Cotton – Midsouth/Delta – Pests Have Been Running Late But They Are Here Now – AgFax

    ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

    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.


    Late crop, late insects. That’s how the season is shaping up, based on comments over the last couple of weeks. Pest pressure is developing on a delayed basis, from 7 to 14 days later than usual, depending on the pest and the area. With corn and cotton, spread-out planting periods are likely influencing bollworm trends.

    Plant bugs remain a factor in places and treatments continue.

    More bollworm treatments have gone out over the last week in dual-gene cotton. Moths and eggs are more apparent on a wider basis.

    Spider mite pressure has increased in places following a prolonged stretch of hot, dry conditions.

    Aphid populations are crashing in more areas as the fungus develops, but enough remain active in places to prompt some response.



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

    “Cotton has 17 to 18 nodes (as of 7/20), with about 7 nodes above white flower on most of it. Plants are fruiting well, and I think this is one of the cleaner crops we’ve had in years in terms of weed control. Growers have worked hard and stayed on top of it, and I’m really happy with that.

    “We had stopped using pre-emerge herbicides in our program. We would apply residuals once the cotton came up, but we were basically hitting the weeds with Roundup and Liberty. This year, all my growers started using Cotoran and Caparol as a preemergence, and we got off to a cleaner start. Of course, not every field is 100% clean, but I think using the pre herbicides made a big difference.

    “This has been a recommendation for several years, but people also remembered when Cotoran was harsh on cotton and caused some degree of injury as a pre. But we’re using lower rates and haven’t seen any injuries to the cotton, and it’s taking care of weeds.

    “Until last week, insect pressure was pretty light across the board, but we treated quite a few fields last week for plant bugs, and I’m finding more this week. Broadly speaking, if it wasn’t treated last week for plant bugs, it will be treated this week.

    “We have run into 3 to 4 fields with spider mites. They kind of blew up due to the dry weather, but we’re going to knock those back.

    “Our beans are late, and we really just started sweeping them last week. The crop is showing dicamba symptoms, so the beans aren’t progressing a lot anyway.”


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

    “Much of cotton is in the second to fourth week of bloom. Plant bugs are being treated in some fields with heavy pressure and others have lighter pressure.

    “So far, cotton looks good, but we have a long time between now and when it goes through the picker. I’m happy with the progress so far, and we haven’t really had any major problems.

    “My bollworm trap numbers peaked the week of June 22 and bottomed out the week of July 13, and we may be between cycles right now. It doesn’t always signify another flight, but the corn is also drying down, so I expect another round of moths and worms.

    “March-planted corn looks really good. I’m a little concerned to see how the remaining corn comes out since we didn’t finish planting in this area until the middle of April, which is out of our optimal window. Time will tell.

    “About 200-plus acres of early-maturing corn has been harvested on one large farming operation, and that’s the only harvest I’ve heard of. One guy said he will cut a little corn at the end of this week, but it will be the first week of August or later before we will really be in full harvest.

    “A big part of our soybean crop is at R4 to R5.5 or later, and beans look pretty good.  We haven’t had redbanded stink bug (RBSB) pressure yet, but we are just hitting growth stage when numbers start building.”


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

    “The cotton looks good so far. Most of our cotton started blooming in early July, so we’re at least in the third week of bloom now (7/20). Everyone is focusing on irrigation right now. Pipe is getting laid and water is running in many areas.

    “We have had a little plant bug and moth activity, and a few treatments are going out. I’ve seen some worms and a little damage in older DP 1646.

    “We’re spraying a few soybeans with a fungicide right now, and an insecticide will soon follow. Plenty of moths are in the soybeans.”


    Tucker Miller, Ind. Consultant, Drew, Mississippi

    “We are fully irrigating cotton. We went from wondering if it was ever going to quit raining to 10 days of hot, dry weather.

    “Insects are picking up, and we have started finding worm eggs as far north as Glendora. We’ve lined up diamide treatments on the Bollgard II for this week, but we’re testing the technology in the Bollgard 3 by not treating it for worms.


    “We’ve also had a big influx of aphids in the last 10 days, and we’ve tended to most of them. With this next spray, we will include a material for aphids as well as for worm eggs. Aphids take over so fast, so we’re trying to stay ahead of them.

    “Plant bugs are light to normal. We are seeing higher numbers in a few fields that are next to corn, which you’d expect. We have only made 2 good applications for plant bugs, so we will also treat them in the upcoming worm spray this week. Also, we’ll give the Bollgard 3 a shot for plant bugs.

    “The cotton planted in early May looks really good. Some younger cotton planted around the middle of May went through rough weather and multiple herbicide applications, and all that held it back. That cotton is just starting to come on since we began irrigating it.

    “Insects remain mostly light in soybeans. We did find some small bollworms in the late beans this last weekend (7/18-19) on a limited number of acres, and we’re planning to treat that with Intrepid Edge.

    “Stink bugs haven’t been a problem so far, but we’re just starting to get to the prime stage to see them.

    “Corn is going into dent, and we’re watering a lot of it for the last time. We haven’t seen any disease issues in corn, and unless we do run into diseases soon, the corn has had a fairly simple year.”


    Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee

    “The latest cotton is just now thinking about flowering. In drier areas, the earliest planted cotton is nearing cutout at about NAWF 5. The later cotton has been receiving plenty of heat the last 8 to 10 days, so it’s catching up fairly well. 

    “We’re seeing a few more plant bugs in places, but overall numbers are still lower than usual. A lot of treatments are going out this week. In our trials, we are finding a fair number of immature plant bugs on our drop cloths. We’re also detecting a good infestation of adults in the youngest cotton. I’ve seen this is past years, too, where adults swarm pretty heavily to late planted cotton.

    “A few bollworm eggs and moths are turning up in places, but I’m not aware of any treatments yet, and I don’t expect a big bollworm flight until August. Based on our corn crop, the bollworm larvae are just now starting to pupate, so I think the counts will steadily increase but the peak of our next flight will be no earlier than the first week of August.

    “The later they get here, the better, but we do need to start scouting for bollworms a little harder the closer we get to August.

    “Stink bugs appear to be pretty light.

    “Some people are begging for rain, but other areas have received decent amounts in the past week. While we do have a few dry spots, the overall crop condition is still good.

    “In soybeans, I haven’t had a single person tell me about a dire insect situation so far this year. A few stink bugs are present in older beans, and we might actually see a few more redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) than we usually expect up here. Even if RBSBs increase, it won’t be until September, and that won’t affect the majority of the crop.

    “I have heard a few reports of cloverworms causing minor defoliation in various areas. The same goes for bean leaf beetles, which have been unusually quiet this year.

    “Kudzu bugs are few and far between, and a late freeze knocked back the kudzu and appears to have set back kudzu bug populations. I think it’s a little early yet but start looking for corn earworm infestations in the latest-planted beans – particularly in the river bottoms. They don’t usually show up until August, but it’s not too early to start checking for them.

    “Southwestern corn borers (SWCB) seemed to peak last week in non-Bt corn in our usual hot spots. A very limited number of acres have been treated or still need to be. Don’t assume that you need to treat if you’re growing non-Bt corn. SWCB are a very localized problem in a few areas where growers plant a big part of their crop in non-Bt hybrids.”


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

    “Our latest cotton has just started blooming this week, but most of our crop is in the second or third week of bloom.

    “We have battled plant bugs hard for the past 21 days (as of 7/20), but it seems like they are letting up now. Over the last 14 days, we’ve been fighting spider mites, and they are worse this week than they were last week. A lot of treatments already have gone out this week.

    “Aphids are also moving in on us. I treated three fields yesterday (7/19) with Transform just for aphids, but they were really just getting started in those fields. We’re still a bit out from any fungus developing.

    “The bollworm flight hasn’t materialized yet. We have the numbers in the traps, so we’re just waiting for anything to become obvious in the cotton.

    “We’re still cleaning up weeds in a few fields, and we’ve done a lot of 24- and 32-ounce Pix applications to get everything under control.

    “In soybeans, we have made a lot of fungicide application in the last couple of weeks. We haven’t seen a big moth flight in the beans yet. Most of the beans are at early R3 to R4, and everything is at least in full bloom. The earliest corn is at mid-dent, and the youngest is at milk stage. The youngest corn has 2 to 3 weeks of watering left. I think we’ll be cutting the first of the higher moisture corn in a month.”


    Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist

    “Bollworms are definitely increasing in cotton, even since last week, and more and more treatments are going out. It’s getting late for the corn, so the worms are moving into the cotton heavily now. With the hot, dry weather, that process is going even faster.

    “The hot weather also is pushing plant bugs out of wild hosts and into cotton. Plant bug numbers are really high, and a lot of people are struggling to control them. A few folks said they sprayed but still have plant bugs 5 days later. We’re at the point where the canopies are closing and everyone is trying to gain control before the canopy closes and plant bugs are harder to reach.

    “More calls are coming in about spider mites. Again, the hot, dry weather is a big part of that.

    “A few scattered showers fell today (7/22), and the crops were starting to need it. South Arkansas around Tillar received 1.25 inches and Marianna also got some rain. It rained across the state, but it was really spotty, and everything dries out so quickly at these high temperatures.

    “With rain in the forecast, people are asking about rainfastness. Based on our research, I would encourage everyone to add a surfactant to any insecticide application you make if rain is predicted. It doesn’t matter what kind of surfactant – they all enhance rainfastness, based on our research.

    “When it comes to worm applications like with diamides, I’m not as concerned about rainfastness. As long as those products dry on the plant, they have pretty good rainfastness. But if you’re making plant bug treatments with acephate or Transform, rainfastness is an issue.

    “Both our native and redbanded stink bugs have leveled off in soybeans. Everyone is still seeing redbanded, but the counts are pretty low.

    “We’re hitting treatment level for bollworms in beans from the Louisiana line to Pine Bluff, but they are scattered. The highest count I’ve heard is 15 in 25 sweeps, and threshold is 9. They are most commonly being found in the bottom parts of the fields where water stood and beans didn’t grow off as well. If you’re scouting for them, start there.

    “A huge number of bollworms are still in the corn. We took counts in corn yesterday (7/21) and found 3 to 8 worms per ear. So, this will be a big flight when they cycle out of corn and hit the cotton and soybeans. That could happen in a week or less.

    “The numbers likely will increase in the week of July 27 since our trap catches have bottomed out this week. The next couple of weeks will be big for bollworms.

    “Fall armyworms are increasing in pastures in the south part of the state. It’s worth taking a look if you have Bermuda pastures, for sure.”


    Phillip McKibben, McKibben Ag Services, Mathiston, Mississippi

    “We’ve applied our second pint of Pix on most cotton, and for the most part, it’s in really good shape height-wise and is right where we want it. White flowers are running about seven nodes from the top on most of it. On our strong dryland ground, we might reach six or seven nodes pretty quickly, but we can usually hold it there for three weeks or more.

    “Plant bugs are still light. The fungus has pretty well taken out the aphids.  Enough moisture was around to keep the fungus progressing across fields after the last rains ended. We did spray a field or two for aphids before the fungus came in.

    “I saw maybe two bollworm moths all day yesterday (7/20) and I looked at cotton for most of the day. But in digging through the R4 corn, we’re finding all ages of worms. The bigger worms are on the edge of pupating, so we expect a worm uptick in the next 10 to 14 days.


    “In this part of the state, bollworms develop later than in other areas. Typically, we expect our egg numbers to pick up around July 25, but it looks like we’ll be running about a week or more behind that.

    “Aerial web blight has really taken off in a lot of soybean fields, and we’ve had to spray some soybeans before they reached R3. Frogeye leafspot has started showing up this week as well.”


    Sebe Brown, Louisiana Extension Field Crops Entomologist

    “Total bollworm egg lay in the cotton is definitely increasing this week at the Dean Lee station. People in other parts of the state also are finding more egg lay in cotton, so bollworm activity is up this week for sure.

    “Bollworm moth trap catches are picking up, too. We went through a lull in counts last week, but numbers are shooting up this week.

    “Several people have complained that dual-gene cotton is falling apart all over the state. In certain cases, guys might have been a couple of days late finding the egg lay, so a few worms made it through, and the Bt technology is just not killing the worms.

    “The three-gene cotton is showing some terminal damage around the state, but I have not heard of any outright failures like in the dual-gene. The triple-gene cotton isn’t a silver bullet, but it’s at least working to a degree.

    “I did see some spider mites in cotton earlier this week, but no one has called about any mite issues. As hot and dry as it’s been, spider mites are certainty out there. Overall, mites have been fairly light. But we can expect them to build as more acephate and pyrethroid tank mixes go out for plant bugs.

    “Plant bugs are really bad in certain areas but light in other places. Several consultants tell me they’re at their wits’ end trying to control plant bugs. They’ve thrown everything at them but the kitchen sink, but waves of plant bugs are still migrating from corn into cotton. This year, plenty of our cotton fields are surrounded by corn, so consultants are really fighting hard to maintain square retention.

    “Redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) are picking up in soybeans that are at R5 to R6, and applications are going out.

    “Several people are reporting corn earworms (CEW) in bean fields that surround corn, and some treatment mixes are going out to control CEW and RBSBs. We have more CEW issues in beans this year than usual.

    “We found some green cloverworms, and velvetbean caterpillars are showing up in beans, as well. This is really early for them to be moving in. Soybean looper moths have also been flying around, so the worms seem to all be really early this year.”


    Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist

    “Pest activity picked up quite a bit over the weekend and into this week. Things are running behind, and this is the level of pressure we should have seen at least 7 to 10 days ago (from 7/22).

    “More and more people are finding eggs and flushing a bunch of moths. The eggs are runnint 3% to 4% in places but hitting 15% to 30% in certain locations. Plenty of people have lined up insecticides to go out on worms.

    “Plant bugs also have picked up. In the Delta, the numbers were abnormally low up to this point. Now, the counts are more what we’d consider normal if it were two weeks ago. On drop cloths, immature plant bugs are running 2X to 3X threshold in our plots, with 3 per drop being threshold.

    “Aphids seem to be crashing in more areas now. We’re still finding some, but most people report their numbers declining, either where aphids are crashing or where treatments already went out. The fungus seems to be turning up all over, based on this week’s reports.

    “I am hearing more about spider mites picking up, and treatments are going out, with more being planned. I wouldn’t say that they are terrible yet, but it’s not unexpected to find them now, considering this hot, dry weather. Liberty herbicide provides at least some suppression of spider mites, but those applications wound down a long time ago.

    “In soybeans, stink bugs are picking up, and a number of targeted sprays have gone out for a mix of redbanded, brown and southern green stink bugs. I’ve heard that a few scattered soybean fields were sprayed for bollworms.

    “People are kicking up moths in soybeans, but actually finding the worms in beans sometimes lags behind cotton because it’s hard to see very small worms in a sweep net. In cotton, people are scouting visually and can find the very small ones. This is why it seems there is a short lag in beans compared to cotton. Also, a good many soybean fields are now far enough along that the moths might wont be as interested in laying in them. They prefer flowering beans with open canopies.”

    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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