Larry Stalcup, AgFax Southwest Editor
Debra L Ferguson, AgFax Managing Editor
Special thanks to PhytoGen, the exclusive sponsor of AgFax Southwest Cotton.
Cotton is growing at “break neck” and “hauling ass” speed. I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Heat units are piling up. PGR strategies are getting lots of talking points.
Plenty of good herbicide control going on. However, hoe teams were sighted taking out weed zombies that wouldn’t give it up.
Bollworm moth flights heavy in parts of the Panhandle. Next up – stink bugs.
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Cody Noggler, Crop Quest Consulting, Northwestern Texas Panhandle: “Everything is trying to bloom everywhere – from first bloom to mid-bloom. Most is 7 to 8 NAWF. Some is starting to grow a little fast. We’re applying PGRs as needed, depending on where the rain has hit. The heat is forecast at about 100 for the next few days, so we’ll have the water going.
“I’m not seeing any cotton insect situations but we’re scouting closely. I’ve seen a trace of bacterial blight, but I’m not really worried about it. Weed control remains strong, but we’re having to hoe-out a few places where we missed weeds.
“Corn is looking fairly good but is not liking the heat. In some corn-after-corn fields, we’re spraying for rootworm beetles. We might have to rotate in some cotton next year. I hope the price stays there for cotton.
“We’re finding a trace of sugarcane aphids in sorghum, but nothing to be too concerned about.”
Suhas Vyavhare, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Entomologist, Lubbock: “Insects have been very quiet on the southern High Plains. We’re pretty much done with fleahoppers. Most cotton is blooming. We’re watching for lygus, but they are really scarce. The major thing we’re concerned about is potential bollworm activity. I’m seeing some earworms in corn but none yet in cotton.
“There is some noise on bollworms from south and central Texas and farmers are paying attention. Even though we haven’t seen any activity, we still need to keep scouting for worms. Farmers with non-Bt cotton or the early Bt technology need to be ready to spray. If the worms get big they are hard to control.”
Jerry Stuckey, Farmer/General Manager, Northwest Cotton Growers Co-op, Inc., Moscow, Kansas: “Cotton has lots of blooms and small bolls. The crop is really growing with this heat we’re having. The majority is irrigated. A lot of dryland had to be abandoned. It germinated after a little rain, but had no more moisture for 3 weeks. Those plants didn’t get rooted down to sub-soil moisture and they just died.
“The irrigated is really looking good. I haven’t seen much of anything in the way of insects. Weeds are pretty well under control. We had weeds but the 2, 4-D technology handled them.”
Gaylon Morgan, Texas A&M AgriLife State Cotton Specialist, College Station: “I was at a field day in Wharton County this morning (7/17). Cotton looks pretty good but worms are still a concern. Unfortunately, there’s no rain in the forecast there.
“In the Blacklands, we’re trying to hang on to the fruit we have. In the Brazos Bottom, temperatures are forecast for 100 to 105+ for the next 10 days. They’re seeing some premature defoliation in parts of the Blacklands and upper coast. That’s not atypical for this time of the year.
“We’re pretty much past the period for weed problems. For the most part, fields are pretty clean. Any weeds that came on after the rain a couple of weeks ago have been taken care of. I don’t think guys are going to spend any more money on herbicide applications.
“Hot weather is also forecast for the Rolling Plains. They continue to be hurt by the lack of moisture.”
Chuck Wilbur, Independent Crop Consultant, Wellington, Texas/Southeastern Panhandle/Southwestern Oklahoma: “Our cotton is haulin’ ass. We’re still catching small rains here and there. Little cotton showers are really making it look promising. Much of the crop is at 7 to 8 NAWF. Plants are 24 to 36 inches tall and have 16 to 20 nodes. There’s a lot of third position fruit and there are some hard bolls down low. The crop is balanced very well between growth and fruit.
“We’re on our second Pix application and a little concerned about what the PGR rate should be since we’re looking at a 10-day forecast of over 100 degrees and nights that are over 75 degrees. Measuring plant growth under those conditions can be tricky.
“Some irrigation water is starting to get a little low, but no one has nozzled-down yet. We could be a little short on water in August.
“We’re beginning to see some bollworm issues. More and more juvenile moths are around. I don’t think we have any egg lay, but we have a 10-fold increase in juvenile miller moths. We've got good weed control, which has included a lot of cultivating to handle volunteer cotton. I haven’t heard of any off-sight drift issues. People are paying better attention to the chemistries, their labels and tank cleanout.
“For peanuts, the crop also looks good. We’re on the second bloom and have a good pod set. There are no disease issues because it is so stinking hot. The middles will be lapped soon.”
Hilltop farm in Collingsworth County, Texas.
Chuck Wilbur, Crop Consultant, Texas-Oklahoma
Orlando Flores, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent, El Paso County: “Cotton looks excellent in our area. We’ve had rain just about every day and it’s still pretty muddy.
“We had some bollworm pressure in the El Paso Lower Valley. And, some Lygus pressure in the Mesilla Valley up in New Mexico, as well as the lower valley. Fortunately, there hasn’t been enough pressure to require spraying.”
Randy Norton, University of Arizona Extension Cotton Specialist, Safford: “I’m in Yuma this morning (7/17) looking at the heat tolerance of several varieties. There is definitely heat stress after the high temperatures we saw earlier this month. You can see it in the crop. In plants with heat stress, 1-to-3-day-old bolls will abort. That’s the most common symptom. You’ll see several fruiting branches with nothing on them. Also, if the flower survives heat stress and pollinates, you’ll often see misshapen bolls with a hooked beak.
“Cotton in this area remains more advanced than the rest of state. Plants are up to about 10 to 15% open bolls. We’re seeing some whitefly situations, but nothing more than we would expect.
“We’ve been in a consistent monsoon pattern and could see it come back next week. It’s scattered, but some areas have received 2 to 3 inches of rain in the central part of the state. In those areas, growers need to look out for rust and alternaria leaf spot, particularly on the Pima.”
Blayne Reed, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Hale, Floyd & Swisher Counties: “Cotton feels like it’s moving at breakneck speed. Blooms are a lot earlier than average. Fields that were 9 NAWF last week are at 6 to 7 this week. Heat units are accumulating. We might even be at peak water use of 5 NAWF before August. Guys need to stay on top of this crop with water or PGRs to keep out of trouble later on. We’re good if we can keep getting water to it.
“We had a flight of bollworm moths come through last week. I found a few eggs in eastern Swisher County and parts of Floyd and Hale counties. And there are some worms in non-treated cotton.
“Weed control looks good in general – and there’s a lot of effort to keep it that way. Some guys are on their second post application and some are on their third. They hope the third layer of residual herbicide will carry them through to the fall. Despite that, there are still a few hoe hands around the country. Guys are serious about keeping weeds under control.
“In corn, we’re watching spider mites flare up in a few fields. Some guys are having to treat for mites. In sorghum, sugarcane aphids were on a few fields last week.”
John Ellis, Crop Production Services, Southwestern Oklahoma: “The heat is really coming on. We hit 105 or 106 yesterday (7/16) and we’re at 100 right now (11 a.m.).
"Some irrigated in Tillman County is starting to bloom. Unfortunately, about 80% of the dryland acres will probably be insured-out. About 20% of my dryland will have to be adjusted or go to harvest.
“We’ve had very light fleahopper pressure, probably due to the hot, dry weather. In western Cotton County I’ve seen some adult bollworm moths in fields. We’re monitoring those for egg lays to see if Bollgard II holds up. I think it will be so hot that a lot of those eggs won’t hatch.
“PGRs are needed in just a few fields. We’re getting so many heat units that cotton has a good load on it. Lighter shots of PGRs are being used. We’ve had some flash rains of 0.75” to 1.5” that have caused some weed flushes we’re having to treat for.”
Clyde Crumley, Crumley Agricultural Consulting, El Campo, Texas: “We’re on a downhill pull right now – and none too soon. The crop is starting to open and there is some pretty good looking cotton here and there. It’s all been about timing with the hit and miss rain we’ve had. I’d say we’ll see an average crop.
“Bollworms have been a big problem. We had a big run on worms between Father’s Day and the 4th of July, and we still have a few battles. About every Bollgard II field we had needed spraying. That technology is ineffective. It’s pretty frustrating.
“We’ve had a mixed bag of success with additional treatments and we’re still trying to sort that out. We had problems getting good worm control with Prevathon and Besiege insecticides. They’ve worked great in year’s past, so we can’t put a finger on why that program didn’t work this year. A second treatment did a better job, but that’s an expensive insect control effort. There were a few other consultants that had the same problem. What was odd is that the same treatments worked fine in neighboring fields. It’s one of those 'wring your hands' situations.
“As we finally get out of worm issues, we’re dealing with stinkbugs. They are a perennial pest once we get past fruiting and flowering.
“Corn harvest is under way, but yields are below average. Like with cotton, we just missed the favorable rains at critical times.”
Jaime Lopez, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent, Frio County: “I saw some cotton yesterday (7/15) and it was setting bolls. The crop looks really good in our area south of San Antonio. Earlier this month we had some good, slow rains – about 1.5” over 3 days. That really helped ease the pressure on irrigation.
“We’re cutting corn right now and it looks good because of the rainfall. Our peanuts are pegging and also look good.”
Ken Lege, PhytoGen Cotton Development Specialist, Lubbock/Central South Plains/Oklahoma: “Pop-up showers and even heavier rainfall in some areas have really helped our irrigated cotton. With the recent rain and lower temperatures, I’m getting a lot of calls and texts from growers concerned about PGRs.
“To gauge PGRs, plants should be 7 to 10 NAWF in early bloom. If the internode is over 3 inches long, the plant is too growthy and will need a PGR treatment. Height of the plant is important, depending on your harvest equipment. Spindle picker harvesters can handle taller plants, but stripper harvesters are more efficient when plants are not over 30” tall. Plants stressed from water shortage, weeds, insects, disease or recent herbicide injury likely don’t need immediate PGR applications. Click here for more details in our PGR bulletin.
“Irrigated cotton north of Lubbock is blooming and some earlier planted is at peak bloom. It looks the best in that area, but the irrigated south of Lubbock is mostly behind on development. In Oklahoma, the irrigated looks very good, while the dryland will see much abandonment.
“Fortunately, we’ve had little insect pressure. Bollworms could be an issue for varieties with older Bt genes 1 and 2.
“Weed control has been very good. Most growers have made their early post-emerge applications and are approaching their second application. We’re seeing excellent performance from new Enlist varieties and herbicide technology. But like with any new technology, there can be a learning curve.”
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NEWS SUMMARIES BY CROP
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