Texas Plains Cotton: Dryland Fields Mostly Gone, Pests Quiet but Some Sneaking In

    General Status

    With the fate of most of the borderline failing fields finally determined via insurance, we have been able to focus better on the well being of our surviving fields. Almost all of these fields in the area are irrigated. Dryland fields might not be mentioned here for the remainder of the season although a few in the area are still hanging on somewhere just above the permanent wilting point.

    The remaining fields are making good progress, rushing through developmental stages rapidly so long as soil moisture is available. A few more pests are creeping into our scouting data sets, but nothing is widespread yet despite some threats out there to keep us on our scouting toes.

    Overall I am pretty pleased with weed control but there are some serious battles ongoing with unrelenting weed pressure and a hot, tough to kill weeds environment


    Our Plains Pest Management program cotton ranged in stage from 2nd true leaf stage and ½ grown square stage this week. We do have a fair number of fields with good chances to reach 1st bloom by July 4th. The bulk of our fields are somewhere between pinhead and match-head square and should see a more average 1st bloom date that will be a few weeks out.

    More on Cotton

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    Fleahoppers were again our main concern this week with just a few fields still at risk from thrips. Very few thrips were found on the later fields. Meanwhile, our fleahopper numbers steadily increased again this week with around 60% of our field having some level of the pest present. No field reached ET for us this week with our highest population in both plant bugs and fruit loss showed the equivalent of 7.9% terminals infested with a square drop of 9.8% during the 3rd week of squaring.

    Most infested fields came in with the equivalent of 2.4% infested terminals and less than 5% fruit drop during the 2nd week of squaring. We also picked up a couple of fields with solitary Lygus in our data sets and one field with a stink bug. Both of which could damage cotton if populations increase. We do expect to be forced into treating a few fields for fleahoppers, or other plant bugs in a mix, in at least a few fields over the next few weeks.

    Corn & Sorghum

    This week our only PPM corn field ranges between V11 and V13 with water patterns while our sorghum reached V10. We are yet to encounter any pests of note in our sorghum which includes the sugarcane aphid, now properly renamed the sorghum aphid, and fall armyworms. This could change at any moment with FAW trap numbers being high and sorghum aphids located as near as Lubbock this last week.

    In our corn, I did note light FAW feeding on non-Bt refuge plants but the issue still did not seem as severe as the trap catches indicate the pressure could be. In our corn we also noted Banks grass mites moving in and establishing colonies on most lower leaves around field margins and moving across the field rapidly from there. Our overall rating for this field was 0.75 this week on the 0-10 Texas A&M BGM Rating scale with 3.5-4 being economic.

    This was a mix of data sets with 1-2 ratings along the field margins that decreased eventually to zero towards the center of the field. There is a very high probability that in this heat and drought stress that once this field reaches tassel stage the BGM would rapidly develop into a treatable issue quickly.

    In our Texas Corn Producers corn pest traps we are running this year, we also found 2 southwestern corn borer moths at Cotton Center and 1 at Center Plains. We also had 1 western bean cutworm at Center Plains.

    Again our traditional location for our bollworm moth traps, held in the same location for almost 12 years now, and our Texas Corn Producers corn pest bollworm (corn earworm) traps tell a very different story from each other. Our traditional traps are located nowhere near any corn this year, while the smaller corn traps are very near some of the area’s few corn fields. I expect these moths are sinking into the mostly whorl stage corn, most of it Bt, without economic impact.

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