Larry Stalcup, AgFax Southwest Editor
Debra L Ferguson, AgFax Managing Editor
Special thanks to PhytoGen, the exclusive sponsor of AgFax Southwest Cotton.
Early defoliation is starting in the Corpus Christi area due to lack of moisture, and is ongoing in the LRGV.
Harvest aid Thidiazuron is expected to be in short supply reports Gaylon Morgan.
Everyone is walking “the herbicide tightrope” says Rex Friesen. 2,4-D damage is turning up in some Kansas fields.
Dryland crop failures and a hay shortage have prompted some growers to plant haygazer and cut soybeans for hay.
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Paul Pilsner, Pilsner Consulting, Wharton, Texas: “We have a nice crop of cotton everywhere, but we’re still in the late fight to make more bolls. Plants are starting to bloom out the top past cutout. But with new varieties that can yield more late bolls, so some guys are trying to get more production.
“We had 3 days of rain over July 4th, which washed away some blooms. It wasn’t flooding, but just enough to irritate you. Still, if it doesn’t rain another drop we have a profitable crop in the field, one of the best I’ve seen.
“We’ve had to spray hard for stinkbugs. We have them in check but still have to be careful. We’re just starting to cut sorghum, which will run a lot of stinkbugs and lygus out of the grain and into cotton. Aphids were big last week, the worst I’ve seen in several years in both cotton and sorghum.
“We’ve had a large bollworm moth flight the past 2 weeks. If you’re not using the new Viptera technology, you better be scouting like you used to and be ready to spray.
“We had very good luck with the new Enlist herbicide technology. These were the cleanest acres I’ve looked at in a while. There have been some problems with dicamba drifting on to soybeans. Remind everyone to not spray dicamba near soybeans. I personally use a 2-mile radius when spraying dicamba anywhere near soybeans. When used properly, these new herbicides work very well. We just need to follow the label.
“I’m about a month away from defoliating, but further south they’ve started defoliating in the Corpus Christi area where they didn’t get heavy rain. The Lower Rio Grande Valley is also well into defoliating. The irrigated looks fantastic down there, but they’re not sure about the dryland. Also, they had some flooding in recent weeks and about 5,000 acres of cotton was under water for several days.”
Rex Friesen, Southern Kansas Cotton Growers Co-op, Winfield: "I’m quite pleased with our crop overall. I was in the country yesterday (7/9) and the early cotton is blooming and has bolls. Some plants are about one foot tall to knee high or better. It looks like a good fruit load. Some of the late planted cotton also looks good, but we’re wondering if we have time to finish those fields.
“We’re doing a lot of spraying for tarnished plant bugs, and also spraying for weeds and applying PGRs. Weeds are requiring multiple applications. A lot of Liberty looks good for a while, but growers often need a second treatment for control. Resistant pigweeds grow so fast. If you’re not on them right away, they get some height and are a lot tougher to kill.
“I’ve had a lot of calls on what appears to be disease damage. But these anomalies may be herbicide carryover issues or from contaminated tanks. It could also be due to new cotton acres in the region or inexperienced growers.
“There has been a fair amount of 2, 4-D drift damage, but we’re also seeing some really impressive recoveries. Cotton fields exposed a long time ago are growing very well. But exposure now would be a lot more painful. We’re just trying to walk a tightrope on herbicide technologies and make them all work. So even though it looks like a really good crop, it’s also going to be an expensive one.
“Cotton continues to be popular here and we’re expanding our gins in Anthony and Winfield. We’ll hopefully double our capacity by next year.”
Gaylon Morgan, Texas A&M AgriLife State Cotton Specialist, College Station: “From the central Blacklands around Hillsboro and down to McLennan County and the southern Blacklands, the plants are finished with fruiting and we’re just trying to retain what is present. For those who received rainfall, it will definitely help to fill out the bolls and hopefully retain most of the fruit. It’s not going to be a great yield year but should still be decent for those who got rain in the Blacklands.
“In the Upper Gulf Coast, things are progressing nicely, although there are some nutrient deficiency symptoms showing up. Some leaves are yellowing. It’s probably a potassium deficiency, but we’re running a leaf analysis to be sure. That area is also seeing some secondary pathogen infections that are causing some premature leaf senescence in which leaves drop off.
“Irrigated cotton in the Brazos Bottom is looking good. They had some rain, which helped guys who started irrigating a couple of weeks ago. The boll load is good.
“Fields are clean of weeds as we reach the end of the season. With the recent rains, we may see some weed flushes that will need layby applications of herbicides. Few weeds are expected where canopy closure has occurred.
“With dry weather suppressing the fruiting window, we will see some earlier harvest aid applications in the Blacklands. On that note, distributors are indicating there’s a shortage of Thidiazuron harvest aid, so guys need to think about what their plan will be. Thidiazuron is the backbone of defoliation in south and east Texas, and some secondary options are going to have to be considered.”
Emi Kimura, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Area Agronomist, Vernon: "Some fields received scattered rain this past week, but others didn’t. It has been that way for several months. The biggest concern is in the central to northern Rolling Plains, where they did not receive much rain. Those who did get rain saved their cotton. Others are seeing very dry fields and need moisture badly.
“We are starting to see squaring as well as some fleahoppers. So producers need to be scouting at least twice a week or more for fleahoppers. If they see any signs of the insects – they need to get ready to spray.
“The dryness is helping hold down weeds. But with the recent rain in some areas, we will expect to see more weeds.”
Tyler Mays, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Terry, Yoakum & Gaines Counties: “Cotton is starting to bloom. With that advancement in growth, we’re getting to the point where fleahoppers are no longer a pest. But we need to start looking for lygus and bollworms. We saw bollworm eggs last week but the hot, dry weather along with beneficials, have prevented them from hatching or living very long. I’m not seeing any bollworm larva.
“There are reports of bacterial blight in my area, as well as verticillium wilt in other parts of the South Plains. Growers need to keep track of which fields have disease to help them choose better resistant or tolerant varieties for next year.
“Weed control has been good as long as growers have had residuals in their herbicide program, used the right nozzles and applied treatments at the right speed.
“Peanuts are looking good. Gaines County is seeing some small pods, and Terry County fields are starting to shoot pegs down to the soil line.”
Patrick Kircher, New Mexico State University Extension Agent, Roosevelt County, Portales: “We’ve had a few showers, but most of the dryland has failed due to drought. I’m sure some of the irrigated is doing okay, but it’s almost dire over here. A few places have had moisture, but many areas have not had anything in the form of moisture.
“On the forage side, irrigated alfalfa looks really good. Something unique this year, everyone and their cousin have bought up or planted haygrazer. The leading reason is that with the low milk prices, a lot of dairy farmers are trying to stock the cheapest forage they can. They may give up some forage quality but cheapen up their input costs.
“With the drought, we’re looking at a hay shortage in this country, so some think they may be able to make some money by selling hay this fall.”
Texas cotton - Castro County.
Photo: Kyle Aljoe, Crop Quest Consulting,
David Drake, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension IPM Agent, Northeast Texas: “There are fields that look really good after scattered rains and are still at 8 to 9 NAWF. Other fields have slowed down with blooms near the top. It just depends on where it has rained.
“We’re seeing a heavy egg lay for bollworms. Moths are heavy coming out of the corn because corn is drying up. But I haven’t seen too many worms because it has been too hot and dry for the eggs. We assume the Bt technologies are working. We are testing moths treated with pyrethroids and have picked up about 20% resistance to pyrethroid.
“Weeds are under control. But we’ve had some tanks that didn’t get rinsed out and their cotton was damaged. They say they have rinsed them, but when they go to the field and see the damaged plants, they say they probably didn’t do as good a job as they should have.
“We’ve had 100-degree days in the past week or two, which really turned the corn. There were fields where all the leaves dried out. Some soybean fields ran out of moisture and a lot of beans are being cut for hay. Guys figured the yield wasn’t there and we have a shortage of hay this year.”
Kate Harrell, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Jackson, Wharton & Matagorda Counties: “A lot of cotton is at or getting close to cutout. Some of the irrigated crop has a little longer to go. The condition varied, depending on whether fields received some scattered showers.
“We still have some bollworm and stinkbug pressure. We’ve had to treat in a couple of places. All Bt lines other than the Viptera genes have needed spraying. The Viptera genes are holding up.
“We’re definitely winding down and hope the yields are there.”
Mike McHugh, Southwest Texas Ag Consultants, Uvalde, Texas: “We’ve had maybe a half-inch of rain the past few days, but nothing like they’ve had about 75 miles east around San Antonio and Austin. So, we’re still very dependent on irrigation for our cotton. Most of the crop is in full bloom with another 40 to 45 days left. It’s coming along pretty good, but guys who have had trouble getting enough water applied are seeing some cotton hit cutout. They’re just trying to keep it wet.
“We’re seeing a few whiteflies but nothing that’s treatable. There’s just not much insect pressure. We’re good with weeds, although there are still some scattered Roundup resistant pigweed issues in some of the older varieties. But overall the crop looks tremendous. We could be headed to a bumper crop.
“But I’ve taken a whipping on sweet corn. I’m spraying every day and we’re losing the battle with earworms. You almost need to be 100% controlled or you can’t sell it.”
Seth Byrd, Oklahoma State University Extension Cotton Specialist, Stillwater/Altus: “Some of the fields have made a recovery for sure after the stint of dry weather we had. Cotton is better than we thought it would be a month ago. The irrigated looks better, but some is still small and a few weeks behind.
“Early planted cotton is flowering. Some dryland has surprisingly made it. But a lot won’t make it because of extended dry weather. It’s helped hold down weed pressure, but the weeds that are out there are pretty hardy. We’ll need to watch and see if we get a good response from herbicides.
“It’s time to scout for fleahoppers and stinkbugs. I haven’t heard of any widespread problems, but we need to keep an eye out for them. Folks need to also monitor their fields for bacterial blight and make note of which fields may be infected. That will help determine which varieties to plant next year.
“One positive thing about this year is it’s been good for evaluating seedling vigor. Vigorous varieties have been rewarded in these dry conditions.”
Rex Brandon, Crop Production Services, Dumas, Texas: “We have first blooms in several irrigated fields. Cotton is 10 days ahead of schedule and we’re applying PGRs to help manage growth. Scattered storms in the past few weeks produced some heavy rain, along with hail and wind. Some fields suffered damage – knocking off money bolls down low – but we’re pulling out of it.
“There are a few fleahoppers around and we’ll be treating those fields this week, but there’s not much else in the way of insects. We’ve had very good luck in controlling weeds. Our herbicide programs using new dicamba technologies are helping keep fields clean. We’ve had to kill a little volunteer corn in several fields, but they still look good.
“Corn is tasseling in some areas and looking good. Anything planted early is growing fast. I think we have a good week ahead for pollination with the forecast in the low 90s.
“There are going to be quite a few acres of dryland milo after the rains came too late for cotton. Much of it is just coming up.”
Randy Norton, University of Arizona Extension Cotton Specialist, Safford: “The extreme heat that we feared showed up this past week. It was way above 110 in many areas. Crop production will depend on how the stress impacted plants. A lot of central Arizona cotton has not bloomed, so that is a plus. If it had been at peak bloom, there could have been a problem with fruit development.
“We had a rainstorm in the central valley near Buckeye and Phoenix that helped moderate temperatures. However, the humidity kept nighttime temperatures up. So the story on the impact of the heat stress will be told in the next few weeks.
“Meanwhile, insect pressure remains relatively light. A few places have seen whitefly and lygus, but there are no widespread issues. There has been a small amount of worm pressure in non-Bt and Pima, but not enough to reach a treatable threshold.
“Weeds remain under control. But as we approach layby applications, growers need to use something other than just Roundup. They need to also use residuals to get more control.”
AgFax.com News Links
Cleveland on Cotton: The Age of Natural Fiber Has Returned 7-6
Rose on Cotton: Supply and Demand Always Rule 7-6
Cleveland on Cotton: Tariff Talk, Weather and Defending the 80s 7-2
Weekly Cotton Market Review – USDA 7-6
Texas Field Reports: Cotton – Bollworm Emergence Causing Problems 7-10
Texas Plains: Crops Progressing Rapidly; Cotton Fruit Loss a Concern 7-10
Texas Sorghum: Sugarcane Aphid Arrives on Southern High Plains 7-9
Texas Cattle: Continued Drought Could Lead to Herd Culling 7-9
Texas: Seed Cotton Provision Workshop, Leming, July 26 7-9
Texas Upper Coast Cotton: Check Bt Fields for Bollworms 7-9
Texas West Plains IPM: Cotton, Peanuts, Pesticide Training
Kansas: No-Till Seeding School, Lorraine, Aug. 9
Kansas: Ag Risk and Profit Conference, Manhattan, Aug. 16-17
NEWS SUMMARIES BY CROP
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