Texas West Plains Cotton: Keep Irrigation Running, Sample Soils for Nematodes

    Photo: Chuck Wilbur, Crop Consultant, Texas-Oklahoma

    For most, August has been another long hot, dry month. Very few were fortunate enough to receive any measurable precipitation. Most all cotton has bolled to the top and has accumulated enough heat units (400) since 5 nodes above white flower (~August 5th) to make cotton safe from most insect pests.

    However, and there is always a “however”, cotton aphids would be one that could be there till near the bitter end. I have not seen cotton aphids since July and have not had reports from elsewhere of cotton aphid issues. Weedy areas, especially in adjacent fallow areas, may be harboring various pests such as armyworms and webworms. Include those areas in your scouting to make certain damage is not occurring to not only cotton but other crops.

    Reports of high numbers of grasshoppers have also been received from pastures adjacent to crop land.

    I might suggest pivot irrigation go at least until September 4th on cotton, then shut down and see what weather holds. Forecast indicates cooler temps after this date and possible increase in rain chances. Drip irrigation consider shutting down over Labor Day weekend; then plan to start back up for another 10-14 days unless weather changes dramatically. We are still using 1-1.5” water per week at this time.

    Now is a great time to take soil samples for nematode analysis while we are still irrigating and can get a shovel in the ground. Pull 20 composite samples from a uniform portion of a field for one sample. You will need about a pint of soil (500cc).

    Take samples from the fibrous root zone no more than 8” from the cotton stalk and no more than 8” deep. Keep samples cool and out of the sun. There are local labs which can analyze this soil. Call if questions.

    In peanuts we continue to closely monitor for foliage diseases and pod health. Current weather pattern continues to suppress diseases. We are still filling pods and need 1-1.4” irrigation per week. After Labor Day then a 0.5 – 1” irrigation on a weekly basis should be sufficient to prevent severe wilt and to maintain vine health till harvest.

    Grain sorghum acres are all over the board in terms of growth and development. You should be at least well into boot to have time to fully mature. Those fields which are past flowering and into soft dough should be monitored for head worms. I have seen a few colonies of sugarcane aphids in Hockley, Lamb, and Cochran counties. Continue to scout frequently and treat when necessary.

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