By AgFax Media LLC, AgFax.com
Cotton continues to run ahead of schedule. As someone put it, "The crop wants to go home early this year." Bolls are opening on a somewhat wider basis.
Bollworm escapes and plant bugs remain a factor in later cotton or where anyone is still trying to bring along the top crop. We have heard about renewed egg laying this week in parts of Mississippi and in north Alabama. But plenty of fields won't be sprayed again until defoliation cranks up. Spider mites are still lingering but mostly on a localized basis.
Overall, the crop shows promise except in pockets that missed a good deal of rain. We're hearing more about target spot in the Southeast than in the Midsouth but rainfall amounts have tended to be much higher in parts of that region.
In soybeans, limited spraying has been necessary in Louisiana for redbanded stink bugs but no runaway situations appear to be taking shape. Soybean loopers will be the next player in Delta soybeans. More corn harvest is underway.
Harold Lambert, Independent Consultant, Innis, Louisiana:
"Some of our cotton is at cutout and the rest is almost there. If you look hard enough in places, you might find an open boll. We've had to manage plant bugs as recently as last week but I think we're about done with it. That was in fields that received some extra fertilizer late and rainfall, so the terminals remained green and attractive later than most of the rest of our acres.
"Our bollworm situation still hasn't been as intense as what I'm hearing about up in the Delta. Overall, our cotton looks pretty good except on fairly heavy soils where rainfall amounts ran short. Any defoliation is at least 2 to 3 weeks away.
"Corn harvest has begun and yields are all over the place. In some areas, the drought really did us wrong with dryland acres, but in other locations rains came at good times. Dryland corn yields seem to range from 90 to 170 bu/acre. A lot of the variation gets back to what kind of land the corn was on. Overall, we still have some good corn out there.
"In soybeans, we've applied harvest aids on some acres, specifically early MG IV acres that will be put in sugarcane after harvest. Nothing has been harvested yet except on one farm where beans were planted extremely early and not on the best ground. Those yields ran 40 to 50 bu/acre.
"Insect pressure in soybeans has been mixed. MG Vs in certain locations had to be sprayed for bollworms during R2 to R3 stages. Some earlier beans escaped stink bug pressure altogether. However, most have had one stink bug spray. As we're putting out paraquat, a pound of acephate is being included to clean up stink bugs if counts warrant it. But in some cases that isn't necessary if they were sprayed before.
"Redbanded stink bugs obviously had a tough winter, and those light numbers have given us a welcomed break. That's the case with stink bugs in general but low numbers of redbanded are greatly appreciated."
Hank Jones, C&J Ag Consulting, Pioneer, Louisiana:
"Cotton is 10 days ahead of normal, generally speaking. It ranges from zero to 5 NAWF and a good bit has bloomed out the top. We're still watching some fields but the bulk of the spending decisions on insects are behind us. The crop looks really good in spots and just kind of above average in other places and then average over the rest of it.
"Where I did have to spray for worms, boll damage ran 2% to 4%, which is pretty acceptable to me. Open bolls aren't hard to find if you know where to look. We had some potash deficiency, either because we didn't apply enough or this big crop just sucked it out of the ground.
"Our dryland corn is being cut, and yields are running 20 to 30 bu/acre higher than we expected, and I'm really looking forward to getting into the irrigated acres. In soybeans, we'll probably start applying paraquat this week on some of the earliest fields.
"This has been one of the lightest insect years I can remember in soybeans and certainly light compared to the last couple of seasons. As it looks now, a lot of soybean fields will not be treated at all for insects. After the battles we fought with redbanded stink bugs in the past, we needed a break. I've maybe found a dozen redbanded all year. Here at the end we're seeing some lodging, which may be a function of the variety and/or the soil type the variety was planted on."
Sebe Brown, Northeast Louisiana Region Extension Entomologist:
"Things are starting to quiet down in cotton in a lot of places. Our youngest cotton is running around 5NAWF. Older fields are running from 1NAWF to 25% to 30% open bolls.
"Bollworm issues have pretty much run their course. A big portion of the crop is moving past being susceptible, plus bollworms are transitioning out of cotton. Spider mites are still hanging around and that's what people are calling about – but it's not a crazy number of calls. It's pretty normal for mites to build this time of the year. Where growers were doing those last cleanup sprays, they moved to harsher and cheaper chemistries that flare mites.
"In soybeans, a few loopers are showing up. I haven't heard of any dedicated looper applications yet but those may start in the next week or so. Treatments are going out for redbanded stink bugs but nothing like we saw last year. This should be a 'one and done' situation as far as redbanded treatments go."