Cotton – Midsouth – Key Pests More Apparent As We Head Into July – AgFax

    Tarnished plant bug up close. Photo: Mississippi State University

    Laykyn Rainbolt, Contributing Editor

    Owen Taylor, Editor

    Here is this week’s issue of AgFax Midsouth Cotton, sponsored by the Midsouth Cotton Team of Amvac Chemical Corporation.


    Plant bug and aphid treatments have been going out, although no one reports huge numbers or widescale infestations.

    Spider mites built during those dry, hot days in the second half of June. A few applications have gone out.

    Redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) are present at least through the Delta’s midsection. In south Louisiana, multiple applications already have been made in early-planted soybeans, and a few applications were reported in central Louisiana. Initially, this could be trending towards a heavy RBSB year.



    Tucker Miller, Ind. Consultant, Drew, Mississippi

    “We’ve had scattered showers today (6/22), but people are still in the field in some areas. Prior to today, some areas received up to 1.5 inches of rain, and farmers were ready for a shower where it hasn’t rained recently.

    “We made herbicide applications. Now, we’ve started spraying for plant bugs, but we really don’t have a heavy population of plant bugs right now. We’ve treated several individual farms or individual fields of older cotton.

    “We just swept some beans, and insect numbers were low. We did find one redbanded stink bug a couple of days ago.

    “Our beans are between nine and ten nodes, and most are around R1 to R1.5. We like to get to 13 nodes or around R3 before we put out a fungicide, so we haven’t applied one yet.

    “Most of our corn is tasseling. We haven’t had any major disease issues. We were irrigating corn, but some people received rain last week.

    “Our Southwestern corn borer traps are in place around non-Bt corn, and those counts have been very low. We really haven’t had any major issues so far.

    “My peanuts look good and are into bloom. They are 46 days old, and I just put out a fungicide on some of the youngest. A couple of days before that, we applied Cadre and boron, and it was a little early for that. But it went out right before a shower, so it turned out good.

    “We had less-than-average stands this year. I’m not sure if it was because of the weather or the seed quality, but it just wasn’t the stand we usually expect in peanuts.”


    David Hydrick, Hydrick’s Crop Consulting, Inc., Jonesboro, Arkansas

    “None of our cotton is blooming yet. In fact, I’m not sure if I have anything that’s even close to blooming. Plant bugs are just starting to be an issue, and our fight with thrips really just ended.

    “Not much polypipe has been laid out yet, so people are pushing to do that. It has rained here over the last few days, and we needed it after going 7 to 10 days without any.

    “We’re not completely planted across all of our crops, but we’re much farther along than we were this time last year. Across all of my crops, we are 95% planted. At this point in 2019, we were probably 75% planted, and a big portion of those unplanted acres ended up in prevented planting. We had some prevented planting acreage this year, too, but nothing on the scale of 2019.

    “Corn is starting to tassel, and we put out all of our pre-tassel urea.

    “Our early beans are at R2 and moving into R3. Our latest soybeans have just emerged.

    “We’re trying to clean up the beans, which is a never-ending battle. We’re spraying them just about every time it gets dry enough, overlaying a residual to try to maintain control.

    “Most of our peanuts have received one round of fungicides, and we’re into our second fungicide application now.”


    Keith Collins, Extension Agent, Richland, Ouachita and Franklin Parishes, Rayville, Louisiana

    “Most of our cotton hit first square anywhere from the last week of May to mid-June, which reflects our range of planting dates. Most of the cotton has been laid by and fertilizer went out, so plants are starting to take off. We have a little replanted cotton, and it’s running a bit behind that.

    “Our thrips pressure was about normal this year. It was heavy in some areas, but other fields got by without treatments. As far as plant bugs go, I haven’t seen or heard anything yet. As we move into first bloom, I’m sure that will change.

    “Our soybeans vary greatly in age. Growers planted the earliest beans in the first week of April, and we were still planting some last week. Location and rainfall amounts had a lot to do with the difference in planting dates.

    “Our latest corn is pollinating and our earlier corn is at dent.”


    Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist

    “Cotton is in that transition between thrips and plant bugs. Plant bugs are coming into fields but the numbers aren’t crazy yet. People are asking about treatment options, and everyone wants to go with something cheap because the populations don’t seem too high. So far, no one has complained to me about control issues after they treated.

    “The numbers should start picking up soon. Corn is tasseling, and when those silks start turning dark, plant bugs will begin moving from corn to cotton. With all the rain we’ve had, the ditches are still full of flowering hosts, so plant bugs aren’t in a hurry to leave yet. Plant bugs also are hanging on field edges. Once the cotton starts blooming, they’ll come into the fields in big numbers, I suspect.


    “Of the moths in that small flight last week, most went into corn like we predicted. We are seeing just a scattering of bollworms trying to get in the cotton, but it’s nothing major right now.

    “Our soybeans are going into R2 to R3, and we’re regularly picking up redbanded stink bugs (RBSB), which concerns me more than anything else right now. The numbers we’re picking up are nothing close to treatment level, but the population is definitely out there. This is really early for them to show up here. We have a lot of late-planted beans, and I’m really concerned about how bad RBSB will be in this crop.

    “Every day, multiple people tell me that they are finding RBSB in R2 or R3 beans, and these reports are coming from as far north as Pine Bluff. I’m afraid this is shaping up a lot like 2017, which was a bad RBSB season. If this trends like 2017, RBSB will be all across the state by the end of the year. Just about everyone has late beans, so I think these bugs will be an issue for everyone.”


    Sebe Brown, Louisiana Extension Field Crops Entomologist

    “Cotton is progressing nicely. More is starting to bloom, and we’re picking up the heat units we need. A lot of areas are catching a welcomed rain, with pretty significant amounts in places.

    “We’re seeing larger spikes in aphid populations. In the last week the counts have risen greatly due to the hot, dry weather, and they’ve started multiplying in many fields. Applications have gone out, and with a week of rain in the forecast (as of 6/23), a lot of guys went ahead and sprayed.

    “More popup thunderstorms begin developing at this point in the summer. So, if growers see a dry window, they’ll make an application where they need it. That way, they can get ahead of things, mitigate pressure and avoid wash-off concerns. They’re really trying to make a conscious effort to save money, especially with these low commodity prices.

    “We haven’t seen a lot of plant bugs, but our cotton isn’t quite there yet. Once we really move into bloom, I expect that plant bug applications will increase.

    “A lot of our fields are just now at bloom, with the earliest-planted cotton about two weeks into bloom. The mid-April planted cotton just started blooming this week, and the May cotton is in about the third week of squaring.

    “In soybeans, I have had a report of spider mites on beans, something I don’t hear about very often. With this hot, dry weather, it’s a concern where the farmer has found them. If the rain in the forecast (as of 6/23) doesn’t knock them off, the farmer will treat. In all the years I’ve been here, this is only the second time I’ve ever gotten a call about spider mites in beans.

    “The farmer would just as soon not treat. He’s in south Louisiana, and those growers already spend a good deal of money on applications just for redbanded stink bugs (RBSB). They try to avoid any excess application if they can.

    “We’ve already been fighting RBSB really hard in the southern part of the state where soybeans are rotated with sugarcane. A lot of those growers already have made three to five RBSB treatments this year. Those soybeans are planted in March or even late February. Soybeans hit R5 down there first, so those fields are the only thing in large acreage for RBSB to feed on.

    “As for the northern part of the state, RBSB are there, but I haven’t heard of any guys making an application yet. A few treatments have gone out in central Louisiana.

    “The rain is especially appreciated in the corn fields. Some of our corn is moving into dent, and the most advanced corn is progressing to the point that irrigation will be cut off soon if it hasn’t already shut down in places. We have a great looking corn crop this year.”


    Phillip McKibben, McKibben Ag Services, Mathiston, Mississippi

    “Our cotton is just entering the third week of squaring, and square retention looks good. We’ve probably treated 30% of the cotton for plant bugs (as of 6/23), and we will start Pix applications next week.

    “We’ve pretty much taken care of everything in cotton as far as weed control goes and are about ready for layby applications.

    “Most of our soybeans are between V8 and V12 and blooming.

    “The June solstice – the longest day of the year – was on June 20 this year, and our beans were not at the optimum growth stage to utilize the extended daylight hours. It has been well documented that beans must be at peak bloom, or an R3 growth stage, during this period for optimal yield potential.

    “To achieve that in our areas, beans would have to be planted around April 20-25. Supposedly, that is why four-tenths of a bushel of yield potential is lost every day after April 25 that you plant. If you plant on May 1, you’re giving up a couple of bushels because your peak bloom will be just after the summer solstice. This has been widely talked about, and we’ve been paying attention to the concept.

    “We did lose some corn to green snap when that quick-moving cold front blew through on June 5. In some fields, we lost up to 20% of the plants. That front came through like a train. The wind only blew about 15 minutes and we didn’t get much rain, but it left behind a trail of lower yields.

    “Despite that, all of our corn looks really good now. It’s all in tassel and moving into the silking stage. The temperature and moisture levels have been ideal over the past three weeks, so we’re excited about our yield potential.”


    Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee

    “In cotton, we’re still in that lull between thrips and plant bugs. Plant bug pressure is pretty light, based on reports so far, and that’s the way it seems in my plots, as well. Due to the cool, wet spring, plenty of wild hosts remain green and are still holding plant bugs, so they will be a bit delayed migrating into cotton. Quite a bit of cotton is starting to square.

    “A few soybeans are beginning to flower. Soybean pest pressure appears to be normal, which means pretty light. I received a few calls about Japanese beetles showing up in pretty good numbers last week. They caused defoliation on the top of the plant, but that’s almost never an economic issue. Both the damage and the beetles are easy to see, so this insect comes up every year and people want to know whether they should do something.

    “But Japanese beetles aren’t as bad as they used to be. That seems to be the trend with this insect. They’re really bad for the first couple of years after they show up in an area, but natural enemies and diseases help reduce the population.

    “In non-Bt corn, we’re right in between our two big Southwestern corn borer moth flights. We had a decent sized moth flight, but moth catches have now dropped to nothing. It’s typical for the numbers to drop because the original moths are gone and we’re just waiting for the next generation to pop up, which I think will be around July 10.

    “We’re one of the few places that has an issue with them. We have so many non-Bt corn acres that West Tennessee is an easy target. A lot of those acres are on wildlife refuges, and farmers aren’t allowed to grow Bt corn on that land.

    “We’re having the same issue in a few other areas, such as where farmers are growing corn for the organic market. Also, we have a higher percentage of non-Bt acres around Carroll and Henry Counties, which are the areas where we deal with chronic Southwestern corn borer issues. Some farmers also grow white corn for a premium, which mostly tends to be non-Bt corn.

    “Only a very small percentage of our acres are affected right now, but it’s a pretty good infestation this year in those few areas.

    “We could use a little more rain in places. Corn is starting to tassel in a lot of fields, so a few guys would like just a little more rain.”


    Dale Wells, Ind. Cotton Services, Inc., Leachville, Arkansas

    “Scattered showers have been falling today (6/22), and we probably received 2 tenths of an inch today. But between 1 and 1.5 inches fell over the weekend, so we were not desperate for rain.

    “For the most part, everybody applied a residual herbicide ahead of the weekend rain, so the rain helped activate those materials. The rain also perked up the plants and gave a little more time to the guys who hadn’t laid out polypipe yet.


    “In cotton, we’re mainly dealing with weed control. We’ve sprayed for plant bugs in three or four fields and treated a few of the late fields for thrips. We like to let the late fields go without spraying for thrips if we can. But being in the northern part of the Delta, we run out of time, so we needed to take out the thrips and keep them from further slowing plant development.

    “Aside from insects, we’re going across with Liberty, Roundup or Enlist, depending on the technology used in each field. We think we’re in fairly good shape.

    “Our beans are really late. We started planted in the first week of June, so they’re between cotyledon and V2. Although they are late, we made good stands and the weed control looks great.

    “We are seeing dicamba symptoms in these late-planted E3 soybeans. Beans in the R1 stage are more susceptible to damage, and none of our soybeans are at bloom yet. Still, though, this is troubling.

    “We don’t use dicamba, so this wasn’t caused by anything that the farmer did. A couple of those fields were planted on May 28, which would have been three days after the cutoff date when anyone in Arkansas could apply dicamba. Beyond that, those beans didn’t emerge for seven days, so there’s no way that dicamba could have been applied according to guidelines and restrictions.

    “Corn looks great. Most is conventional but we do plant a limited amount of GMO corn. We put out nitrogen plus applied Afla-Guard on pretty much every acre in the past couple of weeks to prevent aflatoxin. Corn is tasseling this week. It was perfect timing with the rain, and the crop really looks good.”


    Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist

    “Plant bugs are picking up in a few places, but there’s nothing alarming going on. The aphid issue hasn’t materialized nearly to the extent it did last year. People are still watching for them, and aphid numbers are rising. But they’re not as widespread of an issue yet this year.

    “Soybeans are about the same as cotton – pretty quiet. Fairly low numbers of redbanded stink bugs are turning up in a few isolated areas. I’ve heard of one spot where the population is at an elevated number, but it’s still nothing to be highly alarmed about. We just have to wait and see what will become of the situation.”


    Gary Wolfe, La-Ark Agricultural Consulting, Ida, Louisiana

    “A lot of plant bugs are around. A little of our cotton is blooming (as of 6/22) and I’m beginning to see a bit of plant bug movement into the field. Plant bugs are running 3%, and we don’t want to let them start laying eggs. We try to maintain a low level as long as we can. We’re coming back with an insecticide and a herbicide.

    “With all the rain this spring, we’re working with a very uneven crop – mostly a little end and a big end, depending on what part of the field remained wetter. Fertilizer has gone out, so things are starting to move.”

    AgFax Midsouth 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.
    ©2020 AgFax Media LLC

    The Latest

    Send press releases to

    View All Events

    [ecs-list-events limit="5" key="start date" order="asc"]
    Send press releases to

    View All Events