Cotton – Southwest – Dicamba Disruption, More Facts Come into Focus – AgFax

    Loading herbicide. ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

    Larry Stalcup, Contributing Editor

    Debra Ferguson, Editor

    Here is this week’s issue of AgFax Southwest Cotton, sponsored by the Southwest team of PhytoGen cottonseed.


    EPA’s Reprieve – If you’ve got dicamba, use it.

    The EPA wasted little time in responding to the 9th Circuit Court’s decision on June 3 to outlaw XtendiMax with vapor grip technology, Engenia and FeXapan herbicides used in dicamba-based technology.

    On Monday, June 8, EPA stated: “Growers and commercial applicators may use existing stocks that were in their possession on June 3, 2020, the effective date of the court decision. Such use must be consistent with the product’s previously-approved label, and may not continue after July 31, 2020.

    “Distribution or sale by any person is generally prohibited, except for ensuring proper disposal or return to the registrant.”

    In addition, the Texas Department of Agriculture has requested a Section 18 exemption from the EPA for the use of dicamba.

    Scroll down and click on 2 related dicamba links in AgFax News.

    Herbicide options. Growers who did not buy dicamba before June 3 are left with Roundup and glyphosate resistance. Or they can use Liberty in wetter climates. Ben McKnight, Paul Pilsner and Todd Baughman look at these alternatives.

    Kochia and pigweed are dodging herbicide treatments in southwest Kansas, where high winds are preventing spray applications. Parts of central Texas are waiting on weed flushes as fields dry up from May rains. False chinch bugs are challenging southwest Texas, New Mexico and Arizona growers.

    Spider mites and grasshoppers are thriving in hot, dry conditions. In younger fields, fleahoppers and thrips need attention.



    Paul Pilsner, Pilsner Consulting, Wharton, Texas:

    “The crop is beautiful so far, partly because we got weeds under control early. The cotton I watch is pretty much a straight Liberty program used with the Enlist technology system. Residuals were applied just before blooming. We’ll have to mop it up with a few escapes, but overall weed control has been excellent.

    “Insects have also been light. We held back fleahoppers by applying an insecticide while spraying for weeds. There wasn’t a long migration. We had a run of aphids on 20 to 30% of fields. Transform controlled them. We’re seeing a huge moth flight, which should only affect 2-gene bollworm Bt technologies. If you have it, you need to be watching closely.

    “Plentiful rain helped the crop. All cotton is well into bloom, and some fields bloomed 3 weeks ago. About the only issue we face is if we get too wet to get Pix applied. I just hope we can get this crop out before something crazy happens.

    “On the grain side, the northern Upper Coast received substantial rain and could see a record dryland corn crop. Other areas didn’t have quite as much moisture and their corn will finish quicker. Sorghum appears to be above average.”


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

    “There are very few issues with weeds because producers did an excellent job applying burndown and residual herbicides. I imagine many of them are happy that they can still apply the dicamba products until July 31.

    “I’m not hearing about any thrips, but I’m sure they will increase. Many producers are just now planting their dryland fields and hoping for more rain. We need moisture because we’re still dry, and temperatures are forecast to be in the 100-degree range again soon.

    “Wheat harvest is showing mixed results. Dryland fields that missed the freeze in April are seeing yields in the 70-bushel range. Freeze-damaged fields are yielding empty heads.”


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

    “Fleahopper populations increased last week and only a handful of fields have not been sprayed. The fleahopper threshold is 12 to 13 per 100 plants. On the low side, I’ve seen 8 or less. On the high side, it’s 15 to 17 per 100 plants. Most are adults, but nymphs are also present. We must scout for them because we could easily see square loss. When spraying, try to select an insecticide that doesn’t kill beneficials, which could cause an aphid flare-up.

    “There are big spider mite colonies on older corn in the late milk stage. We’re hitting the upper 90s with no rain for nearly 2 weeks. That’s scary because it promotes mites. Younger corn can be susceptible to spider mites, which can also move into cotton. The threshold for cotton is when 40% of the plants are showing damage. I encourage growers to contact me if they see spider mites in corn. We can discuss whether it’s cost-effective to spray, depending on the crop’s maturity.

    “Cotton weed control is holding up strong. Luckily, guys who bought dicamba can at least use it. Cotton is progressing well. It ranges from 4 true leaves to match-head square.

    “Wheat harvest is wrapping up. We’re 95% harvested, which is pushing thrips into the corn and cotton. But most of the cotton is nearly beyond where it can suffer thrips damage.”


    Gary Beverage, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Southeast New Mexico/Southwest Texas, Artesia, New Mexico:

    “We’ve finally gotten control of the false chinch bug, which has been an issue for 2 to 3 weeks. They damaged the edges of fields after moving out of thick mustard weed. It required several sprays but they are finally cycling out.

    “Earlier planted cotton is in the 5- to 12-leaf stage with 2 to 3 squares. So far, fleahoppers are not a problem for cotton, but they’re in peppers and other crops. Also, we probably cleaned out many fleahoppers when we sprayed for false chinch bugs.

    “Weed control is much better this year. There was early weed pressure, but we made timely herbicide applications to keep them in check. Probably 50 to 75% of our cotton has received post-emerge herbicide applications.

    “We’re moving forward with our normal herbicide program after waiting on a ruling from the EPA regarding the use of Xtendimax and Engenia. I haven’t applied much residual yet. On the later cotton, we’ll apply dicamba and either Prowl, Warrant or Outlook.

    “I hope we can keep this label for dicamba products. It’s vital that we have access to it. Otherwise, it will be difficult to stay on top of many weeds, especially resistant pigweed, because you can’t touch it with Roundup.”


    Jose Mendosa, Crop Quest Consulting, Spearman/Northern Texas Panhandle:

    “Cotton fields remain pretty clean after going in with pre-plant herbicides that made a difference in weed control. That’s for dryland and irrigated, although a few pigweeds are coming up in irrigated fields. We’ve been able to keep them under control.

    “Post-emerge herbicide treatments are underway. We’ll overlap residuals where fields remain clean. Then we’ll go with herbicide mixes to take care of escapes. If we cannot use dicamba or Engenia, we’ll look at Tavium from Syngenta. As much as these fields have been blowing, I want to stay away from the plow and cultivation.


    “The main insect problem is with thrips, which are heavy in cotton and corn. We needed a second spraying for some cotton. The earlier cotton will be squaring in a week to 10 days, so we’ll scout for fleahoppers. With the hot, dry weather, spider mites are showing up in 7- to 8-leaf corn.

    “Overall, the dryland crop is advancing more eastward toward the Oklahoma line. That area has had more rain.”


    John David Gonzales, Director of Agronomy, Parmer County Cotton Growers, Inc.:

    “We ran into false chinch bugs last month coming out of grass corners along center pivots. They migrated mostly from mustard weed. They were 12-rows deep in cotton before we got them under control. Grasshoppers are also showing up in corners.

    “Thrips numbers have been minimal. You can find them, but not in high numbers. Since cotton is not yet squaring, fleahoppers and lygus are not a concern this early. We’ve seen spider mites coming off corn and controlled them with Comite.

    “Guys got herbicides down early and have weeds under control. There has been a good use of residuals. If the lack of dicamba is a problem for growers, Tavium herbicide from Syngenta remains labeled for the Xtend trait cotton. Liberty is also a good option. However, for growers using the Xtend technology, none are as good as the ones possibly taken away.”


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

    “Like other areas, we’ve had our fair share of false chinch bugs. The mustard weed didn’t look all that bad early on, but it must have been a prime host because they are all over the place. We’ve sprayed pyrethroids to control them. Fortunately, most cotton is beyond the stage where chinch bugs can cause damage.

    “Other than that, a few flea beetles, striped flea beetles and fleahoppers are all we’re seeing. Thrips are not bad. Last year there was a 90% terminal loss in fields around Buckeye, where thrips and fleahoppers were heavy. Guys are happy it’s much calmer this year.

    “There haven’t been any wrecks in weed control. Many guys planted dicamba cotton. If they don’t have access to the dicamba products, they’ll likely rely on glyphosate, which works fine unless you have a resistant-pigweed problem.

    “The crop looks good and is progressing well. However, high winds in the 40-mph range have made it nasty, even with lower temperatures in the 90s.”


    Ben McKnight, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Cotton Specialist, College Station:

    “There are few weed flushes, since the Blacklands area has turned dry in recent weeks. Most fields are in decent shape weed-wise. Growers did a good job with pre-plant and post-emerge herbicide applications. But more post applications will likely be needed in central Texas and north into the Rolling Plains and High Plains.

    “After the court ruling on dicamba last week, everyone went into a holding pattern. They were happy to receive guidance from the EPA Monday. We assume growers will switch to glyphosate and Liberty products if they don’t have dicamba products in stock. Guys further south are pretty far along on weed control and shouldn’t face many immediate decisions on the dicamba issue.


    “Insects are quiet in the southern Blacklands area. There’s little pressure. Most winter weeds adjacent to fields have dried down with the hot, dry weather we’ve seen.

    “The dry weather is not being helped by hot temperatures. Today’s (6/9) heat index is 110 to 112. Cotton is at match-head square and a little behind schedule. We assume the first blooms will begin next week. With the dry heat, we’ll see irrigation ramp up.”


    Jerry Stuckey, farmer-general manager, Northwest Cotton Growers Co-op, Inc., Moscow, Kansas:

    “Weeds are a problem in some areas, and we can’t get in to spray because of high winds that have blown for days. I have one circle that was planted in corn last year and remains pretty clean. But another circle that is cotton-behind-cotton has both pigweed and Kochia coming up. The wind is supposed to die down tonight (6/9), so hopefully, we can spray tomorrow.

    “Insects remain light. All seed was treated, so we suffered no thrips damage. We just need better growing conditions. It’s only 49 degrees today, not very good for cotton production.”


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

    “Fields remain mostly clean because growers used a good pre-plant herbicide program that included residuals. But we know there will likely be weed flushes if the area finally receives rain.

    “We had many phone calls from guys who were confused about what to do following the court ruling on the dicamba products. We were relieved to see the EPA ruling that those who bought products before June 3 can spray through July 31. That will be important as the crop moves along, and further post herbicide applications are needed.

    “Thrips are in parts of the South Plains and there are complaints about wireworms. Seed treatments were the first line of defense against the worms. In-furrow insecticide treatments are an option if they persist. But with this dry weather and a low cotton market, growers are considering whether they want to invest in those treatments.

    “We can’t get away from bad weather. In recent weeks, the area west of I-27 toward Amarillo remains dry. A few regions got rain last week, but it was accompanied by heavy hail that wiped out fields east of Lubbock. Growers who received rain in Crosby and Floyd counties have options to come back with wildcat cotton.”


    Todd Baughman, Research Professor, Oklahoma State University Institute for Agricultural Biosciences, Ardmore:

    “Weeds are not as bad as they could be because of the dry weather. But we know there will be weeds to control eventually. That’s the problem with losing the dicamba products. We aren’t sure how much product was sold before the June 3 purchase cutoff.

    “A large percentage of the weed problems have resistance to Roundup, and the dry conditions mean Liberty may not be as effective as we would like. Roundup and Liberty are the best choices growers have, tank-mixed with residuals like Dual, Warrant or Outlook.

    “It’s important to make applications before weeds are 4 inches tall for any kind of success. That’s especially true for careless weed. Cotton that’s under irrigation will likely see weed problems before dryland fields. Roundup should work better on morning glory, but not on resistant pigweed.

    “Thrips were an early issue because plant growth stalled due to cooler weather in May. Guys had to treat fields because plants couldn’t grow out of thrips damage stage. We don’t have much cotton squaring due to the slow growth. So fleahoppers are not yet a problem.”

    AgFax News Links

    Dicamba Cancellation: Growers Can Still Use Current Stocks Til July 31 – DTN   6-9

    Dicamba: EPA Offers Clarity to Farmers in Light of Court Ruling   6-9

    Cleveland on Cotton: Dare The Chinese Cancel Commitments?   6-5

    Texas High Plains: Cotton Development and Insect Pest Scouting – Video 6-9

    Texas Blacklands: Insects on the Rise, Watch for Fleahoppers, Spider Mites 6-9

    Texas Plains Cotton: Heavy Thrips; Storms Bring Rains, Hail 6-9

    Texas LRGV IPM: Whiteflies, Fleahoppers, and Sugarcane Aphids on the Rise 6-5

    Texas High Plains Cotton: Hot and Dry, Thrips Still Increasing – Podcast 6-5

    Oklahoma Cotton: Managing Fleahoppers 6-4

    AgFax Southwest Cotton is published by AgFax Media LLC
    Owen Taylor, Editorial Director. It covers cotton production in Arizona, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
    Working-Copy%5B1%5D.jpgThis weekly report is distributed during the main cotton growing 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.
    ©2020 AgFax Media LLC

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