Southeast Cotton: Pest Management Finally Winds Down

    Karli Stringer, Contributing Editor

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


    The need for insect control is finally coming to an end in the Southeast. Stink bugs are still challenging later-planted cotton, but good weather is encouraging quick maturity and a long-awaited defoliation.



    Ron Smith, Extension Entomologist, Auburn University:

    “We are definitely winding down our insect management programs, except in our late soybeans that still have so many stink bugs. We’ve also had quite a run with defoliators such as loopers and velvet bean caterpillars.

    “Our earliest cotton is beginning defoliation and corn harvest is well underway. In fact, we’re probably more than halfway done, and yields have been excellent. Most cotton that was planted on time has really good yield potential, too.

    “We are really concerned about our later-planted cotton because it is still susceptible to stink bug damage, and now we have white flies, too. Hopefully it is nothing we will have to spray for, but it is a race to maturity. The heat units we’ve accumulated lately have really sped up the maturity of the cotton, so I don’t think it will be much longer of a season.”

    Brandon Phillips, Phillips Ag Services, LLC, Fitzgerald Georgia:

    “I wouldn’t say we’re done quite yet. We still have to keep an eye out for stink bugs, white flies and spider mites in the later-planted cotton. I think about 50% of our cotton is done and is at least 30% to 40% open. We are just holding off on defoliating because I like to have three or four days of sunshine behind us before we defoliate but it looks like we will have some rain for the rest of the week. We will probably kick off defoliating at the beginning of next week.

    “It has been a give-and-take season. I saw some of the early cotton get torn up with boll rot, but the later-planted cotton has fared a lot better. It has been a pretty rough year for plant bugs; we don’t usually deal with a lot of those and some fields this year had to be sprayed twice for them. With stink bugs, we can usually get by with one or two sprays. This year, about 50% of the fields I dealt with needed to be sprayed three times. There was a lot more corn this year and it didn’t come out of the field fast enough, so it was harboring a lot of the stink bugs. We had two migrations of them (once when the corn was drying out and another when corn was cut), so it’s been a heavy year for them, especially for the later cotton.

    “Peanuts are on the front end of digging. We are looking for a pile of peanuts to be dug next week so it looks like they’ll come off at around 140 to 145. The rain next week might slow the progression in maturity, which might delay digging for another three to five days. It’s a really good peanut crop. We do have perfect conditions for late leaf spot and it’s showing up, so we’re being really aggressive with higher quality leaf spot materials. We can’t afford for the weather to cool down, slow maturity and push us out three weeks before we can dig without having protection for the crop.

    “We haven’t had a whole bunch of white molds, but a lot of growers sprayed fungicides earlier every 10 to 12 days. They’ve done great ensuring protection for that kind of stuff. Overall, it’s just an excellent peanut crop.”

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

    “We’re winding down here. We’re optimistic the cotton will yield well, and we’re just trying to keep up the weaker-looking cotton and finish as strong as possible. We’re getting bouts of rain here and there, but it’s nothing too bad. We do need to dry off for harvest, and hopefully we will see some sunshine.

    “If you suspect you have a nematode issue, it’s important to get a sample now so you can battle that in the future.”

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

    “We’re pretty much done with insects in cotton. We do have some areas where the cotton was replanted or planted late, so it’s still susceptible to stink bugs. Other than that, we’re out of the woods on pest management.

    “It has gotten relatively quiet in soybeans. The looper migration really looked like it would be heavy, but they’ve kind of stopped coming in for the most part. I haven’t seen any really heavy spots yet. There are plenty of stink bugs in soybeans, but people aren’t spraying for them. The soybeans are completely loaded with every species of stink bugs if they’ve been neglected and haven’t been scouted and treated.

    “Other than that, I don’t have much to report. We’re at the end of the season for the most part.”

    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

    The Latest

    Send press releases to

    View All Events

    [ecs-list-events limit="5" key="start date" order="asc"]
    Send press releases to

    View All Events