotton planted in mid-May is already up and looks good. The fact that we’ll see no more extremely low temperatures will help us.


“I’m sure we will see more weed outbreaks after the rain. Farmers put out preplant herbicides, but they need to keep scouting fields. It will be critical to prevent seedlings from having to compete with weeds.”



©Debra L Ferguson


AgFax.com News Links


Southwest Drought: Grim Forecast; Hope for El Nino by Autumn – DTN   5-29


Cleveland on Cotton: ‘All appears to be bullish…and therein lies the problem.’   5-25


Rose on Cotton: Rally, Weather – And,What about that Farm Bill?   5-25


Enlist Acres: Cotton Triples; Corn Broadens, ‘Don’t Cut Corners’ – DTN  5-25


Texas Ag Law: Grandma’s Will – Family Feud – What is a Life Estate?   5-29


Texas Cotton: Fleahoppers, Stink Bugs, and Bollworms 5-28


Texas Sorghum: Stink Bugs and Headworms 5-28


Texas Mid-Coast Cotton: Fleahopper Numbers on the Rise 5-25


Texas: Field Scout School, Plainview, May 31


Texas: Wildlife Workshop, Tennessee Colony, June 1


Texas: Viticulture Short Course, Bryan, June 4-5




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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, dferguson@agfax.com, Office: 601-992-9488. ©2017AgFax Media, LLC.

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