AgFax Cotton - Louisiana

By AgFax Media LLC,


Midsouth cotton continues to rebound after an unusually shaky start. A few more bolls are opening.

Pest-wise, bollworms are a top concern. Three-gene cotton is holding up well despite massive moth flights in places. High plant bug populations also continue through much of the region.

Corn harvest has begun in earnest over southern half of the region, with cutting already completed in parts of Louisiana. Yields are mostly average, based on recent reports

Late soybeans face increasing corn earworm numbers. Stink bugs are still at threshold through parts of the region. Desiccation is beginning on a wider basis in the early crop.

Cotton marketing is always a challenge...this year, more so. 


Harold Lambert, Independent Consultant, Ventress, Louisiana: 

"Our cotton looks fair after several weeks of small boll shed and excessive rain. Unfortunately, we've transitioned into hot nights, so the crop isn't able to cool down. Most of the cotton is at 4 nodes above white flower. The more 'modern' varieties in moist, better soils will keep squaring until frost no matter how much growth regulator you apply.

"In some of our first-planted fields, we're finding the first open bolls.

"We haven't dealt with the bollworm pressure others are reporting in the Delta. We saw worms around July 4 and sprayed based on egg lay. We've had to treat for stink bugs and tarnished plant bugs in later cotton. Aphids and spider mites aren't a problem.

"Corn harvest is 70% completed, thanks to this dry spell. Several growers finished harvesting and others are close. Yields are mostly disappointing, with low test weights. Where weather was decent in March and April and corn emerged evenly, yields are running 200- to 220-bu/acre. But many fields that historically average 220 are only going 160- to 170.

"Soybeans look good except where Hurricane Barry flooded fields. Paraquat has been applied on acreage where sugarcane will follow soybeans. This year began with redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) in the minority, while green populations ran high. However, as soon as you knock out the beneficials, RBSB spring back regardless of how well you stick to treatment fundamentals.

"Velvetbean caterpillars and loopers are now showing up in a few soybean fields, so we'll treat soon."

Hank Jones, RHJ Ag Services, Winnsboro, Louisiana:

"Even with this year's rocky start, cotton has rebounded in the last 2 weeks, and I'm more optimistic. With this year's rains, we haven't watered several fields that generally require 3 or 4 irrigations.

"The early cotton is less than 4 nodes above white flower, and the last irrigations is under way. We're trying to wrap up that portion of the crop, and high temperatures this week should force the plants to bloom out the top.

"Plant bug numbers haven't been outrageous, and treatments have kept them in check so far.

"Some farmers tiptoed into cutting corn last week. Dryland yields are good at around 180- to 190-bu/acre. On better Macon Ridge soils, we're averaging 200-plus and still haven't moved into our best fields.  

"In soybeans, we're in the thick of a redbanded stink bug battle and have treated some very early fields twice. In the last 10 days, we've sprayed later beans with a diamide to control bollworms. We've also put out Heligen."

Sebe Brown, Louisiana Extension Field Crops Entomologist:

"Later-planted cotton is running 6 to 8 nodes above white flower, and we're fighting plant bugs. Since a big part of our cotton is well past cutout, plant bugs are concentrating in the younger fields, so control is harder with the regular insecticide rates.

"To deal with plant bugs, we're having to get creative with tank mixes – maybe acephate/Transform or go up on use rates. Guys are typically running about 1.25 pounds of acephate or upping Transform to 2 ounces. The plant bugs are increasingly difficult to control as the summer goes on. 

"The bollworm egg lay subsided. Now, bollworms are deep in the Bollgard 2 canopy, and control isn't holding up because the worms are feeding on mature bolls.

"Worms usually run through July. At the end of that period, spray deposition is very good where plants are short and haven't lapped. But when the crop is large and lapped -- even if you do everything right – it's difficult to get an insecticide into the canopy, and we're dealing with that now.

"Spider mites are flaring during this hot, dry spell, but they're localized, and guys are reporting proper control with abamectin.

"Everyone with storage is cutting corn. I've heard yields from 160 to 230 bu/acre.

"The stink bug complex has moved into our soybeans and is meeting thresholds throughout the state. Loopers are turning up but aren't at threshold."