Cotton – Midsouth – Cleanup Sprays Going Out To Protect Those Last Bolls – AgFax

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    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.


    More cotton has moved past the point of insect susceptibility, and cleanup sprays are going out where growers are protecting the top crop from plant bugs and stink bugs.

    Open bolls are a bit more common in parts of Louisiana this week.

    Bollworm moths are still around, but the flight has subsided and bollworms have had their run in cotton.

    Insects remain active in soybeans. That includes stink bugs and some mix of worms. Redbanded stink bugs are still heading north and are a point of caution in the latter half of August. In places, soybeans have been desiccated and have moved past the point that most insects won’t matter.

    Corn harvest continues, and combines are running farther north this week.



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

    “The last field I just checked (afternoon, 8/17) had the first open boll I’ve seen this year. Granted, it wasn’t in a beautiful spot in the field, but I did find an open boll.

    “Most of our cotton ranges from 150 to 350 DD60s past NAWF 5. We’re cleaning up some late-season plant bugs and have a smattering of bollworms. They weren’t everywhere but a few fields had treatment levels. At 250 DD60’s we’re done with plant bugs and if we are clean at 350 DD60s, we’re finished with bollworms.

    “We do have some give-and-take situations. If a field has a lot of replanted areas, we’ll take it to 350 for plant bugs because that part of the field probably wasn’t represented in sampling.

    “We’re watering like there’s no tomorrow. We missed pretty much every rain that was supposed to come our way.

    “In soybeans, we haven’t had a treatment level of podworms, although some are out there. Loopers moved through, and we’re also seeing green cloverworms. But, again, neither is to the point we would spray. We have our herbicide programs in place now in soybeans. All of our beans this year are late.”


    Phillip McKibben, McKibben Ag Services, Mathiston, Mississippi

    “Most of our cotton has bloomed out the top, and some of it has ‘bolled’ out the top. We are still checking for stinkbug outbreaks, but we believe that we are finished with insect control in all but our latest cotton, which is getting a cleanup plant bug/stinkbug treatment this week.

    “In soybeans, we’re dealing with a wide range of issues. Many fields are similar in maturity and maturity group, but even a minor difference can cause huge differences in the pest complex. We have some fields with very high numbers of green cloverworms and velvetbean caterpillars, while other fields just have a few loopers.  We have had to treat specifically for loopers and podworms in some later beans, and even treated one really late field for beet armyworms.

    “Overall, stinkbugs are really light. However, we are finding redbanded stinkbugs above threshold in about 5 of our fields, and treatments are going out in those fields.

    “I saw my first combine cutting corn today (8/18). We really don’t have any late corn, so harvest should hopefully begin everywhere within the next 10 to 14 days. For now, the weather looks favorable for corn harvest.

    “A tremendous worm complex developed in sweet potatoes over the last 3 weeks. All fields had a mix of soybean loopers, beet armyworms, southern armyworms, yellow striped armyworms, fall armyworms, granulate cutworms and bollworms. We’ve pretty much had to treat all of our sweet potatoes with a worm product. Luckily, we have products that do a great job on those pests.

    “Sweet potatoes seem to attract any moth that’s looking for a place to deposit her eggs.”


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

    “For the most part, the crop looks really good. I saw our first open bolls on August 7. Usually, we find a little open cotton in late July, but this year the crop is pretty late.

    “The insect pressure has been steady but never overwhelming. We are dealing with plant bugs and bollworms, but we are winding down our insect program pretty quickly. Everything will get one last spray.

    “We’ve received several inches of rain this month and are seeing some regrowth on cotton that has already cut out. I think everyone is probably experiencing this, considering the high temperatures and large rainfall amounts. Some pretty big Pix shots will soon go out to cover that.


    “After today (8/17), we will probably start letting some of the cotton go. Our cotton varies greatly between fields and even within fields due to the different soil types within a field. At times, you really have to consider if it’s worth spraying. Right now, our main concern isn’t applying an insecticide. The overriding thing is making sure that Pix application goes out. In these conditions, cotton has taken off and is growing from the tops.”


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

    “Most of the cotton was planted in early- to mid-May, and it’s past cutout. That cotton will need to be protected from insects for another 10 to 14 days. I’ve seen a couple of dryland fields with bolls opening.

    “I’m cautiously optimistic about this crop. There’s quite a bit of time until we pick it, so boll rot and other issues are still of concern. Once we take the leaves off, we’ll really know what we have. 

    “One guy told me earlier that he would start cutting rice this week. But if anyone has cut any rice in the northeast Delta, it’s been very little. We are probably still three weeks away from really getting into rice harvest.

    “Most of the soybeans I’ve looked at have a tremendous pod set. We have had to treat once or twice for alfalfa hoppers, which for us is an occasional pest. Those applications, I suspect, helped beat back stink bugs. But just in the last week, a mix of redbanded and browns and greens have showed up.

    “Overall, we’ve treated very little for stink bugs. But most of the beans I’m talking about are at R6, so in two weeks or so they’ll be physiologically mature.

    “Treatments for loopers are also going out. In the last week, their numbers really exploded.”


    Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee

    “People are cutting loose quite a bit of cotton, and we have probably let go of over a third of our fields. Another 50% will go next week, then the remainder will follow. After next week, my comments will solely focus on soybeans.

    “This week, we are starting to focus on our later-maturing cotton fields, and they are catching up very well with the higher temperatures. We have a fair amount of later cotton that will need to be scouted until the end of the month for bollworms and in some cases for stink bugs and plant bugs.

    “The Bollgard II is receiving a few sprays for bollworms, but other than that we really aren’t seeing any widespread issues. Our moth flight is really just now in full swing, but a lot of our cotton is past being susceptible. Also, this is not a huge moth flight.

    “The Bollgard II is holding up pretty well in most places, and the applications that have been made for bollworm are performing as expected.

    “In soybeans, we’re still dealing with a mix of caterpillars, including yellowstriped armyworms, fall armyworms, green cloverworms and corn earworms, among others. Stink bugs are starting to build in the earlier soybeans. Treatments are going out for various pests, including stink bugs.

    “In the next week, we should start harvesting corn. Corn harvest creates a big distraction from scouting beans, but people really need to pay attention to beans. We will have to scout the later maturing beans until the end of September, so stay alert for loopers and stink bugs.

    “All that said, we’re not seeing any major widespread issues in soybeans. Insect pressure has actually been fairly light across all of our crops, but there are always exceptions.

    “We need rain. Depending on the location, a lot of the later-planted cotton and soybeans are in desperate need. Lack of rain on some of the later crops is probably our number one issue right now. Bad spots in some fields are turning brown and dying. It’s hard to look at that when we’re so close to the finish line.

    “We don’t have much sorghum planted, but a number of people have called about sugarcane aphids (SCA) in sorghum, and they were causing a lot of damage in some cases. It can be a devastating pest, and in my untreated plots at Milan, the SCA are killing the plants. Sivanto and Transform are the only two insecticides I recommend for this pest.”


    Tucker Miller, Ind. Consultant, Drew, Mississippi

    “Cotton is cutting out well, and this week I let go of some of the first May-planted cotton. Worms are under control, but plant bug sprays are still going out this week. Except for the Bollgard 3, all the cotton has had two worm treatments, and we are done spraying worms. 

    “It looks like the crop is running out of fertilizer due to the amount of rain this year, and it’s turning a little yellow. Overall, though, I think we’ve done well.

    “I was looking at a field today (8/17) where we’ve pulled the pipe to avoid the temptation to water it anymore. I don’t like watering cotton in the row at this point in the season because you run the risk of rain also setting in, which leads to rotting.

    “In beans, we’ve sprayed a couple of areas around Greenwood and as far north as Glendora for redbanded stink bugs (RBSB). In some cases, beans are far enough along that we’ve doubled thresholds on native stink bug species. We are going to hold off on any more sprays to see if the RBSB eases farther north.

    “About two weeks ago, we sprayed loopers. However, we are not seeing many pest issues in soybeans now.

    “My guys in Glendora will start cutting corn on Wednesday (8/19). I’m sure cutting is underway farther south.”


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

    “We’ve already let go of some of the early-planted cotton, about 10% of the total acreage. Overall, we’re letting cotton go in three waves. Last week marked the first wave with that 10%. Next week, we’ll drop 70%, and we’ll continue checking the remaining 20% or so until around September 1.

    “Sprays are still going out for plant bugs, mites and bollworms on much of the crop. Most of the cotton has had a diamide application in the last two weeks, so the worms are under control. Our focus is now on cleaning up late-season plant bugs and mites.

    “We’re watering much of the cotton for the last couple of times this season. The end is in sight. 

    “We are just starting to drain the earliest-planted rice, so not many fields have been drained yet. Our rice ranges from hard dough all the way to several really late-planted fields that are just beginning to head.

    “So, there’s still a decent amount of time until we start cutting even the oldest rice. I’ll probably begin salting it in two weeks, which means it’ll be at least three weeks before we begin cutting any rice here.

    “Rice stink bugs have been extremely low this year. 

    “A lot of soybean fields are on the last watering. Soybeans range widely, from late R5 to late R2, but the majority of our acres are in or near R5.

    “We’ve been fighting bollworms pretty hard in soybeans over the past couple of weeks, but they are mostly under control. We are on the tail end of a bollworm flight, but we are still kicking up a lot of moths. We found 1- to 2-day-old bollworms in some beans today (8/17). Although we didn’t treat any beans today, the bollworms will likely be at treatment level in places next week.

    “Green cloverworms (GCW) are extremely heavy this year. I don’t think I had ever sprayed GCWs in my life, but we had to treat a bunch this year. Every year one pest seems to have ‘its year’ – and 2020 was the year for green cloverworms.

    “Although they aren’t hard to control, we saw fields with 300% to 400% GCWs, and we sprayed several fields for them. When you get 30 to 40 worms in 10 sweeps, you have to spray it.

    “Stink bugs have not been an issue in soybeans yet. We treated a few fields for green and brown stink bugs, but redbanded stink bugs haven’t been an issue. 

    “Our corn is completely done, and I don’t have a corn field left. We did start cutting corn this weekend (8/15-16), and yields have been extremely good. Even after compensating for 15.5% moisture, it’s still a very good crop. Hopefully, it will be a good year for corn overall.

    “Over the past couple of weeks, we have also gotten bollworms under control in peanuts. We’ll probably start the last fungicide next week, but right now we’re just waiting for worms to build back up and we are evaluating the status of diseases. With a few exceptions, our leaf spots aren’t too bad, and our white mold control is better than normal.”


    Sebe Brown, Louisiana Extension Field Crops Entomologist

    “We’re starting to see light at the end of the tunnel for a lot of our cotton acres, and people are cutting loose plenty of this cotton. The main thing now in many fields is making that one last cleanup spray, primarily for plant bugs and stink bugs.

    “Unfortunately, many growers have maxed out their budgets and won’t make that last cleanup application. Outside of defoliating, they have done everything they can and are forced to back away.

    “Plant bugs are moving to the top of plants. They are following the fruit, which we’d expect. Guys with cotton at 3 to 4 NAWF are really trying to make a last shot to protect that top crop.


    “In central Louisiana, we received 1.2 inches of rain last week, and the entire state mostly got at least a little rain, with 3 to 4 inches falling in certain areas. We’re not dealing with spider mites now, and I’m sure the rain played a role in decreasing those numbers.

    “Aphids have flared up in places, but it’s nothing out of control. We saw a little bollworm moth flight at the Dean Lee Research Station this week. We caught 37 moths, which is a decent number for this time of the year. Hopefully, this is the tail end of bollworms for 2020, and the egg lay has all but dried up statewide.

    “The rain was welcomed where soybeans are finishing up.

    “In soybeans, defoliators are establishing a bigger footprint across Louisiana. More and more people are calling about soybean loopers. In places, they’re at threshold, but with the majority of these reports, counts are running 33% to 50% of threshold. Pretty much everyone with beans between R5 and R6 is expecting to make a looper application.

    “Velvetbean caterpillars (VBC) are still hanging around. They aren’t too big of an issue since any spray for stink bugs will also take care of VBC. But they can build to damaging populations, and several people have made dedicated VBC sprays. A few people say that they have never seen this many VBC moths flying around their fields.

    “Green cloverworms are also still here. But, again, stink bug sprays will take them out.

    “Soybeans really need to be protected a little longer. Once they reach R6.5, you can cut them loose. Stink bugs are still there, but numbers seem to have relaxed a little. A lot of the beans are turning, so guys are moving forward with a desiccant application in those fields.

    “As people let go of more soybeans, it’s critical to closely scout those remaining acres because stink bugs will congregate in later fields. Once beans really start podding, anticipate making an application.”


    Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist

    “A large portion of our cotton is past the point of pest susceptibility. In a few cases, we are still dealing with lingering plant bugs and egg laying. However, it seems like more consultants are dropping more cotton everyday now. 

    “In soybeans, redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) have been the major concern for the past three weeks, and numbers continue to rise. The farthest north I’ve heard of RBSBs treatments is around Quitman County (as of 8/19). 

    “Some fields have been sprayed twice for RBSB, while in other locations people are just lining up the first application. We have treated a fairly large percentage of our acres for RBSBs – particularly in the south Delta and in the hills. We’re preparing to deal with them in anything that will still be green in the foreseeable future.

    “We already have started desiccating some beans, so the later-planted beans are really becoming a target for RBSBs. More beans are lined up to be desiccated, which further creates ‘green islands’ of susceptible beans. Issues with RBSBs will only increase in the coming weeks.

    “Loopers are becoming more widespread and are hitting threshold in more places. Some fields are thick with loopers, but in other areas they are just now increasing.

    “Temperatures dropped into the mid-60s this week, which sometimes sets off the natural looper virus. I’m not certain temperatures fell enough to trigger the virus, and it will take a week or so to see if the virus develops. As of now, we’re scouting and treating like normal.

    “In Mississippi, a huge part of our beans are planted early and a big portion of our crop is way past the point that bollworms matter.”

    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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