Larry Stalcup, AgFax Southwest Editor

Debra L Ferguson, AgFax Managing Editor


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



Unseasonably wet weather has Arizona growers smiling thanks to Pacific Hurricane Bud. New Mexico has also enjoyed good moisture. Rain is in the forecast for southwest Oklahoma where dryland is on the brink – it’s a “hand-wringing kind of year, so far,” says Seth Byrd.  


Randy Norton advises “zero tolerance” in Arizona where he anticipates herbicide resistant weed flushes.  


Bollworm trap counts are rising in the Blacklands, reports David Kerns, plus a hefty dose of spider mites.


Exciting news from Kansas - Jerry Stuckey says Northwest Cotton Growers Co-op is building a new gin in Moscow.


Good, Bad, Ugly - We want to see what you’re seeing in your cotton fields - weeds, applications, damage from weather, insects, even weird stuff - well not too weird! And, of course we love to see good looking fields! We'll share the best shots! So pull out your phone and send your horizontal photos to: 


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Suhas Vyavhare, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Entomologist, Lubbock: “We’re finally getting some useful rain but need more. The rains were good for farmers who got their dryland cotton planted late, as well as others. Since most cotton has made a stand, pressure from thrips is slowing down, although those who planted late should still scout for them. Wireworm pressure is easing up, but could still be a problem for late-planted cotton.


“As our cotton approaches early squaring, we need to be watching for fleahoppers. Control is important because many fields have low or non-uniform plant stands. We need to do all we can to do a good job of controlling fleas.”


Wayne Keeling, Texas A&M AgriLife Research Weed Specialist, Lubbock: “Since we’ve been so dry, I’ve noticed weeds are coming up in fields where growers were irrigating to get the crop up and going. So it’s important for guys to follow their herbicide plan and use timely post-emergence applications that include some in-season residuals.


“Some areas received good rain, but overall rainfall wasn’t as prevalent as the weather radar might have shown. We got about a half inch at the research station in Lubbock. Rains were very helpful for those areas because we’ve been extremely dry. In those situations, treating weeds when they are small is very important. Small weeds become big weeds very fast.


“I haven’t heard of any off-target problems with herbicide applications on the South Plains. But we still need to follow the labels to help prevent drift.”


Cotton - Ft. Cobb, Oklahoma.

Photo: Larry Stalcup, AgFax Southwest Cotton


Gary Beverage, Crop Production Services, Artesia, New Mexico/Southwest Texas: “New Mexico cotton is looking pretty good. We’re at 10 to 12 true leaves and plants are showing a lot of good squares. We’ve had good heat and a little bit of moisture to help our irrigation. Growers have had 3 good rains in the Artesia area and we’re not complaining. We’ll probably apply PGRs soon to manage growth.


“Growers in the Dell City area between Carlsbad and El Paso had some wind issues. Some cotton needed replanting and it’s coming along really well. Cotton not replanted is also growing very well.


“Our biggest weed issue right now is Russian thistle. Sometimes you get a good kill with Roundup and sometimes it doesn’t react well. Luckily a lot of my cotton has the dicamba trait that helps a whole lot.


“We’re not seeing any plant bugs yet but we’re watching for them. We’ve seen very few fleahoppers, but we did have some thrips problems early.”


Jourdan Bell, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Entomologist, Amarillo: “I’m checking fields this morning (6/18) and it’s nice to see some moisture. The central Panhandle got anywhere from 0.5 to 1 inch or more over the weekend. It was a very good rain since the dryland cotton has been struggling for several weeks. Hopefully this moisture has come at a good time to save some of our dryland fields.


“I’m seeing growth stages across the board, everywhere from seedling stage to some that is putting on pinhead squares. We had some spots with hail damage that accompanied the rain. Cotton under irrigation that escaped hail looks very good. Hopefully rains forecast this week will come in the form of rainfall only and we’ll miss the hail.


“Some farmers were replanting the past few weeks after hail in late May. Others are considering alternatives like sorghum since they missed the cotton planting window. Even with fields damaged by hail, some farmers feel there may be better profit potential by maintaining cotton that received slight hail damage than going with sorghum. They feel grain prices will remain low.


“With the dry weather we saw before the recent rains, there was difficulty in herbicide activation. Weeds are coming through. Producers will need some aggressive post-emergence herbicide programs. I’ve also heard of dicamba drift situations. It’s important to know what your neighbor is planting and to follow label instructions on your herbicide program.


“In addition, irrigated producers need to manage their watering and make sure their PGR program is ready to handle excessive plant growth.”


Seth Byrd, Oklahoma State University Extension Cotton Specialist, Stillwater/Altus: “A lot of folks are really counting on rain that’s forecast for this week, including me. It’s a get-it-out-of-the-ground rain. For dryland, if we can get a good rain between emergence and squaring, it will get us there.


“A lot of cotton planted in marginal moisture in early May looks really good. The dividing line was the rain in mid-May. Some fields are approaching squaring where they caught a little rain. But hot weather in late May and early June hurt a lot of fields. It won’t let up. Last Wednesday (6/13) we received about 1.6 inches in the Altus area. That was enough to sprout the seed. Then we were hit with hot and windy again – nasty for that young cotton.


“It is a hand-wringing kind of year, so far. So rain this week is needed.”   



David Kerns, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Professor and Statewide IPM Coordinator: “We’re seeing really high bollworm activity in the Blacklands area. We had some traps run over 200 moths per trap. A lot of cotton is just starting to bloom and will be really attractive to bollworms.


“The WideStrike 3 and Bollgard 3 cottons are holding up well against bollworms. That’s not to say they can’t get some damage, but all in all they hold up really well compared to the dual gene cottons.


“If bollworms are present and running 6% damaged fruit, that will justify treatment. That’s true for any Bt cotton. We’ve had severe problems with the dual genes. If there’s a big egg lay, I’m going to spray the egg lay.


“We’re currently seeing a lot of spider mites due to hot, dry conditions in the Blacklands. Mites are aggravated by spraying being made to control cotton fleahoppers, which have been extremely bad. A lot of dryland fields have seen big outbreaks of spider mites and require miticide treatments.


“Stinkbugs are a problem in the gulf areas, as well as bollworms. We’re seeing corn earworm resistance to non-Viptera corn. Earworms are going straight through it, so resistance is prevalent. We’re also monitoring for pyrethroid resistance in bollworms. About 30% of the populations we’re collecting are resistant.”


Bollworm Moth.

Photo: Kate Harrell, Upper Coast IPM Blog


Randy Norton, University of Arizona Extension Cotton Specialist, Safford: “Thanks to Hurricane Bud, we received some slow, steady rain when the storm pushed into Arizona from Mexico. In some areas we got 2 inches. About 0.75 of an inch was measured in the central part of the state. Rain in June is unusual and was a welcomed change.


“We’re pleased with the crop so far. Some early stuff has one-inch bolls and most has good fruit retention. In the southeast, cotton is just starting to bloom.


“We’re seeing some insect pressure over in the Yuma area. Whitefly and lygus treatments are going out. With the rain we’ve had, we could see some weed surprises. There’s no doubt we have Roundup resistant weeds. Growers need zero tolerance for any escapes.


“We haven’t had a lot of heat stress like last year at this time when we hit Level 2 heat stress with temperatures way above 110. We’ll be up in the 108s and 109s but should stay below 110.”


Jerry Stuckey, Farmer/general manager, Northwest Cotton Growers Co-op, Inc., Moscow, Kansas: “Much of this area in southwest Kansas appears to be way ahead of where we were this time last year. My own cotton is already squaring and some squares are about the size of a dime. I talked to anther grower who also has a lot of cotton already squaring. With the squaring, I sprayed for fleahoppers at the same time I sprayed for weeds.


“We don’t have much dryland because of the weather. Some dryland germinated but died when we didn’t get any more rain.


“We’re building a Lummus gin south of our gin here in Moscow. It will have 4 stands with room for two others as we expand acres. We built the first gin in 2002 to show we could raise cotton up here. We doubled the size in 2004. Then we had the 2, 4-D problem and lost a lot of acres. Now that we have the Enlist 2, 4-D resistant varieties, our acres are exploding.


“This area continues to lose water for irrigation, so we’re seeing more cotton. A lot of wells don’t have the water to grow corn anymore. I think cotton is here to stay.”


Kyle Aljoe, Crop Quest Consulting, Dimmitt, Texas: “Our irrigated cotton is growing really well and is at the early-square stage. We’ve been squaring for a couple of weeks. That’s for irrigated. The dryland is nothing. Most didn’t make it up due to the dry weather, heat and winds.


“We’re not seeing much insect pressure right now. But we’re starting to put out PGRs to handle excessive growth from having to irrigate. We’ve caught a little rain, but some guys have had some hail damage along with it. Hail took a few leaves off and wind finished ripping them apart.


“We have some Roundup resistant weeds and are having a hard time killing them, even with dicamba cotton. Guys are doing a good job with weeds if they get them early, but the wind has prevented some fields from getting sprayed on time. We’re not seeing any herbicide drift problems so far.”   



Emi Kimura, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Area Agronomist, Vernon: "We really need rain that is in the forecast because we haven’t had the moisture we hoped for in the past few weeks. There just isn’t much progress with the cotton in the Rolling Plains. The irrigated looks good but needs rain. Dryland producers are finishing planting in hopes of a good rain. Many are dry-planting their seed.


“Our wheat also suffered from dry weather. There are spotted areas that had very good yields despite the dry winter. But most dryland wheat was either cut for hay or had very low yield.


“I’m cautioning growers against planting low-quality wheat seed this fall. Producers who caught seed for planting next year need to have it tested to make sure the quality is there.”


Dwayne Reed, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Hale, Floyd & Swisher Counties: “I can count on one hand the amount of dryland fields that are up and thriving. We lost the majority due to small rains that caused seed to sprout then die due to hot, dry wind. But the irrigated that’s up looks pretty darn good. The irrigated growth stage is from just up and established to quarter-grown square.


“Growers have had to water a lot, so we’re trying to tame growth with a little PGR on older fields. We’re trying to keep internodes short and create better fruit growth.


“Stands are on the light side, especially as you go north. Wireworms affected things early, along with the drought situation. Plants per acre are light, but look good.


“I picked up a few fleahoppers today (6/19) and I’ve seen a little fruit drop. That’s probably half from fleahoppers and half from the dry hot weather. But we still don’t need any treatments yet for fleahoppers.


“We have some weed patches coming through, but weed control has improved this year over last. However, there are still a lot of weeds smaller than a credit card and recently emerged. They won’t be that small much longer. Guys are working to get over-the-top herbicides and residuals out. The weeds are pushing them.


“Corn and sorghum look pretty clean from weeds and insects.”


Gaylon Morgan, Texas A&M AgriLife State Cotton Specialist, College Station: “ I was in Williams County a little north of Austin this morning (6/19). They had received rain 2 weeks ago. Their earlier planted cotton is 7 to 8 NAWF and in the second week of bloom. Northward into McLennan, Ellis and Hill counties they are extremely dry. They need a rain really bad if they’re going to make a crop. They’re just at bloom and at 6 NAWF. This is when plants really need the water. There are good rain chances this week for this area.


“In the northern Blacklands, fields are approaching bloom. They’ve received more rain up there. The Upper Gulf Coast has received some decent rain that should help that region. With the chance for storms in the forecast, if we get a string of several cloudy days in a row, we could start to lose some fruit due to lack of sunshine. If that’s the case and they get a good rain, growers need to get in there fast with PGRs to handle excessive growth.


“For areas that have received rain, growers need to handle the flush of weeds that will come.” News Links  


Texas Plains Cotton: Thrips Resurgence; Scout for Fleahoppers, Lygus   6-19 



Texas Field Reports: Conditions Remain Hot, Dry   6-20   



Cleveland on Cotton: Mother Nature Played the Rain Card   6-15  



Rose on Cotton: How Dry Does Texas Have To Be To Move USDA Projection?   6-15  



ELS Cotton Competitive Payment Rate Is Zero   6-15   



Drought Outlook Seasonal – June, July, Aug.   6-15   



Cotton Outlook: World Ending Stocks Projected at 7 Year Low   6-15   



Oklahoma Crops: Section 18 for Transform Use in Cotton and Sorghum.   6-15   



Texas LRGV Crops: First Cotton Bolls; Insects Picking Up Speed   6-15



Texas: STEM Teachers Tour AgriLife Research Farm   6-18  



Texas Upper Coast IPM: Bollworms and Stinkbugs   6-18  



Future Farmers of America – Making a Comeback in Nebraska School – DTN   6-19   



Texas: Eagle Lake Rice Field Day, June 26  



Texas: Ag Workshop, Farm Tour San Antonio, June 29-30



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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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