Cotton – Southeast – No Free Ride With Pests – AgFax

    Bollworm - Corn Earworm - CEW scouting. Photo: Gus Lorenz, Extension Entomologist, University of Arkansas, Division of Ag

    Pam Caraway, Contributing Editor

    Owen Taylor, Editor

    Here is this week’s issue of AgFax Southeast Cotton, sponsored by
    the Southern Cotton Team of AMVAC Chemical Corporation.


    Aphid fungus has developed in southwest Georgia. The fungus also is becoming apparent in South Carolina and the southernmost fields in Alabama. Cotton across the Southeast has needed relief from aphid pressure. Spraying has been necessary in places and may still be. But this is at least a positive sign for anyone watching aphids and wondering whether to treat.

    Stink bug treatments are going out in the oldest cotton. Pressure will likely be heavy this season, so protecting those quarter-size bolls will be the main priority over the next several weeks.

    Scout all cotton for worms. Moth counts in pheromone traps are up in places. No traits are completely immune.

    For crop advisors, this is shaping up to be a tough season for making recommendations due to varied planting dates and multiple growth stages within the same field. In many cases, pest infestations also may be more sporadic than usual.

    Logistical headaches seem likely. In a year with a uniform crop across the landscape, farmers and applicators can often move from field to field when spraying. This crop, though, will be more of a patchwork than usual.



    Ron Smith, Auburn Extension Entomologist:

    “Aphids are in nearly every field. I have not seen any fields where aphids are crashing because of the fungus. Some cotton was treated for aphids and more growers may treat now.

    “Nobody wants to go over the field just for aphids. If the fungus isn’t here in about 10 days, we’ll be in the stink bug/escaped worm window and we’ll clean up all of them then. As of this week, moth trap counts are significantly higher at Tallassee and we may, in fact, see earlier egg laying in cotton because of that.

    “Plant bug and stink bug numbers are up and down from one field to the next, so scout every field before making treatment decisions.

    “We’re seeing fields loaded with spider mites, too, especially where it’s hot and dry, and spider mite pressure won’t let up until it rains.”

    Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist, Tifton, Georgia:

    “Aphids are crashing in Tifton and we’re seeing fungus in Dooly and Jeff Davis Counties. Like we expected, it’s moving north and east.

    “We definitely need to monitor quarter-size bolls for interior stink bug damage. A lot of stink bugs are out there and they prefer bolls that are 10 to 12 days old, but they will feed on smaller bolls if that’s all that’s available.

    “Corn earworm pheromone trap counts rose significantly in Tifton. We also are finding corn earworm moth activity. Scout all Bt cotton and be prepared to treat when there is a problem. None of the technologies are 100% immune from damage but there are differences in corn earworm control.”

    Wes Briggs, Briggs Crop Services, Inc., Bainbridge, Georgia:

    “We’re spraying cotton, still spraying weeds – running layby rigs and spraying over the top. Also, we’re dealing with plant bugs, stink bugs and spider mites, sometimes all in the same field.


    “We are beginning to find bollworms in 2-gene Bt cotton. Most of those were in pink bloom tags, although it’s nothing widespread. Generally, the drier the conditions, the more escapes we expect.

    “The fungus came in to help us with aphids. Stink bugs are going to be a problem. We’re seeing about 80% brown stink bugs and we are treating. Big corn earworm and tobacco budworm flights developed in peanuts and cotton, and we are scouting closely. A wave of lesser cornstalk borers also has developed in peanuts.”

    Dominic Reisig, NCSU Extension Specialist, Entomology, Plymouth, North Carolina:

    “Much-needed rain fell on a lot of our fields last week. You can’t fix what’s been done, but cotton is looking good right now.

    “We’re not detecting the aphid fungus yet. The rain helped growers feel better about holding off on treatments, so fewer applications are being made compared to what we would have expected if it hadn’t rained.

    “Boll worm moths are around. People are being as careful as they can to preserve beneficial populations so those beneficials are in place when worms become a problem.

    “We’re really in a holding pattern with plant bugs. They’re spotty. But we’re starting to treat stink bugs and boll worms in cotton and soybeans.” Editor’s Note: See related report in the Also of Note section.

    Jeremy Greene, Clemson University Entomologist, Blackville, South Carolina:

    “We have aphid fungus on one of my trials and I’m hearing reports that consultants in Calhoun County are seeing it, too. Hopefully, it will spread, but I’m continuing to receive numerous calls about aphids.

    “We are still seeing stink bugs in corn, and they’re slowly moving into cotton. When the corn dries down and they move into cotton and soybeans, it will be like a dam breaking. In the next couple of weeks, we likely will need to protect those bolls.

    “Tobacco budworm numbers are increasing in my traps, so they could be important in soybeans near term. Anything and everything will be eating soybeans soon, and I also expect stink bugs to be big in soybeans this season.

    “We’re in an area where a consultant is well worth his fees. We need to check every field to decide whether to treat.”

    Brandon Dillard, Regional Extension Agronomist, Geneva, Alabama:

    “In places, it hasn’t rained in 45 days. Plants are going from vegetative to reproductive mode and water demand is at the peak. It’s critical that we get rain.

    “Aphids are pretty rough. We haven’t seen any fungus yet, but I haven’t heard of many treatments, either. If the tropical weather comes out of the gulf, hopefully it will drop these aphids down.

    “Fields with variable emergence – everything from 4-leaf to 11-node cotton – are complicating decisions about plant growth regulators.

    “We haven’t seen any bollworms yet, but we’re keeping our eyes open. If it rains, those treatments will go out in about 10 days. In peanuts, worm pressure is light. Growers are focused on fungicides. We’ll treat after a good rain.

    “Bottomline: we need a good soaker across all our fields.”

    Chad Savery, Anchor Ag Solutions LLC, Fairhope, Alabama:

    “I’m hearing reports that the aphid fungus is in the Mobile area, but I haven’t seen it, myself, and we’re spraying for aphids all over the place. Since the blue disease hit last year, I haven’t changed my program except to be more aggressive on aphids and we’re scouting for the disease again this year.


    “We have seen stink bugs in cotton all year and spotted our first punctures this week. Mostly, these are browns. Fortunately, it doesn’t take a whole lot to control stink bugs.

    “One odd thing turned up in cotton – we had to treat for chinch bugs, and we think an insecticide application flared them.”

    Michael Mulvaney, Cropping Systems Specialist, University of Florida, Western Panhandle:

    “Similar to 2018, we have cotton all over the place in terms of planting dates. The oldest is in the second week of bloom. We’re not quite at canopy closure with some of the stovepipe varieties. But we are near canopy closure, which is when we start thinking about fungicide applications for target spot.

    “For target spot, growers with those stove pipe varieties might be able to delay fungicide treatments. More and more people are treating for target spot because they’re chasing 3-bale yields. If you do aim for 3 bales, manage closely.”

    Kyle Skinner, Skinner Ag, Starkville, Mississippi: 

    “A few bollworm moths are coming out, with eggs just here and there, but nothing has been at treatable levels. Usually, bollworms show up from July 12 to July 20, and that’s when we’ve had to spray the last couple of years. Plant bugs are dying down and aphids are spotty.

    “We’re applying plenty of plant growth regulators, especially where we’ve been irrigating. Some of these varieties want to take off. They are fruiting well. We’ve slowed down the weeds although a few problem fields are still out there.  

    “It’s an odd year. Some folks are still trying to plant soybeans for the first time.”

    Tyler Sandlin, Extension Crop Specialist, North Alabama, Belle Mina:

    “This is a tale of two crops. The cotton that was planted at the end of April and into the first 10 or 12 days of May looks good. Nearly everything planted after that is kind of rough. Herbicides aren’t working well and we’ve gone too long without rain.

    “On the other hand, pest pressure is as light as I’ve seen it in several years – across all the crops. I don’t know of anything that’s been sprayed twice. Hopefully, insect pressure will remain light.

    “What we need most of all is rain.”

    Folks have been noting a fair bit of stink bugs in cotton and they are earlier than normal this year. Here are tips for scouting and treating, including insecticide choices.
    Topics rangefrom use of drones in agriculture to nutrient management. 
    Multiple pests will likely have to be dealt with.  These include plant bugs, aphids, spider mites, stink bugs and escape bollworms on 2-gene Bt cotton varieties.
    University of Georgia scientists are investigating the epidemiology of cotton leaf roll dwarf virus (CLRDV), which causes blue disease.
    How to maximize scouting time and fine tune treatment decisions.
    AgFax Southeast 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

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