Larry Stalcup, AgFax Southwest Editor

Debra L Ferguson, AgFax Managing Editor


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



114 degrees in Waco – ‘nuff said. Texas-Oklahoma scorcher deluxe.


Modules are turning up around Corpus Christi. Thanks to Josh McGinty for sharing a photo.


Kansas growers are dealing with 2,4-D damage.


Stinkbugs are in the picture over much of the area. The browns make treatment trickier, reports David Kerns.


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Gaylon Morgan, Texas A&M AgriLife State Cotton Specialist, College Station: “I’m in San Angelo now (7/26). The dryland is hanging on and is probably at 3 to 4 reproductive nodes. Most is 4 to 5 NAWF. If they catch a rain in the next week or so they can possibly make something. A lot of fields had stand establishment problems, so there will be a decent amount of that dryland disastered out.


“The drip irrigated looks good, but center pivots are having problems keeping up with the wind and high temperatures. Most irrigated is 7+ NAWF, so they have a lot of growing to do.


“Spider mites were a problem moving out of the corn. Guys are asking about worm pressure down south, but they’re not reporting any here. Weed-wise, fields look quite good. I didn’t hear of or see any large off-target movement.


“In the central Rolling Plains, the dryland is mostly nonexistent. The irrigated looks decent. Out around St. Lawrence in far west Texas, they say the drought is worse than 2011. They didn’t start with any moisture and their cotton has really struggled.


“In the southern Blacklands, the irrigated looks good but the dryland is diminishing quickly. That area has the Blacklands’ better cotton. The central Blacklands is struggling. But I’m hearing that northeast Texas is still holding on pretty good.”


Mark Nemec, MJN Consulting, Waco, Texas: “Right now (7/24), it’s 107. The thermometer on my pickup was 110 at noon (114 in Waco). We’re at 7 days in a row to break high temperature records, and it’s sure showing up in our crops.


“The dryland is all pretty well done. It has bloomed out the top and bolls are popping open. Yields will probably be a half to 1.5 bales. We’re struggling to keep pivots running in the irrigated. With the extreme heat, it’s hard to keep enough water on the crop and its blooming like mad. There will be some 3 to 3.5-bale irrigated if we can keep it watered.


“With high heat, it’s pixing itself. I’m looking at an irrigated field right now in the Marlin area in the Brazos Bottom. Some of the corners need PGRs, but the field as a whole looks decent.


“With the heat and dry weather we’ve been quiet on weeds. We’ve had a few spots with stinkbug pressure. It looks like we’re on the downhill side of bollworm pressure. But I picked up a few fall armyworms late last week, enough to make you want to raise your eyebrows.


“Guys are harvesting corn now and it’s not even worth talking about. Sorghum is turning red really fast. We’ll cut some in the next couple of weeks. We had a run of sugarcane aphid a few weeks ago. I had to treat most all of mine except for a tolerant variety.”


Josh McGinty, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agronomist, Corpus Christi: “We’ve started picking already and I’m seeing a few modules on the county roads.


"Some fields are turning out better than I thought. There will be a lot of 1.5-bale cotton when it’s all said and done. A lot of the replant cotton in Nueces and San Patricio counties is some of the best we have. There will be 2-bale yields in some of that replant.


“Most stuff planted the first go around is getting defoliated right now. We’ll hit it again next week. Even with all of the regrowth we’ve had, defoliation doesn’t seem to be too much of a problem.”


Early south Texas cotton harvest near Petronila.
Photo: Josh McGinty, Texas A&M AgriLife


DeWayne Dopslauf, Crop Production Services, Wharton, Texas: “We’re close to finishing. I’ll start defoliating some this week, but most fields are still a couple of weeks out. Most cotton is at cutout with the heat we’ve had. The weather pretty well took care of it.


“I still have some young cotton that can be helped with a rain. Insects aren’t much of a problem, except for stinkbugs. Farmers are harvesting corn and that’s pushing stinkbugs into cotton.


“Rice is getting down to the end. Harvest is starting this week.”


Tom Studnicka, Studnicka Consulting, Belle Plaine, Kansas: “The last two weeks have been pretty brutal with the high heat. But we did manage to catch rain, so our cotton looks really good right now. Most is early to mid-bloom, anywhere from 4 to 5 NAWF to 7 to 8 NAWF on the later stuff. Fruit load is very good. The crop has very good potential at this point.


“With the rain, we’re on our second and third rounds of PGR treatments to manage growth. Weed-wise, the rains caused us to get a little behind on herbicide treatments. Some also got behind due to the dicamba requirements for when you can spray. It was hard to find days to spray.


“We’re still fighting 2, 4-D damage in some fields. It’s from guys spraying their pastures and wheat stubble and not thinking about what they’re doing. The damage results are shriveled up cotton leaves. It sets the plants back and they don’t set squares like they should.


“Thankfully, dicamba drift issues are way down from last year. There are still a few here and there, but it’s minimal. Guys are a lot more cautious and are using the appropriate product.


“We had a few plant bug issues but got them under control. Overall, our cotton is in good shape. If we catch a rain in the next week or two, we’re on course for a very good crop. This is the best I’ve seen in along time at this point in the game.


“For corn, we got a rain just in time. It should still be an average or slightly below average crop. The sorghum looks fantastic. It was far enough behind that the rains came in at a perfect time. We have a good shot at offsetting low grain price with good yields. Soybeans look good, but it’s still pretty early in the game.”


Tommy Doederlein, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Dawson & Lynn Counties: “I estimate that we lost 95% of the dryland, which makes up 85% of our total acreage of about 500,000 acres in Dawson and Lynn counties. Some dryland is still intact, but it’s not doing very well with all of the high temperatures we’re facing.


“Some of the irrigated is looking really good, but other irrigated fields are struggling and will need help from rainfall to finish out. There’s a lot of blooming and more will bloom soon. It depends on where you are. Some growers tried to come back with grass crops but most of that ground is still bare due to very little rainfall, so it will remain fallow.


“We’re not seeing any insect problems. The heat has taken care of them, too. Weeds are an issue, especially where fields got rain or have irrigation. There’s a lot of careless weed out there on bare fields. We need to concentrate on not letting those fields go, even if there isn’t a crop out there. We don’t want those weed seeds in the soil.”



Seth Byrd, Oklahoma State University Extension Cotton Specialist, Stillwater/Altus: “There is some pretty good looking cotton in the Hydro and Eakly areas. They’ve been a little wetter than in the southwest corner of the state. But everyone has been touched by drought and heat that was in the 100s for several days.


“The weather makes being able to keep up with irrigation a challenge. We expect to be a little cooler this week, but still in the high 90s. There is no rain in the forecast, which makes it tough to keep up with the demand and stress that the weather puts on the crop – regardless of how you’re irrigating.


“There is still a little dryland that looks okay, especially for the dry conditions we’ve seen in 2018. But the environment is not cutting us any slack. I don’t know of anyone who has enough water to keep up with the stress we’re seeing. Even a day that’s 99 degrees and cloudy would be a break at this point.


“Insect-wise, things remain quiet. But we certainly don’t want to cut back on scouting. Most folks have a good scouting program in place and are able to keep up with any little insect flare-ups they’ve had.


“On a positive note, we’ve had a very quiet year on the dicamba front. I personally haven’t had any reports of issues with dicamba drift this year. We have a lot of XtendFlex cotton, so that’s very good news. It has been a learning process, but these folks are sharp.” 


Jourdan Bell, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agronomist, Amarillo: "We have 2 extremes regarding our crops in the Panhandle. Much of the northeastern Panhandle has had 6 to 10 inches of rain and some of the dryland still looks good. But it’s different as we go south.


“In the western Panhandle and south, the dryland is hurting quite a bit. Many producers zeroed out their cotton a month ago. Others, unfortunately, had enough of a stand that they couldn’t abandon the crop for insurance purposes. There are few options at this point. They will have to wait and see if they can get re-evaluated in September for a low boll count.


“It’s the same story for irrigated cotton. In the northern Panhandle, they’ve had very good pollination and ideal boll development. I’ve seen some 4-to-5-lock cotton bolls. It will be interesting to see the effects of last week’s 100+ temperatures and heat stress on the next set of blooms and bolls that develop. Heat stress can effect pollination and the size of boll. We’ll see in the next 7 to10 days.


“Water stress is a key. Even under irrigation, fields look water stressed in the heat of the day. We’re happy to see a more positive outlook with precipitation in the forecast. In the Hereford area, some fields have only had 2 inches of rain since January.


“Weed control has been good. Producers were proactive in getting their pres out, so with that and very little rain, there has been no weed germination. However, I’ve visited with some producers about drift. It has been a great concern, both for dicamba and Enlist.


“Corn crops have reacted to the weather like cotton. The northeast Panhandle has good corn. But after the heat last week, many are concerned whether corn will make it in areas south of Amarillo. They’re discussing whether they will have enough irrigation water. They may concentrate their water somewhere else.”



Gary Beverage, Crop Production Services, Artesia, New Mexico/Southwest Texas: “Cotton is coming along very well. A lot of it bloomed before July 4th. We’ve had good cotton weather with heat and plenty of irrigation. From the Artesia area and southward, there will be some 4-bale cotton if it keeps going.


“We’ve had some stinkbug pressure around Carlsbad and south of the Pecos and Van Horn, Texas area. And, we’ve had some light to moderate bollworm pressure on some Pima growth in Pecos where we had to spray.


“I’ve had to treat for some southwestern cotton rust in the Van Horn area. Our PGR use has been minimal due to the heat. Cotton is growing well but staying in check.”


Jason Woodward, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Plant Pathologist (Cotton & Peanuts), Lubbock: “Nematode damage is quite apparent in many places and there’s a lot of fusarium wilt-race 1 in fields with a history of nematodes. That’s attributed to the hot weather we’ve had.


“More recently, we’re picking up verticillium wilt in plants transitioning from the vegetative to reproductive stage. For verticillium, growers need to try to alleviate any stress they can. We’re at or past the window for treatment with Vydate application, unless it’s in later planted cotton. We need to be monitoring fields and select varieties that are resistant.


“The same goes for fields with bacterial blight. We’re seeing a lot of bacterial blight and growers need to consider resistant varieties for next year. Further south toward El Paso, we’ve picked up some samples of target spot and some southwestern rust. We’ve even seen that disease as far north as Lubbock.”

Dryland cotton in need of moisture during 100+ heat near Hydro, Oklahoma.
Photo: Larry Stalcup, AgFax Media

David Kerns, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Professor and Statewide IPM Coordinator: “A lot of cotton is either finished or close to it, especially dryland. It’s so hot and dry that plants have bloomed out the top. Bollworms are still our key issue. We had a good egg lay a couple of weeks ago. That has tailed off but you can still find them. Cotton is not as attractive to the bollworms as it was.


“We still have Bt resistance issues. Overall, there are a few problem areas in which worms came through some of the technology. But it’s not as severe as last year. Technologies are doing well overall at my test locations. BollGard II and TwinLink are holding up a lot better than last year. The original WideStrike still does not hold up as well.


“Overall, Viptera 3-gene cottons have held up pretty darn good. I have not heard of any issues with BollGard 3 or TwinLink Plus, but have heard of a few issues with WideStrike 3, although I would say that is the exception rather than the rule.


“Spider mites have gone crazy in some areas, and we have some applications going out. I’m hearing that abamectin is being used mostly and control reports are positive. We’re also seeing stinkbugs, both greens and browns. This is the time of year they really start to take off and some growers will need to treat for them. Keep in mind that pyrethroids often do not work well on brown stinkbugs, so if browns are common, acephate or Bidrin may be better choices.


“However, when we go in and use a product like acephate or a pyrethroid, these will tend to aggravate the spider mite situation. We need to watch those fields closely.


“In milo, growers further south are already cutting. Up here in the Blacklands, a lot of milo is finishing up and sugarcane aphids came through at the same time as head worms a few weeks ago. The sprays were primarily made with Sivanto that handled the aphids, and I think most growers used Prevathon for the head worms. We haven’t seen any failures with sugarcane aphids this year. Guys stayed on top of them. If they saw aphids building up, they went ahead and took care of them.”


Randy Norton, University of Arizona Extension Cotton Specialist, Safford: “We’re monitoring the amount of tolerance to heat stress for many varieties. Some are more tolerant than others. You can see the impact of heat stress from the extremely high temperatures we’ve had.


“There are areas where we lost a lot of fruit. It was most damaging in the central part of the state, where plants were heading into peak bloom. We won’t know the full impact until we get through next week and see stuff that’s trying to pollinate.


“Growers need to keep an eye on their fields. If they lose a lot of fruit, plants can take off on you. They may need to be more aggressive with PGRs. There are no significant insect issues, although we sprayed for a few lygus near Maricopa yesterday (7/25).” News Links 

Shurley on Cotton: It’s Not 90 Cents, But It’s Darn Close   7-23


Cleveland on Cotton: ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ – Trek to Higher Prices   7-20


Rose on Cotton: Demand Strong – Mid 90s Look Possible   7-20


Cotton Outlook: Record Global Mill Use in 2018/19   7-18


Texas Field Reports: Record High Temps Further Stress Crops 7-24


Texas Plains Crops: Drought Taking Toll on Plants and Pests 7-24


Texas Upper Coast Cotton: Keep Watch for Bollworms, Stink Bugs 7-23


Oklahoma Wheat: 6 Disease, Insect Considerations Before Fall Planting 7-23


Texas: Seed Cotton/Base Acres Workshop, Seguin, July 30 


Texas: Wheatheart Wheat Conference, Perryton, Aug. 9



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