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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.
Weather extremes in this week's report. Heavy rain washed into coastal areas leaving muddy fields with anticipated weed flushes. Drought continues with dryland crop failure in far West Texas, parts of the South Plains and Oklahoma.
Bollworm egg lays are reported in northeast Texas, as well as over 700 miles away near El Paso, where Pima will likely need spraying.
We apologize for our error. David Kerns, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Professor and Statewide IPM Coordinator, was misquoted in last week’s June 21 issue. This is the corrected version: “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.”
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Stephen Biles, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Victoria, Calhoun & Refugio Counties: “Our area received a tremendous amount of rain over the weekend. The totals topped 15 inches in some areas. Almost everything is very wet, but it’s not doing cotton any harm. We’ve seen some fruit loss, which normally happens after a large rainfall amount. But this is largely due to the dry period we had before the rains. We’re trying to fill bolls. A number of fields made it to 5 NAWF, which would be cutout. But with heavy rain, I expect plants to start fruiting up again.
“The challenge now is to scout our crops, find the insects and treat them. We found some stinkbugs this morning (6/25). Treatments will probably cost more because they’ll have to be made with aerial applications due to the muddy fields.
“I expect to see another flush of weeds, particularly grasses. We could also see some pigweed. We’re probably far enough along that weeds won’t hurt this year’s crop. The issue is to prevent seeds from developing that could hurt next year’s production.
“Our sorghum looks pretty fair. When we get dry, I expect to see combines in the fields. I haven’t seen any sugarcane aphid hotspots. The heavy rains likely cleaned any honeydew off the plants. But we’ll still scout closely for them.”
Tom Studnicka, Studnicka Consulting, Belle Plaine, Kansas: “We got 3 to 5 inches of rain over the weekend, which really got us going in the right direction. Everything is squaring, with the exception of late-planted stuff. We’re spraying for a few fleahoppers and having to apply PGRs after the recent rains.
“We’re really staying on top of the weeds. Guys are doing a really good job in controlling them. A combination of Liberty, dicamba products and residuals are working well. The dry weather before the rain helped us get a lot of timely spraying done.
“We’re starting to have a few 2, 4-D drift issues on some cotton. But, so far, we’re not really seeing any dicamba drift issues.
“Wheat harvest is mostly done. The crop turned out surprisingly better than anticipated after the dry spring – average to slightly above average yields. Corn was on the verge of severe yield reductions before we caught rain just in time to save some yield potential. Beans look good overall and are not showing any stress. The rain will also help them.”
Brad Easterling, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Glasscock, Reagan & Upton Counties: "The situation is terrible in this part of West Texas. Overall, we might have only 10% of our total cotton acres make a crop. It has been a continual 99 to 105 degrees and very little rain to go with it.
“All of the dryland failed, and we might get to keep only one-third to half of our irrigated crop. Nearly all of it is drip irrigation and we haven’t been able to get water up to the seed. Most of the drip systems are 80-inch spacings. With no helpful rains, the drip tape can’t push water to every row. Fields are very skippy and stands are thin.
“Insurance adjusters are in the area today (6/26) and they’re starting to release some fields. I try to cheer up growers by telling them that they’ll save money on herbicide, insecticide and PGRs. That doesn’t seem to help.
“Spider mites are showing up in corn and watermelons. They could also be a problem where we still have cotton. Wildlife is also a problem. Pastures are bare dirt, so there’s nothing for deer to eat. They’re going right through hot-wire fences to hit watermelons and also eating corn ears.
“We’re hopeful that we’ll receive a late planting rain and guys can come back with wildcat cotton, sorghum or haygrazer. We sure need help to try and salvage something.
“Most people tell me this is worse than the drought year of 2011.”
Gaylon Morgan, Texas A&M AgriLife State Cotton Specialist, College Station: “I’ve been in the Upper Gulf Coast in recent days. That area’s mid to late-planted cotton is going to benefit from the rain they received this past weekend. But it was too late to provide much help for the more mature cotton.
“I’m in the Blacklands today (6/26). Cotton is pretty bleak in the Waco area and in Hill and Ellis counties. Plants have a decent amount of fruit, but I don’t see how they can hold on to it with 3-inch cracks in the ground from dry weather. Not much help is in the forecast. No rain is expected within the next 10 days.
“The Brazos Bottom caught a decent rain and needed it pretty badly. Cotton was in the key mid-bloom stage.”
Randy Norton, University of Arizona Extension Cotton Specialist, Safford: “We’re seeing some treatments go out for whitefly and bollworms on older cotton in the Yuma area. Bollworm treatments are for non-Bt and Pima cotton. These are not pink bollworms, which is good. I haven’t heard of any significant insect pressure in central Arizona.
“Some disease problems are showing up. We think it may be verticillium wilt but are testing to make sure it isn’t fusarium wilt. It’s important for growers to monitor their fields for any wilt disease, then contact us about it. We need to make sure what we’re dealing with.
“Cotton looks good in most cases. A lot of earlier stuff has 1-inch bolls. The crop is entering a critical growth period. The next 2 weeks will be the hottest and driest conditions we’ll see until the monsoon season starts. Growers need to stay on top of their water to help prevent heat stress. With temperatures above 110 degrees, we need to protect the crop as much as possible.”
David Drake, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension IPM Agent, Northeast Texas: “We’re in the squaring stage and have had a heavy fleahopper year. We’ve had to spray twice. We’re also seeing a heavy bollworm egg lay and hoping the Bt technology will hold up.
“In areas where we picked up spotty rains, things look pretty good. In other areas that remain very dry, things are burning up.
“We always have to be vigilant against resistant weeds. Dicamba has helped, and the dry weather gave a little relief from weed pressure. We’ve sprayed 3 times already. Most producers have put down residuals and that program is working pretty well. But we don’t have any big weed emergencies.
“The corn looks good in areas where farmers have received scattered showers. We could hit 100-bushel dryland corn in the better areas. We need another rain to fill that out.”
Texas no-till cotton in corn residue.
Photo: Larry Stalcup, AgFax Media
Tommy Doederlein, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Dawson County: “We’re still trying to get something going, but the long period of hot, dry, windy weather has taken its toll on much of our cotton. We have some irrigated cotton that looks good. It is at 6 to 7 true leaves. But a lot of dryland won’t be there.
“I understand insurance adjusters will start doing appraisals on Wednesday. They will determine what will be abandoned. I expect a lot of acres will be abandoned down here in parts of the South Plains. A few rains have danced through the area, but not enough to offset the hot, dry winds that followed and sucked the moisture out of the ground.
“I think some farmers will come back with milo, but seed could be in short supply. Haygrazer seed is pretty much gone. A lot will depend on whether we ever get some steady rain. Some guys will jump in and try, if for no other reason than to help hold the land.
“A lot of farmers are just disgusted with this year.”
Justin Chopelas, JWC Consulting, Odem, Texas/Coastal Bend: “This is the type of year producers fear. With the hot, dry weather we’ve seen, followed by massive rainfall from the tropical wave this past weekend, many yields will only approach the grower’s APH. You’ll have everything in it and won’t get anything back other than the pounds you sell. Yields will be far lower than in 2017.
“We received anywhere from 2 to 18 inches of rain. Before that, about 80% of the cotton I watch had 2 to 3 NAWF. We had started shedding bolls due to the drought, so when we got the rain, it unloaded everything on top. Overall, the rain was 2 to 3 weeks too late.
“I’ll be defoliating some fields this week. Yield potential ranges from 300 to 800 pounds. There will be a lot of 600 to 700-pound cotton. Some will make under a bale and some will make 2 bales. Last year, I had more fields go over 4 bales than I had go under 2 bales. Yields were the best ever. We’ve gone from one extreme to another.
“To add more to it, we’re seeing a huge stinkbug and plant bug complex following the rains. We must also manage re-growth and will have a weed flush coming that’s incredible. We never closed the middles because it was too dry. Weeds will be coming hard.
“We’re also starting sorghum harvest this week. The grain crop is terrible, and to add insult to injury, about 50% of the grain has sprouted to cause further yield reduction. As I said, this is the type of year producers fear.”
Todd Baughman, Oklahoma State University Institute for Agricultural Biosciences, Research Professor, Ardmore: “It’s still a pretty rough year in much of this state’s cotton country – to say the least. We have erratic stands and erratic growth. The dryland is suffering a lot more than the irrigated, but even some irrigated has issues with stands.
“Weed control has been a challenge for a lot of reasons. With the dry weather, some fields didn’t get any activation of residuals after cotton came up all at once. There are also some real concerns for irrigated growers being able to keep up with watering if we remain in this dry situation.
“Some spots got rain this weekend. That helped, but what we need is a good slow rain that covers the whole state.
“Peanuts, as a whole, have come across pretty well because they are planted deeper. But weed control has also been a challenge.”
Ed Bynum, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Entomologist, Amarillo: “At this time, we’re reaching squaring in much of our cotton. Growers need to be watching for fleahoppers. Thrips issues are probably behind us now since the majority of the cotton has outgrown damage potential.
“We had some spider mite situations building up in corn. Fortunately, we were helped by beneficials. Western fly thrips migrated out of wheat and helped clear out the mites. Rains and cooler temperatures this past week have also helped keep mites under control.
"In parts of the South Plains, we’re hearing reports of high populations of fall armyworm moths in traps. That could be an issue if they attack corn in the whorl stages.”
Chuck Wilbur, Independent Crop Consultant, Wellington, Texas/Southeastern Panhandle/Southwestern Oklahoma: “Things are really looking better. We’ve been catching rain and nearly all dryland is up – from cotelydon to 3 true leaves. For irrigated, cotton is 15 to 20 inches tall, has 13 to 15 nodes and there is second position fruit on nodes 7, 8 and 9. I’m liking that second position fruit. We could catch a bloom by July 4.
“We’re already applying PGRs on the irrigated and weeds are an issue. Wind and high temperatures hurt the timing in getting herbicide applied. Many guys couldn’t get in there when the weeds were small. Herbicide incorporation was also hurt and a lot of guys are cultivating because we have so much volunteer cotton.
“We’re seeing the first need for spraying fleahoppers. We’ll probably treat them in the next few days, depending on the pressure.
“Peanuts look great. They will probably start blooming and setting pegs the next week to 10 days. With the rain, there are also some weed issues with peanuts.”
Orlando Flores, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent, El Paso County: “We have hot days in the 100s and plenty of flood irrigation, which are ideal for our cotton. We’re seeing good results in this area and into southeastern New Mexico. For Upland varieties, guys are applying pix to hold back growth. We don’t want 6-foot cotton plants.
“We’re seeing squaring in Pima, which usually squares a little later than Upland varieties. There is 6 to 8% bollworm egg lay in Pima. People typically start spraying at 8 to 10%. There’s still quite a bit of conventional Pima in the valley, but growers may have to halt its production because there is so little conventional Pima seed available anymore.
“We’re not seeing many weed problems, although there has been a little spraying.
“One problem we’re fighting is fusarium wilt. Cotton Inc., AgriLife, New Mexico State and USDA are all showing a strong interest in the disease. We have a research test plot to help make sure the disease doesn’t enter other parts of the Cotton Belt.
“While we have sufficient irrigation water this year from the Elephant Butte reservoir in New Mexico, we are concerned about next year. There has been much less snow melt and spring rain runoff into the reservoir. It is not recharging like we will need.”
AgFax.com News Links
Cleveland on Cotton: Think Profit Target – Not Price Target 6-22
Oklahoma Wheat: Harvest Slows, Over 90% Complete 6-27
Oklahoma Sorghum: Chinch Bugs Present – What Should You Do? 6-25
Texas Field Reports: Pecan Crop Stronger, More Uniform Than Recent Years 6-26
Texas Plains Cotton: Irrigated Fields Look Good, Dryland Has Failed 6-26
South Texas Cotton: Did Recent Rains Come Too Late? 6-22
Texas West Plains IPM: Little Pest Activity; Cotton PGR Management 6-21
Texas: Ag Workshop, Farm Tour San Antonio, June 29-30
NEWS SUMMARIES BY CROP
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