AgFax Cotton - Louisiana

By AgFax Media LLC,


Plant bug numbers are increasing in places and more treatments are being made. No catastrophic situations are being reported but the annual tussle with plant bugs has started.

Fleahoppers are more widespread this year in Louisiana. See comments by Sebe Brown.

Rain from last week's system helped growers on a wide basis with weed control, nitrogen uptake and general plant growth. To a degree, it also should bring up cotton planted in dry ground.

Cotton planting has wrapped up except in special cases.


Sebe Brown, Louisiana Extension Field Crops Entomologist:

"Plant bugs are picking up and are migrating from corn into cotton and also are moving out of alternative hosts. Cotton is starting to square and in some fields retention is pretty low.

"We're also picking up fleahoppers in larger numbers than we normally expect. Typically, we don't have many issues with fleahoppers and it's usually just in isolated spots. If we have them, they're mostly in the Red River Valley, but people this week are reporting fleahoppers in northeast, central and northwest Louisiana. 

"More than likely, fleahoppers are knocking off at least some of those squares. Plant bugs may be in the mix, too, but fleahoppers can blow squares off just as readily. Thankfully, fleahoppers are easier to kill than plant bugs.

"Our threshold for fleahoppers is 2.5 to 6 per 25 sweeps, and in places they're running 2X to 3X threshold.

"Rain from this last system varied. Totals were as high as 8 inches in spots south of Alexandria, but maybe only 3 tenths fell in areas north of Alexandria. Generally, our major row crop areas received from 3 tenths to 2 inches.

"In soybeans, redbanded stink bugs are showing up in more fields. When beans hit R3, that's typically when major numbers begin building.

"More and more calls are coming in from guys who planted soybeans early to try to finish the crop soon enough to miss redbanded. But the insect has already jumped into their beans, to the point that treatments have started.

"The farthest north I'm aware of any treatments being made is probably Concordia Parish. People are catching them as far north as Interstate 20 – not at threshold but numbers are picking up in some fields."

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

"Respectable amounts of rain fell in spots south of Interstate 20 with this last big system, but accumulations were fairly sporadic north of I-20. Places that needed rain the worst seemed to get the least.

"We're dealing with a good many skippy stands where cotton was planted in the middle of a hot, dry spell. We thought seed were down into good moisture. Some years that works, some years it doesn't, and this was a year when it didn't. We hope the seed is still in dry dirt and we'll get enough moisture soon to bring them up. 

"North of I-20, a few growers are on their fourth round with pivots trying to water up cotton. Moisture just won't stay in the ground, especially on ridges.

"This is my 18th year of consulting and you always compare whatever season you're in to some year in the past. But I really can't draw any comparisons for this one. We've had a wide array of obstacles – weather delays, replanting, too wet to get in the field, too hot and dry for cotton to germinate. On top of all that, it's been too dry to kill weeds.

"I dug through a bunch of older copies of AgFax for some historic reference but nothing compares to 2019. This is a kind of unique year because planting dates are so spread out, which will complicate what happens in the field for the rest of the season.

"We will actually have cotton planted next week for the first go-round. The grower worked up fields but it didn't rain on that ground. He's watering down the middles and will let the water soak in, then drag the rows and plant cotton. In my career, that will be the latest I've ever seen someone plant cotton. So, I have cotton ranging from still in the sack to 10 nodes.

"I found plant bugs today in cotton and will spray just a few acres. Small numbers of cotton aphids are scattered around and we've been spraying thrips later than I can ever remember.

"In soybeans, we started finding low numbers of redbanded stink bugs south of Winnsboro last week. Redbanded will likely be tough when you find them around here in the first 10 days of July, but this was within the first 10 days of June.  

"I hesitate to make predictions about how bad they'll be, but a colleague in the Ville Platte area said they're already on the verge of spraying redbanded and that they're in every field. Oddly, I didn't find them to any extent on winter hosts but they're present now. With all the late planting, this could be an extended fight."

Harold Lambert, Independent Consultant, Innis, Louisiana:

"Our cotton is generally at 8 to 10 nodes and retention is good. A tiny bit of plant bug movement has started into cotton. We went through a fair amount of early thrips pressure but nothing much is happening now (6/10).

"Corn is showing a lot of brown silk. A pretty big rain event developed about 3 weeks ago and we assumed the dryland corn would have an adequate moisture supply, but then things dried up fast and corn stressed a little. But then an even larger rain event started last Thursday (6/6), and I think that threw corn into a fair amount of shock. 

"I'm finding less-than-desirable ear size, which is a little concerning. The plants actually look quite healthy otherwise.

"Soybeans range from not planted to the earliest fields at R3. Most look pretty good. A long dry spell is in the forecast, and I hope that doesn't materialize. Because of all the wet soils early on, soybean root systems are limited, so we need a weather pattern that kind of spoon feeds moisture to the crop."