Larry Stalcup, Field Editor

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Pigweed - 3 Roundup sprays and it’s not dead yet. Time for a hoe? Randy Norton talks about it.  

Will late August blooms be too late? Kerry Siders takes a close look at South Plains cotton.

Cover crop trials helped cotton seedlings get a better start in the cold, wet start this year, says Jourdan Bell.  

A major hail storm damaged thousands of acres near Tulia, Texas, reports Murilo Maeda.

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Kerry Siders, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent Hockley, Cochran & Lamb Counties:

“Cotton is all over the board. On the younger side, the crop is about 15 to 20% at 4 to 5 true leaves and not quite squaring, which is problematic. If it squares by July 20, those fields won't bloom for 30 days – around August 20, the last effective bloom date. That’s not much time to set bolls so it will be tight. On dryland, rules don’t always apply. Yields could be a quarter to a half bale.  

“On the brighter side, the majority of our cotton should bloom about July 25. Many fields have 5 to 7 first-position squares. Cotton normally goes into bloom at 8 to 9 NAWF. That puts us blooming in the next 9 to 10 days with a 3 to 4 week bloom period. The majority of acres are in pretty good shape.

“Fleahoppers are currently quiet, but we sprayed a fair amount 10 days ago when most cotton was squaring. We had plant bugs that had developed on winter weeds, but producers took care of those for the most part.

"We're seeing a few bollworms and anticipate there are also a few aphids. Beneficials should handle them. But watch for heavier populations of worms or other damaging insects that may migrate from the south or coastal areas."

“I encourage producers to wrap up their fertilizer plan soon. Put it out too late and maturity is delayed.”

Joe Renfro, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Southwestern Oklahoma/Texas northern Rolling Plains:

“Cotton is taking off and growing. I’ve looked at a lot of acres in the past few days, and I think we have a chance for a crop. It’s loading up really well. The earlier planted irrigated fields have purple blooms and small bolls. Growers have been watering a few weeks. But we’ve had rain that helps cheapen the crop a little bit. The dryland needed it and is in the squaring stage.

“We have big bug populations and are spraying for fleahoppers, which are in high numbers. We’ll probably get into stink bugs pretty soon. Also, there’s no shortage of weeds that need spraying in most fields. All of Jackson and Harmon counties, and even fields across the river into Texas, need at least one herbicide application. Some require 2 or 3 sprays.”

Peter Dotray, Texas Tech University Weed Scientist (joint appointment with Texas A&M AgriLife), Lubbock:

“We’ve had spotty rains. Timely herbicide applications and using residuals with their foliar sprays have made for many clean fields.

“But the weeds just keep coming. Growers need to stay the course, be vigilant and look for new weed flushes. It’s nearly time for layby herbicide treatments. We have data showing that late weeds produce lots of seeds, so we need to get them out of the field.

“I haven’t heard of any off-target situations with auxin herbicide applications. Folks are doing a better job of watching wind speed, temperature inversion and tank clean outs. Hats off to those growers.”  

Justin Chopelas, JWC Consulting, Odem, Texas/Coastal Bend:

“We’re seeing open cotton and that’s always a pleasant experience. Yield potential looks good. Hopefully we’ll have 1,400 to 1,500 pounds per acre. Other fields should make 900 to 950-pound cotton.  

“We’re not out of the woods with insects. We’re managing plant bugs after a lengthy battle with them. There’s been more pressure than in the last 4 to 5 years.

“It has been 100 degrees for a week now and it’s hurting. We're seeing some dehydration from upper bolls. Hurricane Barry sucked all of the moisture from the western side of the storm.

“Grain harvest is wrapping up. Sorghum yields are awesome – among the best ever. Corn yields are also good. The end is near for just about everything. I remind my farmers that I become a dove hunter when the season opens on September 1.”  

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

 “I was out last week so it was nice to get home and see the crop looking better, but we’re still behind. Fortunately, heat stress hasn’t been too bad. We’ve had very few Level 2 heat stress days, which occurs when the leaf canopy temperature surpasses 86 degrees. Pollination is disturbed and bolls are lost. Last year we had quite a few heat stress days, so we’re thankful.

“We are seeing issues with aphids in southeast Arizona. There is still lygus pressure statewide but very little whitefly.

“Pigweed resistance is showing up again. I had two calls from growers about pigweed that is not dying after 3 sprays with Roundup. We’re seeing this more and more.

“Growers are looking for different weed control options. My message to them is: if you have pigweed out of control, get it out of the field and don't let it go to seed. Use a hoe if necessary because if it goes to see, you'll have bigger problems next year."


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

“Most of our fields are well into squaring. There are late planted fields around Lubbock, so growth is variable. There will definitely be issues with late cotton maturity.

“Many areas received good moisture early last week. A major hail storm on July 10, near Tulia, caused major damage on 4,000 to 6,000 acres. Another storm hailed out a few field trials at the research station as well.

“Everything else looks good. There are still fleahoppers around. Guys need to stay on top of them to promote good early fruit retention. That will be critical if we end up having a short season.

“A few areas are getting a little dry. Lynn, Dawson and Terry counties need a rain.

“Herbicide applications are catching up after the slow start so weed control is better. I want to remind folks to be extra careful with their auxin herbicide applications. Follow the label. We must prevent any off-target movement.”


Jerry Stuckey, farmer and general manager, Northwest Cotton Growers Co-op, Inc., Moscow, Kansas:

“Cotton finally took off. Mine was planted May 30 when it was still wet. Most of it has at least 3 nice squares. The cotton has really grown in the past week. We’ve been in the 100s and it’s forecast to stay there the remainder of this week, but back to the 80s next week.

“I expect the first blooms about August 1. There are a few early fields that survived the bad spring, which should be blooming before then. Most good stands are in the late stuff.”


Orlando Flores, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent, El Paso County:

“We’ve had 100-degree weather and the crop loves it, especially the Pima. This is ideal El Paso Valley cotton weather. Everything really looks good. Pima cotton has the yellow flowers. It’s a beautiful plant. The sad thing is that we didn't plant much cotton because we didn't have a large enough allotment of irrigation water.

Pima cotton field - El Paso Valley. Photo: Orlando Flores, AgriLife Extension
“There are precautionary treatments going out for lygus and bollworms. Also, we continue to monitor FOV4 fusarium wilt research plots. This is a joint effort between AgriLife Extension and Research, New Mexico State University, USDA-ARS and Cotton Inc. We’re determined to keep this disease under control.”
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Seth Byrd, Oklahoma State University Extension Cotton Specialist, Stillwater/Altus:

“The crop is still making good progress. There is much demand on the plant with a big square load. A few earlier plants should see their first blooms this week.

“The forecast is for hot weather across our cotton growing areas including the Panhandle. We’re also dry so irrigation systems are running. But we still have good fruit retention.

“There haven’t been many pest outbreaks but there are isolated situations where folks have had to spray for fleahoppers. We need to scout closely for insects, as we’re finishing out.

“We’re still behind and can't make up for that. But given the year we have had, the cotton left in Oklahoma looks as good as one could hope for. I doubt if we’ll reach the yield goals from the offseason, but the cotton that’s left has recovered nicely. The dryland crop needs rain fairly soon. With moisture and a warm September, we have a chance for a good crop.”


Jourdan Bell, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agronomist, Amarillo:

"I’ve been analyzing cotton variety trials at Bushland research station this morning (7/16). Most of them look okay. But we only have 5 off-station trials left, of the 12 we planned, across the Panhandle. Seven didn’t survive the cold, wet spring. That percentage virtually matches the remaining planted acres we have north of I-40.

“However, fields have really come on nicely in the last few weeks, from pinhead-square to close to blooming. I was in Wellington in the southeastern Panhandle last weekend (7/13-14) where some fields had their first blooms. We’re still delayed region-wide.

 “Weed control is variable. Additional treatments had to be applied in some fields where preplant herbicides didn't hold up or they weren’t able to apply them. But producers have been proactive in getting post-emerge herbicides out. Fields are getting clean and looking better.

“It’s time to consider fertility programs as well as insect management. We want to maximize the yield potential we have by managing the crop as well as possible.

“As a note, I’ve seen success in cover crop trials this year. Cotton planted into a terminated wheat cover made a good stand when other seedlings were severely damaged by cold, wet weather in May. The cover crop protected those young seedlings and enabled them to get off to a good start. We will continue that work for several years.”


Jaime Lopez, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent, Frio County:

“Cotton looks good in this part of South Texas. The crop is at mid-season, between blooming and setting bolls. We just need the heat to continue. It has rained from 0.75” to 1.5 inches on a weekly basis. We're nice and green for mid-July.

“With the rain, producers are applying PGRs to help handle excessive growth. We had stink bug pressure in the eastern part of Frio County but that has subsided.”


Gary Beverage, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Artesia, New Mexico/Southwest Texas:

“We’re trying to push this cotton along. Overall, it still looks behind. Guys had to battle low soil temperatures at planting and we’re short on heat units. Fortunately, we’ve had some moisture, but there have been a few hailstorms to go with it.

“The majority of the crop is close to bloom. Weed control remains good. Grasshoppers are still the biggest insect problem. There has been plant bug pressure, but worm pressure has been light. We’ve had stink bugs in other crops.”

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