Tim Ballinger, Ballinger Innovative Agronomics, Dumas, Texas:
"Our cotton is still 2 to 3 weeks behind but looks really good. We're managing plant height and are just now at early bloom and seeing boll formation. Our earliest cotton has been in the ground 70 to 80 days, so we're nearly half-way to harvest at about 170 days.
"There's not much insect pressure. For weed control, I laid down a pre-emerge just before bloom and came back with a post-emerge. That formula is working well.
"Sweet corn picking is going on, and field corn is in peak water use. It looks like it pollinated well with good ear formation. We're spraying for mites that I found this week. Some disease is showing up in corn, so fungicide applications are going out."
Mark Nemec, MJN Consulting, Waco, Texas:
"Cooler weather last week let everything catch its breath. For cotton, it was like getting a half-inch rain. But we could use more with the return of hot weather. The crop is loaded up and just needs moisture to make sure bolls fully develop. For the irrigated, we're watering everything as fast as we can.
"We're starting to see stink bugs – treated some and scheduled more. Thanks to high numbers of beneficials, we escaped heavy bollworm pressure. Weeds are in check other than a few spot treatments.
"Corn harvest started this week and sorghum won't be far behind. Early milo looks exceptionally good."
Wayne McAlister, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Portales, New Mexico:
"What cotton that's left after our bad start is loading up well. It's still a couple of weeks behind but quickly making up ground. Growth is everywhere - from buds to bolls. We've been able to hold the fruit load with Pix applications.
"Fortunately, weed pressure hasn't been bad, and we haven't seen any insect problems. Everything is spooky quiet.
"Corn planted on would-be cotton acres is up to the 6-leaf stage. A few mites are in bigger corn, but nothing unusual for this hot, dry weather. Just like the cotton, the corn needs rain and we missed one last night (7/28). We're close to abandoning fields and concentrating irrigation water on smaller acres if rain doesn't come."
Paul Pilsner, Pilsner Consulting, Upper Gulf Coast:
"The early stuff is cracking, and we're starting to see open bolls. But the hot, dry weather is causing cracking in the later cotton also. We could run into a premature harvest. Still, dryland and irrigated fields look incredible where it has rained.
"Leaf-footed bugs, which highly resemble stink bugs, are coming out of sorghum so that could require treatment. Lygus are in weeds along field edges. Spider mites are moving in from pastures that are drying down. If not treated, they can stop a cotton crop really fast.
"Harvest is well underway in the Rio Grande Valley. Picking is just starting around Corpus. Here in the Upper Coast, harvest should start about August 20. The crop looks average right now. I'm hoping for 800 to 1000 pounds per acre but don't want to count any chickens just yet."
Murilo Maeda, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Cotton Specialist, Lubbock:
"Most fields across West Texas are well into bloom. All things considered, they look good. Growth remains variable. We still have fields running a few weeks behind. Time lost early due to cool, wet conditions will hurt.
“While a few folks got showers Sunday (7/28) into Monday around Amarillo and west of Lubbock, most others could benefit from rain. Unfortunately, rain isn't in our nearby forecast. There has been plenty of field activity with sprayers, cultivators and fertilizer applications. Hopefully, growers are keeping up with crop development and adjusting their fertility programs accordingly.
"I know I have been saying this every week, but we must continue to be good stewards of the new auxin technology and follow labels closely."