Here is this week’s issue of AgFax Southwest Cotton, sponsored by the Southwest team of PhytoGen cottonseed.
Cotton maturity ranges from bolls popping around Corpus Christi to new germination in southern Kansas. More rain is needed west of I-35 and northward.
Bollworms are in the Blacklands, where crop advisors expect a big moth flight to explode July 4th weekend.
Verde plant bugs are hitting fields in the Upper Gulf Coast, where growers are watching for whiteflies and lygus.
Fleahopper treatments are going out over much of our coverage area.
Scott Meeks, Yield Pro Crop Consulting, Farwell, Texas:
“I check cotton from near Nara Visa in northeastern New Mexico to Darrouzett in the northeastern Texas Panhandle. The most mature fields will likely see first bloom later this week.
“We’re fixing to be watering at full-throttle after finishing round one of applying PGRs and initial fleahopper treatments. The second round of PGR and insect treatments begins shortly. Weed control is nearly wrapped up, and things are clean. There are a few weed escapes but nothing that a little hoeing can’t handle.
“Most of my acres are pushed to full production, with growers shooting for big yields. They designate the majority of their irrigation for cotton. It used to be 90% corn. Now it’s about 85% cotton, which has made a world of difference in cotton production. It’s nearly all center pivot with a little subsurface drip. I’m happy that most of my customer base grows cotton as a primary crop instead of treating it like a stepchild to corn.”
Blayne Reed, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Hale, Floyd & Swisher Counties:
“Dryland acres are few and far between. The hot, dry, windy conditions were just too much for many fields. Irrigated acres have also suffered from dry weather and spotty hail. But overall, we’re not in bad shape.
“Replants look good and hopefully can tolerate further hailstorms. Nearly all cotton is late. Growth stages range from wildcat cotton that’s at cotyledon, to match-head squares.
“Guys are realistic with how much water they can apply. They have to decide whether to irrigate a full circle of cotton, or a half-circle of corn, which requires more water.
“Thrip threats are growing smaller except for the late planted fields. There are a few fleahoppers, but nothing at threshold. Growers still need to scout for fleahoppers because this area can expect threshold numbers from 5 to 35% of the acres. We need to catch those fields early to help prevent boll loss.
“Fall armyworms are showing up in corn, but most insects are quiet. Stink bugs are also in the area, but they are mozna obtuse stink bugs that normally don’t damage field crops. They’re moving in from mesquite and could threaten pecan trees or other fruit trees. Alfalfa weevil infestations are in the alfalfa fields. Many guys will soon spray for the third time.”
Murilo Maeda, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Cotton Specialist, Lubbock:
“The dry, windy weather continues to punish this area’s cotton. As a wild guess, I would say at least 80% of the dryland production is gone. Insurance adjusters have been checking fields. Farmers with failed acres may come back with wildcat cotton in areas that received some decent rain around June 25.
“The irrigated cotton has also suffered from either the lack of rain, wind and/or hail damage. I saw a field of 6- to 7-leaf late last week that looked pretty good, but most of the area needs more rainfall to help make a good crop.
“Guys need to remain fixed on keeping squares by managing fleahoppers. If fields have sufficient irrigation and growers want to push the crop, they may need to apply PGRs at 7 to 8 nodes. Apply 6 to 8 ounces, then check fields a week to 10 days later to measure plant growth. Then come back with more if needed.”