By AgFax Media LLC, AgFax.com
Heavy rains fell in parts of the Midsouth, starting late last week. Amounts of 2 to 4 inches were common, although totals of 6 to 12 inches fell in spots. Not surprisingly, boll rot and hard locking are turning up.
Treatments for worms and/or plant bugs continue in the very latest cotton.
More bolls are opening. We've heard no confirmed reports of defoliation starting, although it seems to be at hand. Forecasts for rain last week might have put early treatments on hold.
Ashley Peters, Peters Crop Consulting, Crowville, Louisiana:
"We've had rain but generally got off light compared to other parts of the Delta. Over the past 5 days (from 8/20), we've had 60% to 80% chances but had only received a few tenths in places. But then 2.5 inches fell yesterday and last night in places.
"At this point with the cotton, we sure didn't need rain. Nobody has started defoliating cotton yet, although some applications may begin in dryland cotton late this week or early next week. Some of the earliest-planted fields are maybe 25% to 30% open and perhaps more than that in spots. With popup showers last week, cotton won't be pretty where it was open.
"We're nearly finished with treatments. We have one field of June-planted cotton. The grower said something about spraying for plant bugs. I said he could if he wanted to, but he'd have to spray it every week at this point since it's the only attractive thing left in that area. I've got a few more fields like that.
"Our corn crop is decent but probably not as good as last year's. A couple of irrigated fields on better dirt have averaged 220 to 230 bu/acre. Dryland corn suffered. Also, you can tell where irrigation started too late or ended too soon. None of my soybeans have been cut yet (as of 8/20) but harvest aid applications have been going out."
Steve Schutz, Ind. Consultant, Coushatta, Louisiana:
"We moved into wetter weather – showers off and on. But we've gone for a week now (as of 8/21) without rain, and that's good. On Monday (8/27), we will probably start defoliating about half of the cotton I work.
"This has been an interesting year with the low insect pressure we've had. Parts of the crop could have used more rain but most of the rains we did receive were pretty timely.
"In places, we still have soft bolls. That makes me nervous and I'm still looking for worms. We're not doing anything right now in terms of insects and our last spray was at least 2 weeks ago.
"In corn, we're about to finish harvest. The hot, dry conditions had an effect. Even in irrigated corn, the yields were pretty disappointing. Yields generally range from 60 to 160 bu/acre. Between low yields and hog damage, several growers say they won't plant corn next year.
"This corn crop started out in a less-than-desirable way. Germination was uneven and stands weren't uniform. Instead of most corn emerging in 2 to 3 days, it may have taken 2 weeks for everything to come up, and that's usually a tell-tail sign of how the year will go.
"We've already cut some burned-up soybeans. Needless to say, they didn't do well.
"Velvetbean caterpillars are relentless in beans. No big ones have made it through, so we are controlling them, but that's meant spraying 3 or 4 times. We've had issues with wash-off, even 2 or 3 days after treatments. I've seen a little better rainfastness and a little better kill, I think, with the branded pyrethroids this year. Over the winter, I'm going to talk with my growers about going with products next year that have longer residual."
Sebe Brown, Northeast Louisiana Region Extension Entomologist:
"Cotton is moving along very quickly and bolls are cracking in a lot more fields. I suspect that defoliation has started in some of the earliest fields, those planted in mid to late April, probably more so in central Louisiana.
"In late cotton, we're still dealing with plant bugs in the occasional field but a lot more cotton is being cut loose. Egg laying is occurring here and there but most of our cotton is safe from worms now (8/21).
"We're in a little cold front but the forecast has us going into the high 90s again with plenty of sunshine over the next 10 days. That will move things along and finish up the crop a little earlier than normal. In places, the crop is quite a bit earlier than average. At this rate, we'll be picking cotton and cutting soybeans at the same time.
"Soybeans are still abnormally quiet, and a lot of early fields will move to harvest without any insect treatments at all. I think that trend will hold with some of the later beans because loopers have not materialized like we expected. Soybeans are being cut in south Louisiana and more are being defoliated in north Louisiana. A lot of guys are still pushing to finish corn harvest and will then move straight into soybeans."