“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.