By AgFax Media LLC, AgFax.com
Bollworm pressure has subsided in parts of the Midsouth but increased in other areas.
Plant bugs continue to be relatively light. Our contacts over the last couple of weeks have used words like "strange" and "eerie" to describe the lack of plant bugs at this point in the year.
Spider mites are still active in places, even with persistent rains. Note comments about mites by Scott Stewart.
A rainy pattern is in the forecast into next week through much of our coverage area. So far, most people report relatively light levels of target spot and bacterial blight, although wetter weather could favor disease pressure. According to one report Thursday, 10 inches of rain had already fallen this week in an area in Mississippi's south Delta.
LOUISIANA CROP REPORTS
Sebe Brown, Northeast Louisiana Region Extension Entomologist
"Cotton is progressing along pretty well and a lot of fields around the state are starting to cut out. Worms are still out there and we can find some eggs, but it's nothing as bad as a couple of weeks ago.
"Plant bug numbers are fairly light. Several people, in fact, have commented about how light plant bug pressure was for them this year. A lot of guys made it through with fewer sprays than last year.
"Mites have kind of faded away with all this rain. Last week it rained 2 inches in a lot of areas and some places this week have caught 3 to 4 inches (as of 8/8). More rain is in the forecast for the rest of this week and into next week, so we're definitely saturated.
"With all the rain and cloudy conditions, we are seeing square loss. But plants do have a good load as it is. I'm just hoping this doesn't shape up like last year – a beautiful crop but boll rot took it away. We're finding open bolls around the state now.
"Soybean loopers are starting to move into beans, and some treatments have gone out. I haven't heard of any insecticide failures with loopers. They did come in early, maybe by a couple of weeks, and we can find them from the top to the bottom of the state. In particular, we normally don't see them this soon in north Louisiana.
"Redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) are hit or miss. Guys who let them go last year and got burned are very aggressive in 2017. They're taking action as RBSB reach or approach threshold. I think that will go a long way towards suppressing RBSB pressure."
Hank Jones, C&J Ag Consulting, Pioneer, Louisiana
"Rain has been somewhat spotty but plenty has fallen in places. On some farms in East Carroll Parish they've measured 3 to 4 inches since last Friday. In general, the area I work has received 1.5 to 2.5 inches, at least in spots. The bulk of the rain has been north of Interstate 20 (as of 8/8).
"This is looking a little like the beginning of what we saw with all the rain last year. More is in the forecast, so we're about to be really wet.
"Cotton looks pretty good. We had to treat some regular WideStrike with a second shot of Prevathon. Plant bugs are relatively moderate, and we really haven't had to battle them on a wide basis this year. Maybe all the rain prevented them from establishing heavy populations.
"I guess there's been an industry-wide push to regulate plant height, and I'm not checking that many acres of rank cotton. I'm also not seeing problem levels of target spot and bacterial blight like we had last year – at least not yet. But with this weather pattern, disease could blow up over the next several days
"Corn harvest was going wide open ahead of the rain. Most guys in Tensas Parish were averaging 200 bu/acre on some earlier varieties, but we're not yet into the later varieties that tend to yield better. I haven't heard of anything under 200, which is phenomenal for us. This could be a record corn year in our area.
"If corn was irrigated, it was only watered once or twice. With one client, I calculated that he skipped 5 irrigations.
"In soybeans, we're running wide open to try to kill redbanded stink bugs (RBSB). They're moving in big numbers as early planted beans dry down and are going to the next greenest field. I'll be chasing around after RBSB for the rest of the season. I feel a bit like Wile E. Coyote trying to catch the Road Runner.
"A few treatments went out for loopers but the bulk of my beans are around R6. Those fields are far enough along that we'll let it ride.
"The National Weather Service says daytime highs could be 5 to 10 degrees below average for the rest of the month. That will put the brakes on crop development across the board. We need sunshine and heat. We need it to be August."
Harold Lambert, Independent Consultant, Innis, Louisiana
"It continues to be too wet here. It's rained somewhere every day. Big rains came through yesterday (8/7) and more is expected today. We're finding quite a bit of target spot in some cotton and are seeing a lot of small bolls being shed.
"I've come across what's either bronze wilt or potassium deficiency. This cotton is far enough along that I don't know if we'll do anything. The roots are worn out from saturated conditions. We're past the effective bloom period and square production has tapered off for a variety of reasons.
"We haven't had bollworm pressure like areas north of us. I haven't detected enough slippage or pressure to justify an overspray. Where we've treated lately, it's been bifenthrin and acephate, mainly for brown stink bugs.
"Paraquat went out on some early beans. In the last couple of weeks, velvetbean caterpillars built in a huge way and we treated. We're on our second stink bug spray in soybeans. It's been a mix of species, although with the second application the percentage of redbanded were a bigger part of the mix. No matter what we apply, that first spray always separates out the species that are harder to control.
"Corn harvest is ongoing – and with a great deal of frustration due to the weather. A lot of fields have been persistently wet enough that equipment can't run. Last week we did catch a window when rain in the forecast failed to develop. Yields averaged 180 to 225 bu/acre. For growers, it was like an emotional experience to finally be able to run those combines."