By AgFax Media LLC, AgFax.com
Plant bug counts and applications are increasing through much of our coverage area, particularly in early planted fields. The pace will likely pick up as more cotton begins squaring over the next week or so. No runaway situations are being reported. In scattered locations plant bugs have built to threshold levels in pre-squaring cotton.
Aphids have become more apparent over the last week and more treatments have been going out. They have been building on both small and squaring plants, with heavy populations in certain cases. In places the numbers have declined without treatments.
Cotton planting continues in scattered locations but only a few more acres will likely be added to the total. Seep water is still taking out some cotton in parts of northeast Arkansas.
Rains continue to hold up herbicide and fertilizer applications in parts of the region. More dicamba drift is being reported.
LOUISIANA CROP REPORTS
Hank Jones, C&J Ag Consulting, Pioneer, Louisiana
"My cotton ranges from 2- to 13-leaf plants, and I expect blooms by June 25 if the weather cooperates. We've finally had a good run of weather – 3 to 4 days of sunshine and today (6/12) we saw our first 90-degree high.
"Cotton is sure trying to grow. Where it is hurting, plants suffered from poor root development due to wet weather. Some has 6 leaves but is only 5 inches tall, so it definitely needs hot weather. With enough hot weather we can push the crop. It's nothing we can't overcome and nothing we haven't done before.
"We didn't lose any cotton to floods or other weather. Wind damage was evident. Cotton looked terrible but it was still putting on good leaves in the terminal.
"Pix applications started on our oldest cotton and we've had to spray a few fields for plant bugs, nothing really serious yet. But as that 6- to 7-leaf cotton puts on squares in the next 10 days, I expect a flush of plant bugs everywhere.
"We monitored a pretty good run of aphids last week. We didn't have to spray but they were there. It was widespread and didn't matter which parish we were in or whether cotton was older or younger. But we may have found that flush just before beneficials came in. When we see aphids, the ants and ladybugs soon follow, so they may have been at work before our next round of scouting.
"Rains may have helped wash them off, too, and the fungus may have worked on them, as well. All I know for sure is that we're finding far fewer aphids this week.
"Retention is good. We're a little behind on cleaning up weeds and applying fertilizer but we're slowly but surely getting it done one field at a time.
"I have some beans at R3 and we're starting our fungicide program. No insects yet. I swept 800 to 900 times today (6/12) on one farm and hardly found anything.
"Corn has really thrived in this wet weather. Some will likely be in dough next week. With this much rain, we've probably avoided 3 irrigations. Most everybody watered once. If we miss rain today, we'll kick in the wells tomorrow."
Sebe Brown, Northeast Louisiana Region Extension Entomologist
"More plant bug applications are going out. We've had sunshine and warmer temperatures, so cotton is visibly moving along. Some of the oldest cotton is a week or so from bloom (as of 6/13).
"That's pushing folks to make a fair amount of tarnished plant bug application to bring them under control, especially in our hot spots. Cotton aphids are starting to pick up, mainly in drier areas in northeast Louisiana.
"A really large bollworm flight came through and we're seeing the results of that in corn. Pretty much every ear we've sampled had injury or a worm in it. That seems to be the case through much of the Midsouth and even into Texas. This may be a little earlier than normal for bollworms, and that may be due to a warmer winter. This indicates that we could encounter more bollworms in other crops later."
Harold Lambert, Independent Consultant, Innis, Louisiana
"For the last 4 weeks we've been in a weather pattern with far too much rain. Some cotton has yet to be planted on heavier ground and as of this afternoon (6/12) it probably will shift to soybeans.
"In most fields we haven't been able to apply herbicides in a timely manner. This has been very frustrating for my growers. Most everything has had to go out by air, and the applicators have been running behind.
"Most of our cotton is either out of the thrips stage or about to be. We haven't had much trouble from thrips, which I guess is a side benefit from the rain. Some of our early cotton is at 9 to 10 nodes and on part of that we've put out a plant bug spray and also a little growth regular. In terms of treatments, that's about it.
"If we fall back into dry weather, we face a risk of aphid problems. I'm seeing enough to be concerned. They're not really doing anything to the crop but they are certainly out there. I can only imagine what will happen if dry weather comes along to help them out.
"Conditions were actually very favorable up until about 4 weeks ago – mild temperatures and timely rains. We couldn't have asked for better. And we've seen worse starts to a crop, with years when no rain fell in April or May and temperatures were so hot you could hardly touch light textured soils.
"A lot of those hot, dry starts were in the late 1990s and into the early 2000s. But in the 1980s we had more seasons like this with persistent rain. I recall that 1984 was a particularly wet year and the next year was almost as bad."