Larry Stalcup, AgFax Southwest Editor

Debra L Ferguson, AgFax Managing Editor


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



Rain finally arrived in parts of the Panhandle and south Plains.


Central Texas remains parched and dryland abandonment is high in west Texas. Kerry Siders, Texas A&M, talks about the pressure on irrigated acres with lack of rain. Take a look at the aerial photo of west Texas irrigation circles tweeted by @HopeFloeck.


Weeds are coming on in the middles with residual herbicides breaking down. Chemistry rotation is helping but windy days are not making it easy for dicamba or 2,4-D applications.


Disease challenges are cranking up. Jason Woodward advises growers to be on the lookout for fusarium wilt race 4, or FOV4, which was confirmed in west Texas last year.    


Scroll down to read our latest AgFax News Links.




Peter Dotray,  Texas Tech University Weed Scientist (joint appointment with Texas A&M AgriLife), Lubbock: “From the weed standpoint, most fields look good and clean. Overall, folks have been very timely with their herbicide applications and it’s paying off for them. That’s a testament to folks using a good preemerge program.


“But as we move further into the growing season, preemerge residuals are now breaking down and new weed flushes are coming. As guys are spraying their foliar herbicides, they need to think about adding another residual in the tank to prevent the need for a second post application so quickly.


“When using these new herbicide technologies, we need to be very mindful when we are spraying dicamba and 2,4-D. It has been challenging because the wind has been relentless. But folks need to wait until the wind is not blowing toward a susceptible crop before they spray.


“With dicamba, 2,4-D and Liberty plus a good rotation of chemistries, we’re holding our own with resistant pigweed. But we can’t just rely on dicamba and 2,4-D. We need to make sure to use a good residual program with those new technologies. By doing so, in many cases we’re getting resistance much more under control.”  


Seth Byrd, Oklahoma State University Extension Cotton Specialist, Stillwater/Altus: “It’s still dry in the southwest corner of the state where we’re definitely going to lose some dryland fields that haven’t had enough rain. But there is some good-looking cotton in Carnegie, Ft. Cobb and other places. However, more rain is needed there also.


“A lot of irrigated cotton also needs rain in the Altus area, especially fields with pivot and drip irrigation. Some irrigated cotton should be blooming this week at the benchmark of bloom-by-July 4. That cotton was planted in early May. After plants see their first bloom, it may be time to apply initial PGRs to control excessive vegetation.


“The heat has caused some square shed, but nothing alarming. To help maintain squares, we’re encouraging guys to be sure and scout their fields for fleahoppers and other insects. We need to ID which insects we’re seeing and get the appropriate treatments applied when needed.


“Our most consistent weed is volunteer cotton across a wide area. A lot of cultivation is being done. Most volunteer cotton was hardly up at planting, so guys couldn’t take early action. Other than that, as dry as it’s been, we haven’t had any huge weed flushes.”


Mark Hatley, Crop Quest Consulting, Dumas, Texas: “Things are looking good in the northern Panhandle. We’ve had good rains, but we’ve also had some hail. Some fields have been hailed out while others have suffered less damage. But overall, the crop looks good and is squaring really well. We’re scouting for fleahoppers but they aren’t bad, so far.


“With the rains, we’re having to deal with weeds. However, I think our overall weed control is a little better this year. We’re seeing a little off-target herbicide drift situations, but it’s not too devastating.


“On the corn side, our crop is looking really nice and progressing right along. We’re starting to tassel.”



 Tweet from: @HopeFloeck
"Not what I’m used to seeing
this time of year in West Texas.... #dry"


Gaylon Morgan, Texas A&M AgriLife State Cotton Specialist, College Station: “Our irrigated looks pretty good in parts of the Blacklands. Guys have been watering even after they received rain 2 weeks ago. However, the dryland in the Blacklands continues to go downhill. Spider mites are still around in the region and there’s a bollworm egg lay they may have to contend with.


“In the Upper Gulf Coast, there has been a lot of premature defoliation caused by a combination of heavy rains and disease issues in recent weeks. But their later planted cotton is looking pretty good and moving along nicely.


“I haven’t heard much about off-target herbicide drift. There are still numerous situations of tank contamination. With cotton being so sensitive to herbicide, guys need to make sure to use proper tank clean out procedures. It’s a real challenge to keep herbicides on target.”


Gary Beverage, Crop Production Services, Artesia, New Mexico/Southwest Texas: “Things are still dry but overall we’re looking pretty good. A lot of cotton is getting ready to bloom and some is in full bloom. There aren’t any major insect issues to deal with right now.


“Weeds are under control for the most part. Most of the fields I watch are either dicamba or 2,4-D. Proper use of those herbicide programs makes weed control a lot easier. We’ve had no major drift issues. Most problems have been from the farmer to himself. 


“Our biggest challenge is keeping the crop wet enough through irrigation and staying ahead of nitrogen applications. I feel like we’re blessed as far as cotton goes."


Jason Woodward, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Plant Pathologist (Cotton & Peanuts), Lubbock: “We’re seeing signs of verticillium wilt that is very premature. Despite the hot and dry weather, we discovered some symptomatic plants on volunteer cotton in a corn test plot. It was only a handful of plants, but we still need to keep an eye out for the disease.


“We’re also watching closely for any fusarium wilt race 4, or FOV4. It was identified in California 15 to 20 years ago and confirmed in far west Texas last year. Its symptoms are the same as our regular fusarium wilt. The difference is that nematodes are not required to promote FOV4.


“With the hot weather, nematodes are showing up in some areas, especially in early planted cotton. Fields with nematode history should be monitored closely. Bacterial blight is also out there. We urge producers to alert their local Extension office if they suspect disease problems so we can identify the field. Disease and/or nematode-resistant varieties could be needed in those fields down the road.


“I have received several images of plants exhibiting symptoms of ascochyta blight from the northern Panhandle and Kansas. This disease is also referred to as wet weather blight and is more than likely a result of heavy rainfall and/or damage from blowing sand. No fungicides are labeled for use in cotton, but the disease is mostly cosmetic and will not impact yield.


“In addition, samples of target spot and alternaria/cercospora leaf spot have also been received from south Texas. This is a result of excessive rainfall that was received most recently. Target spot should be monitored, as reports from other states indicate that yield loss can occur from this disease. Other leaf spots are more opportunistic and are more closely linked to transient nutrient issues late in the season.” 

Cotton field hit by hail on June 29,
Spearman, Texas. Photo: Jourdan Bell,
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Entomologist

Alan Seitz, Crop Production Services, Wilcox, Arizona: “We received some scattered rain that included some spots of heavy hail. We’re going to examine the extent of damage this week. Otherwise, cotton is coming along and squaring. There are a few small bolls here and there.


“We have some spraying for plant bugs due to lygus activity. Southwest cotton rust is showing up like it does most every year. We’re applying treatments of various fungicides that do a good job of controlling it. Grama grass is also showing up. The southern monsoons we’ve had have started moving spores around.”


Mark Nemec, MJN Consulting, Waco, Texas: “There’s rain in the forecast and we need it badly because the Blacklands are burning up fast. Cotton is either at borderline or past it. I’m looking at some of the greener stuff this morning (7/2) and it’s averaging only 3 NAWF. This afternoon I’m seeing some drier fields farther west that were 3 NAWF last week. They may be nothing this week. 


“If we can catch the rain, we hope the 3 NAWF will stick. If it doesn’t rain, the hot dry weather may throw them off.  


“They’ve had good rain down at the river bottom where they can irrigate. They’re catching rain while we can’t catch a break. There’s a big egg lay down there and we’re having to spray for bollworms in Bollgard II cotton. 


“We just hope we get the July 4th rain so we can sit under the barn, barbecue and watch it come down. We sure need it.” 


John David Gonzales, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension IPM Agent, Parmer, Bailey & Castro Counties: “It remains dry, but we got a few small showers last night (7/1). The crop is looking good, and we’re seeing the benefits of using a small grains cover crop with the hot, dry weather we’ve had. Covers have been able to trap some moisture, keep the crop a little cooler and push it along. 


“We’ve had many dryland acres plowed under because of the dry weather. But the irrigated looks good. It ranges from 5 to 6 true leaves to 14 to 15 true leaves on early planted cotton. Square retention is very high, from 80 to 100%. 


“We’ve scouted for fleahoppers but not seeing much pressure. I’ve been checking bollworm traps and we’re only running about 2 per night. But I’m getting reports of more pressure south and southeast of here. We should see our pressure increase in the next few weeks. 


“Weed control is field to field. Most guys who were able to follow label instructions are keeping their fields clean. Guys who waited too long after residuals broke down didn’t get their applications out on time. They are seeing more weed pressure. We’re writing different herbicide prescriptions for different fields on the same farm.


“We have a few incidences of 2,4-D drift. I had not anticipated as much Enlist cotton as we’ve seen. It gets down to timeliness of applications and spraying when you’re not supposed to. We need to treat 2,4-D applications with care just like with dicamba. We think temperature inversion has caused some of the problems. And, we feel like we’ll work out the problems internally without getting TDA involved. We need to keep these herbicides under control or we may lose them.”



Katelyn Kesheimer, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Lubbock & Crosby Counties: “We got some rain overnight (7/1). Lubbock got about a third of an inch and they got a little more south of here. Some points north got two-thirds of an inch. We really needed that for the irrigated and what dryland is still surviving.


“We’re seeing some blooms on early planted and irrigated cotton. Most irrigated and those with cover crops are really looking good. Between irrigated and dryland, it’s like a tale of two crops. Less than half of the dryland is up. A lot of growers will come back with sorghum if they can get the varieties. We could see some wildcat cotton but conventional seed may be hard to find. Guys may have to go through their barns and brown bag it with leftover seed. 


“The good news is we haven’t seen a lot of pest pressure. As we’ve moved into squaring, fleahopper numbers have been pretty low. We had some issues with fall armyworms and corn earworms. With the hot weather, I wouldn’t be surprised if we had some spider mite issues. For those with sorghum or who may plant it on failed cotton acres, I haven’t seen any sugarcane aphid reports. 


“For weed control, my guys are following their labels. I haven’t heard of any issues from TDA on off-target situations. I’m proud of our growers and how they’re managing their herbicides.”


Stu Duncan, Kansas State University Crops & Soils Specialist, Manhattan, Kansas: “Cotton is progressing rapidly. We’ve had plenty of heat to drive it and are forecast to have about 100 degrees for the rest of the week. We had a little rhizoctonia earlier, but the crop has withstood that and other pressure. 


“The earlier planted stuff will be blooming in the next week or so. Stands look good. I feel like there’s a lot more cotton than I’ve seen in a while. Most of the crop is in fair to good shape. It has seen some spotty moisture but more is needed on the dryland. The irrigated is cranking right along. 


“I haven’t seen any bad insect situations, but growers are treating for fleahoppers now and I’m sure they’ll be treating for plant bugs soon. 


“Our biggest concern is using the new herbicide technologies correctly. There has been a little herbicide drift here and there. You still can’t put dicamba on Enlist cotton and you can’t put 2,4-D on dicamba cotton. 


“I’ve starting to get calls on dicamba drift on soybeans. I saw some fields, but I think they were suffering more from heat and drought. Beans are close to full bloom right now. 


"I applied fungicides on corn last week. That normally wouldn’t happen until after July 4th. Rain is forecast over the weekend. With these 100-degree temperatures, we need it.”


Kerry Siders, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent Hockley, Cochran & Lamb Counties: “In Levelland proper, we had 0.05” of rain Sunday evening (7/1). But last night we had 0.35” and other parts of the county received up to three-quarters of an inch. Rains have been few and far between, so this year - that’s a good rain for us. This will help, but most dryland was too far gone. There may be some isolated pockets that will make it. But the majority has already been failed out. 


“The rain will also help the irrigated. We were getting to the point where we needed to shut off the water. Without rainfall, continuing to irrigate is too hard on our water resources. This rain will encourage some growers to continue on for a few more weeks to see how the weather pattern holds up through July. But if it turns blazing hot and dry again with the combined high winds, the irrigated could be under more pressure. 


“I looked at some irrigated earlier today that will bloom this week, which is earlier than our normal July 15 bloom date. But on average, most of our fields will be blooming during the normal period, which gives us a good 30 days of bloom period. 


“We had some square set problems from the wind. We’re making sure the damage is not induced by insect problems. So far, we’ve not seen heavy insect pressure.


“Weeds still are tough. We got behind trying to baby the crop earlier. That allowed some weeds to get out of hand. Some herbicides like Liberty, which needs humidity to work well, have been limited in the dry period we’ve seen. Dicamba is working, but we’re chasing some pretty big weeds that are a foot tall. It worries me that it could develop more resistant weeds.


“Peanuts look good and have been flowering strong and pegging. Fields are developing pods. Some had poor inoculation, so growers need to be prepared to provide the nitrogen sources they need.” News Links 

Cleveland on Cotton: Tariff Talk, Weather and Defending the 80s   7-2


Rose on Cotton: Demand Still Strong; Keep an Eye on Farm Bill Payment Limit  6-29


Dicamba Injury: The Unmistakable Fingerprint – DTN   6-28


Weed Resistance: Herbicides – A Temporary Solution to a Permanent Problem   6-27


Weekly Cotton Market Review – USDA   6-29


Texas Upper Coast Cotton: Bollworms, Stink Bugs Picking Up 7-2


Texas Mid-Coast Sorghum: Sugarcane Aphids Found Above Economic Threshold 6-29


Texas Plains Pests: Insects Flaring, Weeds Toughening Up in High Heat 6-29


Texas LRGV Crops: Premature Senescence; Whiteflies 6-29


Texas West Plains Pests: Few Insects, Weeds a Major Issue 6-28



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