Randy Norton, University of Arizona Extension Cotton Specialist, Safford:
“We’re seeing good news on heat stress. Data for 2017 to 2019 shows we’re not even close to where we’ve been for heat stress in the past two years. In the low desert we’re usually in the 115 or higher range. We just haven't had that. We’ve been 108 to 110.
“The higher elevations actually need more heat to finish out the crop. With the monsoon season approaching things should return to normal. But we’ll have to watch for heat stress elsewhere with higher humidity and temperatures.
“Meanwhile, cotton in the Yuma area out west is approaching peak bloom. In central Arizona it’s at first bloom. Eastern areas are approaching first bloom and the high desert cotton is at match-head square. Lygus, whitefly and other insect pressure is very light. Part of that is probably due to the cooler temperatures.”
Suhas Vyavhare, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Entomologist, Lubbock:
“Early on I had calls about flea beetles, wireworms and chinch bugs. We’re past that window and we’re virtually past the period in which thrips are a problem.
“However, I’m seeing more silverleaf nightshade, which is a good host for fleahoppers. If those weeds are on the edge of cotton fields, we need to scout closely for fleahoppers.
“The threshold for cotton fleahopper is 25 to 30 per 100 terminals for the Panhandle-South Plains region. Also, we need to keep count of square retention. There should be no more than 10% square loss the first week of squaring. That could require spraying. We’re already late on the production schedule and I don't want to see any fleahoppers that can disturb square retention.
“There are a few aphids and I’m hearing reports of growers spraying for them on the southern plains. We also need to be prepared for worms, especially in non-Bt corn or cotton and potentially on older Bt technology. There’s no panic button yet, but we need to protect the plants.”
Mike McHugh, Southwest Texas Ag Consultants, Uvalde, Texas:
“I’m looking at a field right now (7/1) and it looks pretty good, like most of our cotton. We had good rain the last 10 days that averaged from 2 to 2.5 inches. Most cotton is in full bloom. We just need warmer temperatures. We’re about 95 right now and it needs to be 100 to 105 to make the cotton really take off.
“We have weeds under control. There are no real problems. A lot of dicamba has gone out and I haven't heard of any off-target issues. Insect-wise we’re in good shape. No whiteflies are showing up. I’m making pix applications to manage the growth. I’d say we’re headed for a good yield barring any weather disasters.”
Tyler Mays, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Hill County:
“Cotton looks good and a few fields are blooming in the central Blacklands. Fleahoppers are still in high numbers in a few fields. In others, I haven't had to spray once, which is surprising.
“We’re getting a strong moth egg lay and seeing decent numbers in fields. But we also have many beneficials. Hopefully, with beneficials and Bt technology, we can keep bollworms below threshold.
“Weed control is exceptional in most fields, although I’m seeing volunteer corn. Small grasses and small broadleaf weeds are being kept under control with auxin technology and Liberty. We’re not seeing any drift situations, but with weather getting warmer, we could see potential drift issues through temperature inversion.
“Silage choppers should start this week in corn but the rain on Saturday (6/29) probably held them back a day or two. Northern corn leaf blight has been reported, but it’s probably not a concern with corn being so far along.
“I’m seeing spider mites, so we need to keep any eye on them. I haven’t seen any cotton damage. However, we haven't reached our highest temperatures for the summer. I know there are spider mites on edges of fields along the Brazos Bottom.
“Sorghum has the widest range of growth I’ve ever seen. There’s wildcat sorghum that’s not yet at pre-boot. Some fields will head out this week and others are in the later part of the milk stages.
“I’m seeing a few headworms, but no spraying is needed. Stink bugs are also around, but not bad enough for insecticide applications. And sugarcane aphids are there but not above threshold. A recent cooler wet spell helped keep SCA in check along with beneficials.”
Gary Beverage, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Artesia, New Mexico/Southwest Texas:
“Things are starting to grow after 2 weeks of hot weather, which we really needed. Cotton that needed replanting is mostly at 5 to 6 leaves. In other places, we’ll probably see blooms by the Fourth.
“We’re getting early Lygus activity that we’re watching closely. We had stink bugs that have been severe in other crops, but not yet on cotton. Fleahoppers have not been an issue but we had grasshopper problems. They don't feed ferociously on cotton, but with the high numbers, cotton caught some of the feeding.
“Weed control is pretty good, although we have regional problems with cotton planted into Roundup Ready alfalfa. The alfalfa has been hard to kill. That may be a lesson learned for that rotation.
“We’ve been blessed with early moisture and haven't seen as much rust as expected. But we’ve not started the monsoon season, when rust can be an issue.”