By AgFax Media LLC, AgFax.com
Pest pressure is mounting. Plant bug numbers continue to build in many areas, prompting treatment. In parts of the Midsouth, bollworm moths are moving north and laying eggs. Where worms have nestled deep in the canopy, treatment results have been problematic at times.
Stink bugs and bollworms are building in soybeans. Over the last week, stink bug numbers jumped in the southern half of the region.
A run of rain-free days allowed farmers to push into corn harvest in south Louisiana and in a few Mississippi fields, too. More corn cutting will begin in earnest next week, weather permitting.
Soybean harvest aids are going out on a broader basis, although the pace lags compared to a more typical year.
LOUISIANA CROP REPORTS
Sebe Brown, Louisiana Extension Field Crops Entomologist:
"A fresh bollworm egg lay is underway, and we are beginning to find more damage. With trickles of moths coming from late corn into cotton, this is about what we expected.
"Plant bug numbers have swung to the bad side over the past week in certain areas, and a good deal of the June-planted cotton is holding plant bugs. But in the early-planted cotton, plant bugs are mostly absent.
"We missed a rain last weekend. We don't need to irrigate, but it's extremely hot and things are quickly drying down.
"Farmers are harvesting corn. They're taking advantage of a favorable window with low humidity and are cutting where they can before any rain comes into the forecast again. Early yield reports range from okay to a bit above average. As challenging as this growing season has been, everyone is happy to get the crop out.
"Stink bug numbers are jumping in soybeans. A mix of redbanded, browns and greens have exploded in the last 5 days. Where early soybeans are ready for desiccation, stink bugs are running upwards of 40 per 25 sweeps. Many of our fields hit R-5 the first week of August, which is usually the point that redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) build. Last week, RBSB were running 2 to 5 per 25 sweeps, but that has since increased to 10 to 15. The farther south, the more intense the pressure."
Richard Griffing, Griffing Consulting, LLC, Monterey, Louisiana:
"The oldest cotton is approaching cutout, with about 2 nodes above white flower. It rained 4 to 6 inches last week, so fields are very wet. In 32 years, I've never seen anything quite like this season's weather. We're actually begging for a string of dry days and sunshine, and the forecast says that may be the case.
"Bollworm eggs aren't terrible on the south end of my cotton range. However, on the north end, the numbers are picking up in younger cotton. We're also fighting plant bugs.
"We'll be contending with soybean pests until mid-September, and I'll be scouting cotton through early October, which is late for us. Usually, I'm defoliating cotton by early September. This year, I predict it'll be the second week of October in a number of fields.
"Most soybeans are around R-5.5 to R-6. A diamide went out on all the younger fields for earworms. Last week, stink bugs – redbanded, greens and browns – all picked up in the older crop.
"We've desiccated a bit less than 10% of the soybeans. By mid-August, we'll have 50% of our beans killed. Usually, that would be more like 80%.
"I expect we'll begin corn harvest in a week. In two weeks, we'll be running wide open."