Larry Stalcup, Field Editor

Many thanks to the PhytoGen Cotton Team for their continued support and sponsorship.



Post-emerge herbicide applications are going out. Pigweed control is at the top of the list. 

Bollworms are an issue in Bt cotton south of College Station. David Kerns heard of a BG3 field with 20% square loss.  

Stand establishment has been tough enough in Oklahoma and now “plants are too small and slow to grow,” says Seth Byrd.

Abandoned acres continue to expand as time runs out.

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Tom Studnicka, Studnicka Consulting, Belle Plaine, Kansas:

“Due to wet, cool weather, only 50 to 55% of the cotton my guys wanted to plant actually got planted. Out of that, probably 30% has been abandoned and they switched to soybeans. We just didn’t get the cotton stands. There was one good planting window followed by 10 to 12 inches of rain. A lot just didn’t make it.

“For remaining cotton, the earlier stuff is just now starting to square. But most fields range from cotyledon to 4-leaf. Overall, the later planted crop doesn't look too bad. We're just behind.

“Weeds are a major issue. The forecast looks like we’ll have a good window for a week or so. Everyone should be able to catch up on herbicide and insecticide applications. Fortunately, with warmer weather cotton has been growing fast enough that thrips have not been a major issue. I’m also not seeing any major issues with fleahoppers on the earlier cotton.

“Soybean stands are adequate, but they’re off to a slow start. Wheat harvest is ready to begin where guys can find dry fields. Yields will probably be in the 30s to 40s, an average crop at best.” 

Kyle Aljoe, Crop Quest Consulting, Dimmitt, Texas:

“Things are shaping back up after hail damage last week. We have warmer temperatures and fields are actually starting to look like cotton after all of the cool weather. I’ve probably lost 25 to 30% of the cotton I watch. There was not enough heat.

“Growers came back with corn on irrigated or limited irrigated fields. Others replanted dryland or limited irrigated sorghum. Many decided to take the insurance and lay it out. We didn't receive the rainfall they had north of Amarillo, so we don't have a good profile. Fields that were replanted are starting to look pretty good. We’re now spraying for weeds. Thankfully, we’re not seeing much insect pressure.

“Forage sorghum, corn for silage and field corn are looking good after being hit with hail last week. We just started harvesting irrigated wheat. Dryland wheat harvest began last week. Dryland yields are not too bad, with 20 to 25 bushels per acre where wheat didn't get grazed out.”

David Kerns, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Professor and Statewide IPM Coordinator, College Station:

“Cotton has really come along the last 2 weeks. Wet weather slowed down fleahopper treatments. They were relentless, but numbers have dropped considerably.  

“Most of the crop in my area isn't blooming but it’s close. We have a huge bollworm egg lay ongoing. Since cotton is not blooming, I expect to see little worm survivorship even in the dual gene Bt varieties, but I have noted some square feeding in dual gene cotton already.

“South of us where cotton is well into bloom, producers are definitely having issues with bollworms injuring Bt cotton. Even a few reports in Vip cotton varieties with some requiring treatment. Larvae are surviving long enough to cause fruit damage, but do not appear to be able to develop into late instars. One Vip variety field was reported to have suffered 20% square loss to worms. That’s an issue. New Bt technologies targeting bollworms are years away from being released.”

Seth Byrd, Oklahoma State University Extension Cotton Specialist, Stillwater/Altus:

“We’ve had better weather the last 5 to 6 days, with less rain and warmer temperatures. It was in the 100s late last week. We’ve seen scattered showers, but no all-day rains.

“Everything in the southwestern part of the state is in various stages. One problem is stand establishment. Some are decent as far as good emergence, but the bigger problem is small plants and slow growth. We’re not seeing this crop take off because we haven’t had the good growing conditions.

“We’ve had thrips pressure. Insecticide applications have been pretty common. We need to keep scouting for thrips and then start looking for squares that attract fleahoppers, plant bugs and other insects.

“Many rotary hoes ran last week to break up the crust after the recent rains. That’s been a weekly thing since it was planted. Guys in the Altus region do a very good job of incorporating preplant herbicide applications with residuals. You really see the value of those types of programs with clean fields.”

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Mark Nemec, MJN Consulting, Waco, Texas:

“It’s wet again. We can't seem to escape Sunday night thunderstorms. In the Waco area, another 2 to 3 inches fell last night (6/23). It’s going to help finish out the corn and what little grain sorghum we have. It's not hurting the cotton yet.

“Cotton looks good – if it was May 15 instead of June 24. We’re a good month behind on much of it. A lot of younger cotton just started squaring last week and fleahoppers are moving in. We’re attempting to spray in between cloudbursts.

“We were lucky on weeds. We had a window to make herbicide applications 2 weeks ago. That helped us get a handle on most weeds for now. I’m hearing nothing about herbicide drift this year. Everyone learned their lesson and they’re careful with their different technologies.

“Much of the corn is starting to dent but milo is all over the board. Some of the crop is turning color while other fields have not headed out yet. There have been very few sugarcane aphids, but we had a few headworm outbreaks. Stinkbugs have been the biggest problem with sorghum.” 

Wayne Keeling, Texas A&M AgriLife Research Weed Specialist, Lubbock:

“Rain and cool weather in early May and June slowed pigweed outbreaks – but they’re back. So timely post-emerge applications are important. We need a good post-emerge herbicide plan that enables us to treat for pigweed while it’s small.

“Residuals helped growers do a good job of controlling weeds early. Now they need to use residuals with their main herbicide technologies to make sure post treatments are successful.

“Also, growers need to remember to follow the label on whatever technology they’re using. We can't be sloppy and create any herbicide drift situations.”

Randy Norton, University of Arizona Extension Cotton Specialist, Safford:

“I’ve had many calls and interaction with growers about how slow the crop is. We have cooled off so much that cotton is just setting and not growing like it should. There is considerable concern about damage to terminals that have been sandblasted and wind-whipped. We need to keep a close eye on excessive vegetative growth and apply PGRs as needed to not let the crop get away from us.

“Insect pressure is nothing to speak of, but a few early season issues with flea beetles and thrips are behind some of the terminal damage. I’m meeting with growers around the state to address all of the growth concerns. If we can get heat to get the crop moving toward maturity, we should be fine.”

Tim Ballinger, Ballinger Innovative Agronomics, Dumas, Texas:

“Cotton acres have been reduced by about 75% of what my farmers wanted to grow. That’s due to the bad spring and early summer weather in the northern Panhandle. But the cotton I do have is looking good. It’s at 4- to 6-leaf. Stands are still light, but the warm weather is helping bring plants along.

“We’re out of thrips pressure range and are now spraying for weeds and evaluating stands. Guys are determining whether they want to spend more money on the crop.

“So far weed control has been pretty good. However, pigweed and volunteer corn are starting to show up. I’ve been recommending post-emerge work to make sure we get good pigweed control. When we come back, we’ll put down a layby that includes residuals. We’re not at pinhead square so I want plants to be fuller when we apply residuals.

“Corn is wait and see. It’s still a little short. We need to see how ears develop. It has 2 weeks to make up height before it tassels. I hope it reaches 6 feet tall. I’m seeing a little moth activity in corn, but it’s quiet for the most part. Wheat harvest will start later this week.”

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Murilo Maeda, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Cotton Specialist, Lubbock: 

“Most everything around Lubbock looks pretty good, but fields are running behind. Plants range from 4 to 5 true leaves to just now getting established. Weeds are finally here after all of the rain, so folks need to be on top of them. 

“Even though the crop is behind, warm days are in the forecast, along with the potential for rain. I haven't seen any thrips damage, but that doesn't mean people should stop looking for them.” 

Patrick Kircher, New Mexico State University Extension Agent, Roosevelt County, Portales:

“There’s just not much cotton because of cool weather early in the growing season. Guys tried to get it in the ground but faced too many weather calamities. The cotton I’ve seen isn't doing much. It’s from cotyledon to a few leaves in growth. It sure isn’t flourishing.

“We’ve been warm but not hot. We’re also in a dry pocket while areas around us have had good rainfall. The lack of moisture and lack of heat units is affecting our performance.

“It’s not just cotton. Everything is way behind. I’ve watched guys replant multiple times to get things up. You don't have to go too far east across the Texas state line to see good looking crops, but not here. Alfalfa is about the only thing that looks good.”

Paul Pilsner, Pilsner Consulting, Wharton, Texas:

“I’m in the Rio Grande Valley today (6/25) and there was flooding last night. We’ve also had plenty of rain in the coastal areas. It’s difficult to control plant growth. I’m finding that cotton needs more Pix than I’ve been putting on.

“We’re seeing lots of stink bugs, along with aphids that we’re having to treat. Fleahoppers are still apparent on the younger stuff, but we’re at the tail end of that pest.

“Growers need to be warned that if they’re not planting any Vip Bt cotton, there’s a big moth flight and Bt2 or WideStrike 1 will not have perfect worm control. I’m spraying grain fields for worms. Down south they’re spraying the old Bt technology cotton varieties.

“Since it has been wet, we’re still having to clean up fields by spraying for weeds. Overall, I want to commend growers for their work with the new technologies. They’re doing a good job with Enlist, Xtend and Liberty.”

Haley Kennedy, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension IPM Agent, Runnels, Tom Green & Concho Counties:

“We had a turnrow meeting this morning. We discussed how many growers have had to spray for thrips where seed treatments didn't hold up due to the slow start. Cotton growth is across the board, everywhere from just planted to mid-squaring. We’re spraying for cotton fleahoppers and need to keep monitoring fields for them.

“I found our first egg lay in early cotton. Guys with older Bt technologies need to be ready for them. There are sugarcane aphid sprays going out in sorghum fields. Headworms and stink bugs are also showing up in milo. They could move to cotton later on.

“Guys are doing pretty good in weed control. We’re seeing glyphosate resistance here and there. Careless weeds are a problem, but most guys are staying on top of them.”

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