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."