Larry Stalcup, Field Editor

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



Herbicide volatility and drift. Blayne Reed’s field tests prove no one should jump to conclusions.   

Scouting continues for stink bugs, fleahoppers, spider mites and lygus.

South Texas has a 4-bale potential for the irrigated crop. Lower yields expected under South Plains pivots.

Harvestable bolls. Don't chase them too far, says K-State's Stu Duncan.

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Clyde Crumley, Crumley Agricultural Consulting, El Campo, Texas:

"There's a late stink bug push with many coming out of corn. Thankfully, much of our cotton is at cutout or beyond. If the crop receives 450 heat units after cutout, that usually gets it past stink bug threats.

"Overall, we’re winding down and glad to see this season end. A late dry spell hurt yield potential, especially for dryland, which is melting down. But some of the irrigated is still perky. It looks like a decent crop, but not a great one. We had tremendous fleahopper pressure that hurt fields. Guys who weren't attentive to them could see a low yield.

"Corn and grain sorghum yields are good. But the lower grain prices are not helping."


Robert Flynn, New Mexico State University Extension Soils/Agronomist, Artesia:

"Cotton continues to look good. High temperatures during flowering were a concern, but the crop should be fine. Plants are growing well but irrigation needs to stay on schedule. We had good rains here and further south in the past few weeks.

"I've seen a few stink bugs, but I've heard of no treatable populations. Weed control remains good, but it's hit or miss with flushes in some areas that received more rain.

"Corn grown for silage looks good. Growers who got the crop in early will push 32 to 36 tons per acre. Later planted corn could see lower yields after the higher heat. Alfalfa yields have also been good."


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

"Many growers are making final post herbicide applications. They must follow the label on all herbicides, especially the Auxin herbicides. That was illustrated in our field day Friday (8/2) at the Halfway research center. We attempted to measure damage, drift, and even volatility on susceptible cotton with properly labeled herbicide use.

"In one block, we directly applied Enlist cotton 2, 4-d choline to Dicamba cotton. Within the treated area, we covered plants, both fully and partially, during the application. We then uncovered the plants within 30 minutes to measure any volatility. Results were as expected – heavy damage and likely eventual death of the plants within the treated plot area.

"But surprisingly there was no measurable volatility or drift that many had expected. That tells us that producers should not assume that volatility from the Enlist product causes damage to Dicamba cotton. As long as we're following the label, drift issues should be minimal.

"Drift will likely be caused by something physical, like temperature inversion – more common than we once thought – or too much wind, not enough wind, a faulty boom or a nozzle setting. Even applying herbicide at high speed can cause it.   

"Make no mistake, if Enlist herbicide finds its way onto non-Enlist cotton, it will show and show badly. However, volatility does not appear as a likely suspect.

"In another test block, we applied the new Engenia herbicide on Enlist cotton and covered plants in the same way to measure volatility. There was visible and serious damage, but not as drastic as the 2, 4-d choline applied to Dicamba cotton. These plants will have yield reduction from a direct rate of Engenia but they look to be recovering. Engenia did show slight signs of volatility, but nothing that would indicate a major issue.

"Growers should know what crop their neighbors are planting and the technology used. And even if they're using the same herbicide chemistry, take extra precautions in following the label."

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Stu Duncan, Kansas State University Crops & Soils Specialist, Manhattan, Kansas:

"We're still 1 to 2 weeks late, but the crop is moving along. Warm weather has helped. Crop conditions are fair to good. Much cotton is at mid-bloom.

"Fleahoppers are finally winding down, and we're finding a few stink bugs, but insects are not a big problem. After good rainfall and heavy showers in spots, a lot of Pix is going out. We could see rank cotton. Weeds are here and there. All in all, guys did a good job catching up – better than I expected.

"But we are pressed for time. Our last effective bloom date to produce a harvestable boll is about August 15 on the southern border. Growers need to determine their expectations – pay attention to bolls starting to crack and not chase them too far. We need a good, long September to finish out this crop."


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

"There have been a few scattered showers, but the whole area needs rain. Dryland fields around Swisher, Terry, Lynn and Garza counties need a good soaking.

"Warmer weather has the crop moving along. Maturity is all over the place, depending on planting date and weather conditions. Most fields are well into bloom. Some are near or past cutout, especially dryland fields and those under limited irrigation.

"Overall, fruit retention looks good. Growers have stayed on top of weeds and insects. But they can't stop. Continue to follow labels on crop protectants, monitor insect activity, and check with the Extension office regarding any questions or assistance needed."




Mike McHugh, Southwest Texas Ag Consultants, Uvalde, Texas:

"We see the end coming. Much dryland is close to defoliation. I was talking to a grower this morning (8/6). We'll begin defoliating his cotton within a week and start picking in late August.

"The dryland looks good. Many growers planted dryland in a 2-row, skip-row pattern on center pivot corners. That made better use of the rain, and some of it is still setting fruit.

"Defoliation on the irrigated starts about September 1. It looks good, and we're shooting for 4-plus bales. The crop has been sprayed for spider mites that migrated in from corn. Thankfully, whitefly pressure has been the lightest in several years."


Brad Easterling, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Glasscock, Reagan & Upton Counties:

"We've had no rain other than a few scattered showers. There was maybe a half-inch in June and July around St. Lawrence. It's the driest summer in years. Despite that, cotton doesn't look bad. It's growing off residual moisture from rain received in the fall and spring. However, we need a good shower now to maintain the boll load.

"Growers who planted cotton into hay grazer or wheat stubble are seeing good results. The residue helped hold water and keep the ground a little cooler.

"Our biggest insect issue is conchuela stink bugs. They were in wheat, sorghum and corn before cotton. We haven't treated a whole lot in cotton, but we're watching for them.  

"The new Dicamba and Enlist technologies have done a good job controlling weeds. Roundup could no longer control carelessweed. We needed new technologies."


Jose Mendoza, Crop Quest Consulting, Northern Texas Panhandle:

"The little cotton left in the northern Panhandle is at mid-bloom. Since it's into August, we need to water as much as possible to help put on a good boll load and manage PGRs to prevent excessive growth.

"Insects are staying low. There are no big problems, but we've been fighting a lot of grasshoppers on field edges. Weeds are under control. We haven't had to spray much because it’s so dry. Overall the crop looks decent. I'm optimistic.

"Most of the later planted corn fields are tasselling and pollinating. There's little disease. There’s a light sugarcane aphid infestation in sorghum."

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

"We're definitely into Level 2 heat stress. The effect on flower formation is apparent in 42 different seed lines we're testing. Much of the central Arizona crop is entering peak bloom, which is when heat stress damage is most pronounced.

"But less severe heat has helped move the crop along after a slow start due to cool weather. The cotton is loading up well and holding fruit. Growers should monitor fruit retention levels and manage irrigation. If weather changes promote excessive vegetative growth, a well-managed PGR program is needed.

"We're spraying for green stink bugs in southeastern Arizona and lygus treatments over much of the state. Heat drives insect populations up. We might see more outbreaks.

"Root rot is showing up, but since we've had little rain, diseases like Alternaria and rust are not a major problem. Remember the next 6 weeks are prime time for cotton. We need to protect the fruit."


Emi Kimura, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Area Agronomist, Vernon:

"We've been very dry. It hasn't rained since about July 10, so not much is working.

"Overall, the crop is not what we want on the northern Rolling Plains. The cotton planted at the right time to catch good rain looks excellent. There is a good boll load, and it should yield well. Other fields are just now flowering. Plants are small and stressed. If the crop doesn't get rain soon, there will be poor yields. There is also cotton that has failed. It’s not flowering and has very few squares.

"The better cotton has a few stink bugs, but not enough for treatments. Weeds are under control.

"Milo looks good. Producers are staying ahead of sugarcane aphids through well-timed insecticide treatments."


Chris Locke, CSL Consulting Inc., Sudan, Texas/Eastern New Mexico:

"We're about to burn up. Neither the dryland or irrigated crops look good. There are a few pockets of dryland that look decent. Most dryland is 4 to 5 NAWF and will cutout this week. Irrigated is all over the place, ranging from 6 to 8 NAWF to hard cutout. It's loaded pretty heavy, but I don't expect big yields. If we make 2 to 2.5 bales per acre, we will be lucky.

"At least we remain quiet on insects, but we’re watching a few pockets of spider mites in corn. With the lack of rainfall, there are few weed situations.”


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

"The western half of the state is dry. I'm in Altus today (8/6), and virtually all of the dryland is blooming. Much of it looks good. We have large plants, but we don't have moisture to support the fruit load we're starting to build. Heat and lack of rain will hurt this crop if rain doesn't come within the next 10 days.

"The irrigated looks good and has strong yield potential. Many fields are well into peak bloom, about 6 NAWF, so we still have a decent blooming window. There are no signs of stress.

"Growers still need to scout for insects, which have been pleasantly quiet."

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