Southeast Cotton: Dealing with Insects and Scoping Out Storm Damage

    Cotton lint blown to the ground by Hurricane Michael. Photo: Andrew Sawyer, University of Georgia

    Karli Stringer, Contributing Editor

    Here is this week’s issue of AgFax Southeast Cotton, sponsored by the Southern Cotton Team of AMVAC.


    The Southeast is examining crops after Hurricane Ida made her landfall.

    Growers are still fighting stink bugs in a battle for yield potential.



    Jennifer Bearden, Extension Agricultural Agent, Okaloosa County, Florida:

    “I’ve talked to a couple of my bigger growers and it looks like we fared pretty well. If the sun will come out and dry us up a little bit, we should be able to do really well.

    “It looks like the peanuts were able to be sprayed before the storm so that helped protect them during all the rain. The rainfall that we did get is not great because the cotton bolls are opening. They were a little blown over but not laid on the ground completely, so it looks like we’re going to be able to pull out of it with a pretty decent crop.

    “I think we were pretty lucky as far as the storm goes. It looks like everything is on track for us and we will just keep moving forward. Hopefully things will stay on our side.”

    Jeremy Greene, Clemson University Entomologist, Blackville, South Carolina:

    “The insects in cotton are basically down to stink bugs at this point. Most of the cotton is past bollworm pressure and it seems the numbers in traps are down. If there is any late planted, 2-gene cotton, it may still be in danger, but for the most part it’s just stink bugs. Our growers really have done a great job with control all season anyways, but it is winding down.


    “In the soybeans, there’s a lot of activity. We have velvet bean caterpillars, looper caterpillars, just a lot of caterpillars and a lot of stink bugs out there. There are a lot of bugs trying to eat. I’d just say that with prices the way they are, growers should be relatively aggressive in protection.”

    Ron Smith, Extension Entomologist, Auburn University:

    “We probably need to recognize that the season is winding down, but it’s also important to know we are a little later than normal and there’s potential for needing control in some areas for another three weeks. I really want to address the hurricane that came through, but I haven’t gotten enough feedback yet to know how it affected the cotton. We will definitely have a better picture of that by next week.

    “As far as the cotton, there is still a lot of young fruit left. I don’t even know if we will have time to mature it. If the cotton was planted in the normal window, the yield potential looks really good. I’m just hoping the storm didn’t mess that up, and I hope there isn’t another one coming soon. There’s lots of young fruit still left.

    “The insect that we need to keep watching for is the stink bug. We’re almost to the end of the time where a bloom can make a boll, and bolls need to be protected for about 25 days. So, we still have about three weeks left in some cotton to protect against stink bugs. There are definitely some stink bugs still in these fields, so we need to pay attention. I’d say we’ve done a good job in this area of controlling them, but this later cotton just still needs protection.

    “The only other pest out there is spider mites. Even with all of this rain, we still have pockets of spider mites in some fields. They are so intense they’re causing defoliation in those areas. I just don’t know that we’d be justified to spray for them. The damage is already done, and there aren’t enough still there to really need the spray.


    “In soybeans, we are seeing from the Gulf Coast and up to around central Alabama that fields either have or have the potential to have dangerous levels of velvet bean caterpillars. They are pretty easy to control, but we need to be careful not to give up more than 25% of the foliage.

    “Some fields also have damaging levels of red banded stink bugs, and that will continue until harvest. It’s just important to be aware and treat the fields accordingly.”

    Sally Taylor, Virginia Tech Extension Entomologist, Tidewater REC:

    “The cotton is pretty much done here. We’ve seen a few worms in the 2-gene cotton but that isn’t uncommon. It’s to the point where I don’t think we should spray or protect, and even in areas where we are finding bugs, it’s still relatively low numbers. The plants just aren’t as attractive to pests anymore.

    “The podworms in soybeans are still underwhelming and I haven’t seen many soybean loopers in high numbers. We do have a lot of fall armyworms in grasses; I think the storm pushed those up here. There’s just not much activity in soybeans yet, and I’m really trying to push a focus on corn for now.”

    AgFax Southeast Cotton is published by AgFax Media LLC
    Ernst Undesser, 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: Farm Journal, 8725 Rosehill Rd., Suite 200, Lenexa, KS 66215
    ©2021 AgFax Media LLC


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