Larry Stalcup, Field Editor

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



Don’t take your traited cotton for granted. Keep scouting. David Kerns is testing bollworms found feeding in Bollgard 3 plants. 

Stink bugs – green, conchuela, brown and the dreaded red banded (in soybeans) – are showing up in southwestern fields.

Lots of bloom talk this week. PGRs are going out in several locations.


From our sponsor...


Kate Harrell, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Jackson, Wharton & Matagorda Counties:

“Most cotton is blooming out the top and we could see 3-bale yields. It just depends on whether fields were among those that stood in water during early season storms.

“Bollworm pressure has slowed down but is still at or above threshold. There continue to be problems with non-Vip varieties. If there is a 20% egg lay or 6% bollworm damage, fields will likely need treating.

“We’re also seeing stink bug pressure, mostly green stink bugs, but we also have brown and conchuela stink bugs. Guys need to keep scouting.”


David Kerns, Texas A&M AgriLife Associate Department Head and Statewide IPM Coordinator, College Station:

“We’ve seen a few incidences of bollworms surviving Vip cotton in the Blacklands. One case is in Bollgard 3 cotton, which is highly unusual. Most were feeding on blooms and bloom tags. We made a collection and will test them to determine if they’re resistant. However, it could simply be a problem with Bt expression in the plants. When it comes to potential bollworm damage, don’t ignore any type of Bt cotton. Scouting is essential. If someone sees potential resistance to Vip cotton – we want to know about it.

“Thankfully, bollworm pressure has dropped tremendously. But we’re seeing a few spider mites. Dry, hot conditions exasperate them. There are also plant bugs and a few fields are being treated for brown stink bugs.

“Cotton growth is really diverse. Much is at cutout, but a few fields are just now blooming. The crop needs more rain after 2 weeks of dry weather.

“We’re spraying stink bugs in soybeans. There are treatable levels of red banded stink bugs - the worst kind - along with brown and green stink bugs. But we don't expect them to move into cotton.

“There are a few headworms in milo. Sugarcane aphids have popped up, but many are staying below threshold. Beneficials are keeping them under wraps. We’re seeing midge activity in milo but not at treatable populations. We need to watch for it in blooming sorghum. But we don’t expect them to move into cotton.”


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

“We’re making progress slowly but surely. We had 100-degree days last week and welcomed a few showers Sunday night (7/21) in the Panhandle. That will help out where irrigation capacity is limited.

“I’m in Altus this afternoon (7/23) and a lot of irrigation pivots are running. A lot of the cotton is at early bloom and fields are fairly clean. Dryland got a needed rain and it looks good. In Ft. Cobb, Carnegie and Weatherford areas, dryland and irrigated crops would welcome more rain.

“We’re scouting closely for stink bugs. They like to feed on smaller bolls, so growers need to look under developing bolls.”  


Chuck Wilbur, Independent Crop Consultant, Wellington, Texas/Southeastern Panhandle/Southwestern Oklahoma:

“Weed control is pretty sketchy. We’re seeing a few careless weed and pigweed escapes after multiple applications of Roundup and dicamba. We're doing everything by the label in the dicamba programs. We spray weeds when they're little, but there’s often one survivor that keeps growing. That’s a concern. I just hope we don't get into a resistance issue.

“I’m hearing good reports on Liberty if you catch weeds early. Enlist cotton is getting good reports, but there’s not much of it in this area.

“We’ve had beneficial rain. The dryland is squaring hard. The irrigated has nice blooms and is getting a second shot of PGR. Later irrigated cotton is starting to bloom and will need PGR this week. We’re also applying N through the pivot to boost fertility.

“We finally caught up on fleahopper and grasshopper control. We had to spray the past 2 weeks to stay ahead of them.

“Peanuts look good and are in the second bloom. I’m seeing a light sprinkling of early leaf spot. Like cotton, peanuts are still a little late. We’re going to need an Indian summer to make it a decent crop year.”

From our sponsor...

Tom Studnicka, Studnicka Consulting, Belle Plaine, Kansas:

“We have very little cotton that survived early planting. What’s left started blooming last week and looks really good. It has lots of fruit and strong potential. Cotton planted later in May is blooming this week. The late planted stuff is just now squaring and will face pressure as the season winds down.

“We’ve had good success with weed control. Multiple shots of glyphosate and dicamba, followed by Liberty a week or two later has been a good formula.

“We’ve had to treat fields for fleahoppers and tarnished plant bugs. We had stink bug issues in the corn and soybeans. I expect they will also infest cotton. Bollworms are not yet an issue but they’re still in corn. We’ll have to check closely as corn finishes out and they move into cotton.”


Blayne Reed, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Hale, Floyd & Swisher Counties:

“The crop is looking better all the time. It started blooming late last week and should be around two-thirds bloomed by week’s end. We usually reach absolute cutout of 3.5 NAWF about August 10 and our last effective bloom date is August 24. So, we have some wiggle room to fit in the late crop.

“With accelerated growth, we're considering PGRs again. We’re taking plant measurements and being careful not to push plants too hard or pull back too much.

“We’re still seeing fleahoppers and had to treat them last week. We’re watching for bollworms migrating from the south in the next few weeks. There are also a few stink bugs. None are at threshold, but there are more than normal so we need to watch for them. There are a few lygus in ditches and alfalfa that could spread to cotton.

“In corn, fall armyworms are in a few non-Bt fields. We’re seeing mites down low on the leaves. However, many mite-specific predators have helped hold them down. Non-Bt growers should scout closely this week for southwestern corn borer. Growers should also check replant sorghum for insect pressure.”


John David Gonzales, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension IPM Agent, Bailey, Parmer & Castro Counties:

“The crop is still 2 weeks behind but looks good. Most fields started blooming about 2 weeks ago and are 8 to 9 NAWF. Fruit retention is 70 to 100%. If we can take care of that fruit, we'll be in good shape.

“I’ve picked up fleahoppers and lygus. With the late crop, I’m a little gun shy. I’m pulling the trigger on treatments even if those insects aren’t at threshold. I don’t want to hold off and chance losing fruit. We’re also watching for bollworms. I found light bollworm damage in Bollgard 2 cotton in Castro County last week. They’re not at threshold but they could need treating later on.

“Weed control is good. Growers have used good residual programs and are staying on top of it. Guys who planted into cover crops had excellent weed suppression and saved on herbicide applications. Covers crops offer so many other benefits like helping hold water and preventing wind erosion. It's a good option if growers have the capacity to plant it.

“There’s no disease pressure, but late season moisture means we could see verticillium wilt and bacterial blight.

“Corn looks good. It’s everywhere from V-5 or V-6 up to tassel. Most sorghum will be chopped for silage. I recently found sugarcane aphid in sorghum near Muleshoe. We need to monitor them.” 


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

“The little bit of cotton we have looks decent but badly needs a drink. Last week’s string of 100-degree days really stressed the crop. Rainfall keeps missing our area and most cotton is suffering. There are quite a few acres of dryland corn that also need rain.

“I haven’t heard of major insect pressure other than grasshoppers in nearby counties. They’re being described as biblical plague infestations where the ground is crawling with them.

“Irrigated alfalfa looks good, but water quality remains bad. All of our irrigated crops need a rain to help dilute excessive salt.”

From our sponsor...

Stephen Biles, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Victoria, Calhoun & Refugio Counties:

“Most of our fields have open bolls and look good. We could see defoliation start soon in Refugio County. Many fields kept their early fruit, which helped keep plants at a manageable level. But a few fields required PGRs and some growth regulators were probably applied out of habit.

“There were treatments for stink bugs in the past 2 weeks, but most fields are beyond the threat of insects.

“There are reports of above average grain yields, which we need due to low prices. It looks like the cotton yields should also be strong. We hope so because we’re ready to close the books on 2019.”


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

“In the east and central parts of the state, most of the crop is at early bloom, 8 to 9 NAWF. It’s rocking along with good fruit retention. There is still little to no insect pressure.

“Level 1 and Level 2 heat stress are apparent in some flower formation. Fortunately, we have not seen consecutive days of heat stress. Since we’re still in early bloom, the heat will have less impact than it would at peak bloom. We’re finally getting monsoonal moisture, which is welcomed.

“Out west, it looked dicey with less than optimum fruit retention. But plants had a good fruit set the last few weeks. Much of it is nearing cutout and final irrigations will go out the next 2 weeks. I’m still optimistic about a good Arizona crop after a slow start.”


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

“The southern High Plains crop looks good considering the rough start. Growth stages are variable, but overall the crop is moving along nicely. A few fields hit first bloom early this week and much of the area should be blooming within the next few weeks.

“Many fields need a rain, especially for dryland crops or where irrigation water is limited. Hopefully folks are on top of their fertility program. Late N applications tend to delay crop maturity and can complicate crop termination especially in a late crop.    

“If you’re applying auxin herbicides, continue to follow the label, as you should with all herbicides to avoid movement.  

“Field scouting is essential with the chance for more insect activity. Growers should check with county agents, IPM specialists and crop consultants on the status of insect populations.”


Tyler Mays, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Hill County:

“Stink bugs are a problem, not necessarily in numbers, but in the excessive damage they’re doing to bolls. Check fields closely to determine whether you need to spray.

“A few bollworms are floating around. Make sure your Bt varieties are preventing damage and be ready to spray if they aren’t.

“Plant growth varies. Older cotton is bloomed out the top. We need to protect what boll load we have. Younger cotton is 6 to 6.5 NAWF, where carbohydrate demand is still higher than boll load. The high temperatures and lack of rain in the past 3 weeks will help us reach cutout on many of those acres.

“Cotton could use a drink, especially the stuff not yet bloomed out the top. We’re seeing fruit shed on some of those plants.

“I saw a little bacterial blight yesterday (7/22). There’s not much you can do about it at this point. However, be sure to write down those variety numbers to help with selection next year.”

AgFax Southwest Cotton is published by AgFax Media LLC
Owen Taylor , Editorial Director.
Working-Copy%5B1%5D.jpgThis weekly report is distributed during the cotton production season. It is available to United States residents engaged in cotton farming, field scouting and other qualifying ag professions. Mailing address: 142 Westlake Drive, Brandon, MS 39047. Office: 601-992-9488.
©2019 AgFax Media LLC

AgFax Media, LLC
142 Westlake Drive, Brandon, MS 39047