Cotton – Midsouth – Pests Remain Mostly Light But Rains Add Complications – AgFax

    Spraying cotton midseason. Photo: Alabama Cooperative Extension

    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.


    Persistent rain in parts of the Midsouth is complicating application timing and raising concerns about wash-offs.

    Plant bugs are triggering more treatments but no one is reporting overwhelming numbers. While populations are increasing, counts remain generally light, based on this week’s reports. With abundant rainfall through much of June, weeds also have remained lush and might still be holding at least some plant bugs out of cotton. In the last two weeks, treatments seemed to be more common where cotton adjoined older corn or soybeans that were no longer an attractive plant bug host.

    Bollworms haven’t materialized to any extent in cotton or soybeans, but the moths have become more apparent. Instead of heading into those crops to lay eggs, some moths might be finding their way into later-planted corn. Wet spring weather forced farmers to spread out corn planting dates, so corn could remain a viable host somewhat longer this year and take a bit of pressure off other crops.

    Spider mites and aphids remain mostly in the background.

    In soybeans, redbanded stink bugs still require treatments in Louisiana. We heard unconfirmed reports about a few applications in Mississippi. But native stink bug species also are building in soybeans in certain areas.



    Lee Rogers, Rogers Entomological Service, Steele, Missouri

    “A few of our cotton fields have blooms, but I expect a lot more to begin blooming within the next seven days (from 7/6).

    “Plant bugs have increased in cotton in the last week, so more treatments are going out for them. This is a late crop. But in an average year, the plant bugs increase after July 4, so I don’t think this is anything out of the ordinary for this time of year.

    “I also had to spray a couple of fields for spider mites last week and will treat a couple of more this week, but I’m hoping for a good rain that will help take care of them.

    “It’s pretty hot and dry right now, and we could use a rain. All the irrigation is running. In the past two weeks, we’ve missed a couple rains, but I’m sure we will get one soon.

    “Our most advanced soybeans are blooming. We are finding a few redbanded stink bugs and bollworms, but nothing bad enough to treat.”


    Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee

    “Plant bugs are still relatively light. People are preparing to make their first application, but we are starting to see a little more action. We are beginning to find more blooms, so it isn’t surprising that plant bug pressure is increasing, and their numbers naturally increase as the season progresses.

    “Growers and consultants have said these are the lightest plant bug numbers they can remember in several years. I haven’t had calls about anything else in the cotton.

    “Last year, we actually had a hard time finding corn earworms in our non-Bt or Bt corn trials, which is very unusual for us. That doesn’t seem to be the case this year, based on what we found today while going through a couple of field trials. A good infestation of corn earworms has taken shape in that corn, which might suggest a bigger bollworm flight down the road.

    “Those corn earworms numbers were at normal to above-normal levels. I think the moth flight will be later than usual based on the maturity of our corn crop. Our corn crop was somewhat spread out in maturity. A portion of those moths might move into the later-maturing corn, which will take some pressure off cotton and soybeans. However, I’m expecting more bollworm pressure this year than last.

    “Soybeans have also been quiet. A few people are picking up cloverworms, plus stink bugs have turned up in some of the earlier beans. But I’m surprised by the low numbers of stink bugs so far this year. I suspect that they are still on non-crop hosts, the same as with plant bugs right now.

    “A wide area received 2 to 6 inches of rain last week, so that is holding us over pretty well for moisture. We are hoping for a couple of showers this week. I don’t think anyone is begging for rain at the moment, but a mid-July rain is always appreciated.

    “We were getting dry fast before last week, and that rain hit the corn crop perfectly just as it was beginning to tassel.”


    Sebe Brown, Louisiana Extension Field Crops Entomologist

    “It started raining on Friday (7/3) and it hasn’t stopped (as of 7/7). We probably have received 3 inches over that period.

    “We are seeing a little spray wash-off due to the rain, and it’s also preventing people from making plant bug and stink bug applications when they want. As soon as the rain clears out on Thursday – hopefully – everyone will be running wide open, spraying for plant bugs and stink bugs.

    “I haven’t heard of any bollworm applications going out yet, but I imagine that is coming soon. Our traps are still catching moths. In the northeastern corner of Louisiana, people are finding a lot of eggs. That hasn’t started in this area yet, but moths still have plenty of time to make it happen.

    “In soybeans, redbanded stinkbugs (RBSB) are starting to show up, which is to be expected since some of our beans are beginning to turn. Our beans mostly range from R3 to R5, and a lot hit R5 just this week. Anyone who hasn’t already sprayed RBSB is probably getting ready to do so.

    “A lot of guys are including their fungicide in the tank when they spray for RBSB. When possible, they are doubling up on those applications with the potential for rain in the forecast.


    “Our beans look really good. The stand issues in 2019 weren’t as prevalent this year, and we didn’t encounter any real vigor problems. We have nice looking stands, ample soil moisture and promising yield potential. Unfortunately, soybean prices are sorry.

    “With beans at $8-$9/bushel, farmers still want to protect them, but no one can afford to fully protect them at these prices.”


    Richard Griffing, Griffing Consulting, LLC, Monterey, Louisiana

    “Concordia Parish received between half an inch to 2 inches of rain yesterday (7/5), and right now it’s thundering all around me. We’ve been getting a lot of rain, and hopefully it will dry out by the end of the week.

    “In my oldest cotton – planted in late March – I’m seeing a lot of shed because of the rain. That cotton started blooming on June 5. The rest of my cotton is only in the second week of bloom, so there’s not much shed in it.

    “When this weather evens out after Wednesday, we’ll probably be applying diamides to our Bollguard 2 because we’re seeing a lot of moths, both in the field and in traps. Although moths are around, we aren’t finding many eggs, but we expect egg numbers to pick up in the next few days.

    “I also expect to put out a good deal of Pix and plant bug materials over the next week, but we can’t do anything until the weather clears a little.

    “Plant bugs have been fairly light, but I’ve already sprayed most of my cotton twice for them. The corn is drying down and plant bugs will go crazy in the cotton, I think.

    “Pretty much all my crops are running early this year. Around September 1, I’ll be completely done except for a few acres planted behind seep water along the river.

    “About 80% of our bean crop is early, and most are at R5.5. Some of the earliest beans are starting to turn and desiccation should begin in 2 weeks on them. Stinkbugs are building quickly as beans approach R6. It’s mostly a mix of redbanded and green with a few browns. Treatments are going out on a lot of fields.

    “Our corn is beginning to dry down and we should begin harvest around early August.”


    Larry Walker, Walker Cotton Technical Services, Flintville, Tennessee

    “We’ve had four straight days when it hasn’t rained (as of 7/6), and I think that’s the longest ‘drought’ we’ve had since October. It’s finally warm enough and with the right moisture levels to really allow the cotton to grow. We’re trying to spray Pix and also apply herbicides to bring weeds under control. In our oldest cotton, we have started spraying for plant bugs.

    “The oldest cotton has five to six fruiting branches and we’re about a week away from blooms. Our fruit set is quite good. If the cotton starts blooming next week as it should, we will be two weeks behind last year. Compared to the long-term average, the crop is probably running 10 days behind.

    “Our concern with cotton being this late is whether we’ll have enough water in August for the crop to grow. Right now, the predictions are that rainfall will be average for that timeframe.

    “We got about 6 inches of rain in the week before July 4. In the eastern part of the Tennessee Valley, growers are still trying to harvest wheat.

    “We have one 20-acre bottom that averaged 1,800 pounds per acre a couple of years ago. So far this year, it’s been planted and then replanted two more times due to all the rain. At this point, I hope it averages a bale. It’s going to take close management in that field, and it was much easier to make 1,800 pounds on it than it will be to average a bale this year.

    “I’m looking at some ragged fields of cotton, but I also remember Will McCarty (former Mississippi Extension Cotton Specialist) saying, ‘You don’t just give up on cotton. It will come along eventually.’ We’ll see how that works out this year. In the Tennessee Valley, June 15 to July 15 is a very important time for cotton growth and development.

    “The first beans of the year were planted in the end of April on higher ground, and they look good, and the late MG III beans appear to be set up for a good crop. We’ve applied a fungicide on our oldest beans. We are aware we have strobilurin-resistant frogeye, so we are staying away from any Qol fungicides.

    “Our target harvest date for soybeans is the end of August and into the beginning of September.”


    Trent LaMastus, Consultant, Cleveland, Mississippi

    “Most of my cotton ranges from V14 to V17 and is in the first or second week of bloom (as of 7/6). Square retention is excellent in most places, but we had a little square loss from herbicide applications and weather delayed insecticide applications on a few fields.

    “Plant bugs have been very, very light compared to past years, but the pressure increases where older corn or older soybeans are nearby. Plant bugs are starting to flush out of the older corn and beans in a hurry. We’ve maintained control up to this point, but with all the rain we’re having difficulty making applications now.

    “I’ve seen one field with spider mites, but we haven’t found them in our typical hotspots. We’ve seen aphids, and some of our applications were for both plant bugs and aphids.

    “All this rain is a real complication. Insects will build in cotton as they leave the browning corn silks and soybeans that are moving into full pod set, and we will have a harder time controlling them if they get established in the cotton. This weather will make it difficult to treat as needed.

    “We’re already in that situation with plant growth regulators. It’s been too wet to apply Pix on time in many cases. We were rolling along fine until about 2.5 weeks ago (from 7/6), but pretty much the entire area has been wet since then. Several Pix applications were 3 to 9 days late, which puts the entire schedule behind and makes it difficult to catch up.

    “In soybeans, we started finding 1% to 4% redbanded stink bugs about three weeks ago. We were sweeping up 10-15 % in some R5 beans today and will be treating for them as soon as the rain clears out.

    “Some beans were ready for a fungicide 10 to 12 days ago, but not all those beans received a treatment. A number of growers are being more conservative with budgets, hoping that nothing flares up. In later planted beans where beans are following beans, we might apply an automatic fungicide, but we’re holding off any application on the older beans that were in a rotation with anything other than soybeans.

    “Corn started going into dent early last week. The rest is at R4, so it should go into dent early next week.”


    Eddy Cates, Cates Agritech Inc., Marion, Arkansas

    “A lot of our cotton is just now blooming but some also is just in the second week of squaring. A big migration of plant bugs started into cotton this week, and we’ve sprayed several fields.

    “We are also working to lay out polypipe and prepare to start watering cotton. Although we’ve had a lot of spotty, light rains, the temperatures have been in the low to mid 90s, so we want to be ready to turn on irrigation when the time comes.

    “We have also sprayed several fields for spider mites, both on field borders and entire fields.


    “Soybeans range from R3 to full bloom and pods are beginning to form. Some later beans are just now at V2. Although we have a very wide range of ages, the majority of our soybeans are in full bloom.

    “Insects in the soybeans have been really quiet. We are picking up a few stink bugs – green and southern green – but nothing worth treating.

    “Most of our corn is in the blister stage. A lot of fungicides went out on corn last week, but very few diseases have turned up in corn. This year’s corn crop looks excellent. Until now, rains have been fairly regular, with limited need to irrigate.

    “We just started irrigating our peanuts, and we made our first fungicide application on them last week. The main focus up until now in peanuts has been weed control. We were continuously fighting to keep morningglory and pigweed out of the crop.”


    Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist

    “Plant bug numbers are starting to increase, but they still aren’t terrible. Across all of our Delta locations, counts have doubled in the last week, although most places are still just below threshold. A few consultants are starting to pick up higher counts as well.

    “I’ve received a few reports of aphids starting to pick up again. We haven’t really hit aphids hard this year, but they are beginning to fester now. It’s odd that no one has called yet about bollworm egg laying (as of 7/8). Usually by July 4, a few calls are starting regarding egg lay, and numbers usually get heavy by July 10-15.

    “We have been in corn a lot lately, and the non-Bt corn is full of worms everywhere we’ve looked. The two-gene corn also has some worms in it. Corn planted in early April has fifth instars and many already are leaving to pupate.

    “Based on that, we are still 7 to 10 days away from seeing the full population of moths emerge and laying eggs.

    “A few people have seen small populations of spider mites here and there, but we’re really not hearing anything about them otherwise. I don’t know if that has something to do with all the Liberty used this year, but I’m sure that has had an effect on spider mite trends. I’ve actually been searching for spider mites for trials, but we haven’t had much luck finding sites.

    “In soybeans, I still haven’t heard of anyone with bollworms in any kind of numbers, even in the blooming beans. That runs parallel to the bollworm trend in cotton. It will start there when this corn generation gets going.

    “Stink bugs are really the only thing I’m hearing of in the beans. They are becoming a little more consistent in some of the beans that are beginning to fill pods. I have heard reports about a couple of applications targeting redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) but nothing past that.

    “RBSB numbers are becoming more consistent, but they are still very low overall. I do expect all species of stink bug – but particularly RBSB – to start increasing pretty soon.”


    Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist

    “In cotton, plant bug numbers are increasing a little, but they still aren’t that bad. More cotton is starting to bloom this week, and I suspect the numbers will go up as more blooms open. Since we’ve had so much rain, the weed hosts are still holding plant bugs pretty well, but we’ll know soon enough how bad plant bugs will be this year.

    “We don’t have a lot of aphids. Mites also aren’t showing up, thanks to all these pop-up showers.

    “We did confirm a worm flight last week, and people are kicking up a lot of moths now in cotton and soybeans, but we have detected minimal larval development in our fields so far. Plenty of later-planted corn is around, and moths can jump into those younger fields when they come out of the earlier-planted corn. That may hold some of them out of cotton and soybeans with this next flight.

    “In soybeans, we are still picking up a few redbanded stink bugs (RBSB), but a lot of fields at R2 and R3 are at treatment level for green and brown stink bugs. Even though we don’t have the high RBSB levels, keep scouting beans as they go into pods at R3 or R4. In places, those native stink bug species are at treatment levels, which is 9 per 25 sweeps.”

    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.
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