More optimism. Much of the Midsouth cotton crop has hit bloom and the mood among people in the field has noticeably perked up in the past several weeks.
Still, the season is largely out of sync. Normally by now, bollworms are turning up in cotton in the southern portion of our coverage area, but the expected flight hasn't kicked into gear on any wide basis. Along with that, uneven stands are complicating plant growth regulator timing.
Aphids and plant bugs remain a problem in places.
In soybeans, redbanded stink bugs continue to build through much of the lower Midsouth. Kudzu bugs are showing up in parts of Tennessee.
Producers with grain sorghum are being warned to closely watch for sugarcane aphids. Numbers are taking off in places.
LOUISIANA CROP REPORTS
Sebe Brown, Louisiana Extension Field Crops Entomologist:
"Our oldest cotton is in the third or fourth week of bloom, while some of our youngest cotton has just started putting on square.
"We're beginning to pick up bollworm moths. Plant bug numbers have been consistently high and we've been fighting them hard across our cotton parishes. With corn drying down, the intense migration is slowing somewhat, but more of them are now setting up shop in blooming cotton, plus we're finding immatures.
"With bollworms in cotton, treatment timing is usually more important than the rate. In dual-gene cotton, our threshold is 20% eggs. If you catch that egg-lay in a timely manner, you can get away with a 7-ounce shot of Besiege or a 14-ounce of Prevathon. If you're late and chasing worms in the canopy, you need to step up the rate to either a 10-ounce shot of Besiege or a 20-ounce shot of Prevathon.
"We're pulling pipe and aren't watering corn anymore. Guys are waiting it out until they can get in and harvest.
"On soybeans, redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) are our number one pest and guys are spraying all over the state. No crazy-high numbers are being reported but I'm hearing that RBSB are moving into Arkansas and Mississippi. Here, they're spraying stink bugs from R-3 to R-7. The earliest soybeans will probably be desiccated after the big tropical storm that's in the forecast for this weekend. If we didn't have all this rain coming, they'd already be desiccating soybeans in south Louisiana."
Harold Lambert, Independent Consultant, Innis, Louisiana:
"Most of our cotton is in the second week of bloom. Some cotton needs rain, some doesn't. In certain fields, we've had trouble applying plant growth regulators, although that's not unusual down here.
"Except in cotton that's very close to corn, plant bug numbers are below expectations. Most of our treatments have been on acres adjacent to corn, and control has been good where weather didn't delay applications.
"By now, I expected more bollworm eggs in cotton. But I'm flushing very few moths, even though I've expected them since early July. Yesterday, bollworms showed up in some 2-gene cotton and several fields will receive Prevathon based on the 20% egg threshold.
"Aphids have been spotty, although some late-planted cotton had to be treated. Most of our plant bug treatments have been with Transform plus Diamond but we've also applied Bidrin plus Diamond in places. Everything has worked well.
"Weeds have not been an issue. We were able to get our sprays out when needed, and layby applications have nearly wrapped up. We were wet for a while, which delayed spraying, but we've been dry for about a week and that let us catch up.
"We have early MG IV soybeans planted on ground that'll go into sugarcane next month. They're around R-5.3 and some of those acres have been treated for stink bugs. So, far, the caterpillar complex is very quiet in soybeans."
Hank Jones, RHJ Ag Services, Pioneer, Louisiana:
"Half of my cotton acres are well into bloom. Plant bug numbers haven't subsided and we still have hot spots. However, cotton aphids have been the major issue in northeast Louisiana for the last couple of weeks — probably the worst I've seen in 20 years. Even where we spray for them, they show up again 3 or 4 days later. The parasitoids have done a pretty good job.
"I'm not kicking up bollworm moths yet.
"We do need water in spots. But after a very long spring, cotton is shaping up. We've battled to get it to this point and it's now cleaned up. Overall, my attitude about the crop has improved.
"Yesterday, I gave my first recommendation this year for a redbanded stink bug (RBSB) treatment in soybeans, and they're steadily showing up. Some of the older soybeans are at R-4 and are carrying all 3 of the major species of stink bugs and the numbers are rising. RBSBs are showing up even north of Interstate 20. By and large, a lot of greens and browns are moving out of corn into soybeans. I'm even picking up brown stink bugs in cotton.
"All of my corn is well into dent and we're probably looking at one more irrigation. Even the May-planted corn looks very nice. But other corn fields aren't looking so good after that tough spring. Southern rust is evident in places but it isn't something I'm spraying."