AgFax Midsouth Cotton - Louisiana

By AgFax Media LLC, AgFax.com

OVERVIEW  

Bollworm moths and eggs are becoming more obvious through a large part of the region. More treatments are being made, at least in the southern portion of the Midsouth.

Treatments continue to varying degrees for plant bugs, aphids and spider mites. We are mostly hearing about hot spots and localized situations, not widespread issues.

Where possible, growers are catching up on field work and spraying after more rain put things on hold. Parts of the region have dried out enough that irrigation pumps have come to life for the first time this year, but showers are in the forecast through a wide area into next week.

LOUISIANA CROP REPORTS

Sebe Brown, Northeast Louisiana Region Extension Entomologist

"We still have quite a large number of bollworm eggs in the environment and are still in the midst of a moth flight. We're finding more and more eggs every day, too.

"The regular WideStrike cotton is still the weaker of the Bt systems with bollworms. If you have those varieties, scout closely. Let me emphasize, this is the regular WideStrike, not WideStrike 3. Other technologies, including WideStrike 3, seem to be holding up.

"Plant bugs are hit or miss. We still have hot spots and people are spraying, but it's nothing crazy. Some growers have gotten away with spraying only once or twice. But in worst cases, 4 or 5 applications have gone out. These seem to be places influenced by alternate hosts or where corn is drying down.

"Mites are beginning to show up, just scattered occurrences, and no reports of treatments.

"Rainfall has varied. Areas from Alexandria south and areas north of Interstate 20 have received ample amounts lately, even drenchings. But little or no rain has fallen (as of 7/11) between Alexandria an I-20 in the last 2 weeks. A lot of that cotton is being irrigated now.

"Aphids are still hanging on where they haven't been taken out by plant bug sprays, and this hot, dry weather is fostering mites. Guys are finding them on field edges. No treatments to my knowledge.

"Corn earworms are showing up in R1 to R3 soybeans. It's nothing drastic, and three-cornered alfalfa hoppers are present, too.

"We're starting to deal with more red banded stink bug (RBSB) pressure, especially after soybeans hit R5. Scout closely. If possible, check twice a week since they can sneak up on you in a hurry. We're finding a few loopers, at least in the northern part of the state. At this point in the year, they're probably cabbage loopers, not soybean loopers, and are easier to take out."

Hank Jones, C&J Ag Consulting, Pioneer, Louisiana

"We've had a good run of hotter, drier weather and this finally looks like a cotton crop. A few acres are lagging, but even those fields are catching up. Right now (7/11) we're trying to set things up for water.

"We're into a big run of bollworms this week, maybe some of the highest numbers found in bloom tags in the last several years, regardless of the technology. So, we're spraying for worms, cleaning up plant bugs, putting out Diamond and getting Pix out before we begin irrigating cotton.

"I'm trying to set up this crop so that we can keep it going longer. Compared to states to our north, we have more flexibility in terms of stretching out the season. Several of my clients this year haven't grown cotton in a number of seasons, so I'm re-educating them on the approach we need to take with Pix.

"We're now into the real nuts and bolts of crop management. Most of our cotton is 10 days into bloom, with a couple of thousand acres right before bloom.

"In soybeans, we've started spraying for red-banded stink bugs (RBSB), primarily north of Interstate 20. That sounds kind of weird that we're not treating south of the interstate, even though this insect develops from south to north. But the heavier numbers north of I-20 probably have something to do with the availability of alternate hosts. That might include clover patches, which may not be as abundant to the south. One thing we've learned is that it's time to aggressively scout beans for RBSB at R5.5.

"We've finished watering corn. Most all of it is at the half-starch-line phase or beyond. I imagine that some corn here will be cut in the first week of August. It's an excellent crop, too."

Harold Lambert, Independent Consultant, Innis, Louisiana

"Some areas yesterday (7/9) received more rain. One spot picked up about 4 inches in 90 minutes and it's raining through the area right now. With all the rain, farmers have done hardly any spraying lately. About 2 months ago our moisture situation was about as perfect as you could want, but it's been anything but perfect since then.

"In cotton, we have plant bugs under control, at least for the time being. Plant growth regulators are the big question mark. In places, plant bugs moved out of corn and into cotton, but the weather prevented us from timely spraying. So, we lost some early squares at the bottom of plants. We're not as worried about those from a yield standpoint since a lot of the early bolls hard lock anyway. But even where we still have good retention, growth management has been a challenge.

"Quite a bit of our corn is at or near black layer, and I'm not sure what the effect of all this moisture will be where corn isn't drying down in a timely manner. Our oldest beans are about halfway between R6 and R7, and a few early fields have just had a second spray for stink bugs. On the east side of Avoyelles Parish, we've encountered tremendous bollworm pressure in beans. A lot of those acres have been sprayed and more will be as conditions allow."