AGFax Midsouth Cotton- June 10, 2016


Plant bug treatments have started on a limited, scattered basis in some of the oldest cotton in the region. We’re not hearing about huge numbers but enough plant bugs have been present to trigger occasional applications. More cotton is squaring or will be to that point next week.

Spider mite treatments are being made, mostly in Mississippi. Aphids are turning up in some areas, as well, but nothing that would warrant an application. Thrips continue to demand attention in places, although more cotton has grown past the point that thrips are an issue.

Rains have fallen on a wide basis over the last week. The moisture will help in places that have been dry for several weeks.

Delayed emergence will complicate crop management in some areas. Rains over the last 7 days have finally brought up seed that were planted 3 or more weeks earlier. In extreme cases cotyledon cotton has now emerged in fields with up to 7-leaf plants. We’re hearing reports about this in Mississippi and also in the Tennessee Valley.

Midsouth states have received a Section 18 label for the use of Transform insecticide in cotton for tarnished plant bug control. Connect to more info in our Links section.


We’re always expanding our list of contacts, the consultants, dealer personnel and Extension workers who provide the reports that go into this newsletter. If you would like to occasionally provide a report, please let me know. We would call once every 4 weeks for a brief report on cotton and other crops you work. If you have questions, feel free to call me at 888-327-6329. 

 – Owen Taylor, Editor 



Trent LaMastus, Consultant, Cleveland, Mississippi: “Our cotton ranges from cotyledon to pinhead square. Unfortunately, we can find both those sizes in some fields at the same time, often in adjoining rows. In places, part of the cotton emerged almost 4 weeks ago and then another round of it came up over the weekend (6/4-5). We had a 5-week stretch without rain, and that kept parts of some fields too dry for uniform germination. 

“It’s not unusual to have a few spots like that here and there but I’ve never had to deal with it on such a wide scale as we’re finding now. From a management standpoint, we’ve got an intensive season ahead of us with those fields. This variability will complicate everything from weeds to insect control to growth regulators to harvest applications. Since these differences are scattered, we can’t manage parts of fields separately. 

“We’ve had severe thrips pressure and mite damage, too. On the cotton that’s up, we’ve sprayed 80% of it for thrips. I wanted to spray it again but then the weather warmed up, which got the cotton going. So far, it appears that it’s growing past the thrips and I haven’t treated any cotton twice. Even though we had pressure, I wanted to save a few arrows in the quiver for later, if possible. 

“We began picking up mites on cotton 10 days ago (from 6/6), plus we’ve found a few aphids but haven’t treated. I took my almost-4-year-old daughter, Marycelia, into a cotton field for the first time and showed her thrips, spider mites and aphids, with all of them on 2-leaf cotton. 

“In older cotton we’re starting to see plant bug activity and they’re close to threshold on some 7-node cotton, with the most pressure in cotton near corn. We’ll be making herbicide applications after this last rain and will include something for plant bugs in places. We’ll also be catching up on a lot of herbicide work in cotton and soybeans. Pre herbicides never got activated when we kept missing rain, plus it was too dry to kill anything with a contact material. Although weeds were growing slowly, they shifted into second gear with this rain and are definitely moving now.”

Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist: “A lot of cotton is transitioning from the fourth or fifth leaf to early squaring. Thrips are still really bad in spots. In some of my seed treatment and in-furrow insecticide plots they were hitting 150 to 250 on 5 plants in untreated checks. In other plots the treatments were helping but the numbers were still high.

“The best treatment I’ve looked at this year has been aldicarb. It’s performing as well as it did in the ‘old days’ when it was called Temik. I think it’s doing as good as it always did but we’ve just forgotten how well it performed. With resistance issues, the seed treatments also are showing a little wear and tear, and that really makes the aldicarb shine. 

“I’m hearing about low levels of plant bugs on some early squaring cotton but very little of that has been at treatment level. We’re not seeing spider mite activity like they are in Mississippi, but it’s been a little drier on that side of the river.”

Lee Rogers, Rogers Entomological Service, Steele, Missouri: “We’re pretty much out of the thrips stage now (6/6). Most cotton has 5 to 7 leaves. Thrips were fairly heavy last week and I think most of the cotton was sprayed at some stage. I’m finding a little squaring but I’m sure a lot more cotton will be to that point by next week. It’s gotten hotter, which should push the plants. It’s 89 right now (afternoon, 6/6), and that’s what cotton has needed. We got up to 5 inches of rain last week from Wednesday to Friday. Fields are just drying up enough that equipment can start running again.”

Larry Walker, Walker Cotton Technical Services, Flintville, Tennessee: “It rained over the weekend (6/4-5), which made a big difference in how things look. Thrips have disappeared, thank goodness. We had about 2 inches of rain in April and 2.5 inches in May, with none of that in the last 10 days of May. But in the last 4 days (from 6/6) we’ve gotten 1.5 to 3.5 inches from several events. 

“Our biggest cotton is at 5 leaves and we’ll have squares soon. We’re now in that period before plant bugs. We have water and also have addressed weeds, so things are in pretty good shape. Emergence was somewhat erratic and delayed on the red knolls, so in some fields we have both cotyledon cotton and plants at 3 to 4 leaves. We can manage that, and at least we have a stand.”

David Skinner, Agronomist, CPS, Macon, Mississippi: “Most of our cotton is at 5 to 6 nodes, and some of it is just starting to square. We also have fields that are somewhat earlier than that and some are a bit later. We’re spraying a few plant bugs in the most advanced fields and also are treating thrips in places in later cotton. No real emergencies are shaping up, just enough insects in places to warrant treatment. Everybody in our area planted all the cotton they wanted.”

Travis Vallee, CenLa Ag Services, Pineville, Louisiana: “Cotton looks good. Layby will be going out on most of it, although it will be the middle of the week before it will be dry enough. We got about 3 inches of rain across a big part of the area on Friday and Saturday (6/3-4), plus a good rain fell the week before. Pix will be going out when it’s dry enough.

“We’re treating a few hundred acres of early cotton this week for plant bugs. We can find a few plant bugs in all the fields that are squaring good, although we’re mostly holding off on treatments. Counts really aren’t enough in most fields to worry us yet, plus retention remains high. Except for 700 to 800 acres, all of our cotton is squaring now.”

Blake Foust, Consultant, Southern Heritage Cotton, LLC, Forrest City, Arkansas: “It’s dry enough now that people are getting in the fields. In most places we’ve gotten about what we need in terms of moisture. We’re trying to clean up pigweed now. With all the rain over the last several weeks we couldn’t get in the field with herbicides, so now we’re trying to apply Liberty. We’re about out of the thrips stage and some of our cotton is up to the ninth node and moving along. Overall, cotton looks pretty good.”

Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee: “We’ve gone a few days without rain, so the weather has improved considerably in West Tennessee. However, people in Middle Tennessee and some other areas are saying it’s too dry. Thrips are kind of on the decline and most cotton is growing out of the susceptible window.

“Next week we probably will see plant bug applications starting in some of our oldest cotton. In places, we’re at 6 to 7 leaves but most of the crop is at 4 to 5. To me, this has been a fairly typical start to the cotton crop in West Tennessee, although maybe a little cooler than usual. We’ve received notification that Transform will be available for controlling plant bugs in cotton in Tennessee this year.”

David Kerns, Entomologist, Louisiana State University, Macon Ridge Research Station: “Cotton looks much better now that we’ve got a little heat and sunshine. I’m seeing a few hits from spider mites. So far, it’s nothing that would raise an alarm or prompt a treatment. But they are out there, and if it turns dry and hot for a while, that could push them. Also, if we have to spray any squaring cotton for plant bugs, that could flare mites, depending on the material used. 

“I’m hearing about and seeing a few cotton aphids, just small populations. Like the mites, I don’t have any concerns about them right now (6/7) but they could blow up. Acephate for plant bugs could flare mites and aphids under the right circumstances.

“On a really positive note, Louisiana was one of the states this week that received a Section 18 registration for Transform to control tarnished plant bugs in cotton. We’ll get up to 4 applications.”

Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist: "A lot of our cotton area received a good, general rain over the last week, so things are looking up. We are dealing with uneven germination in places, both in the hills and the Delta. In a single field you might find cotton at the fifth leaf, some more at the second leaf and then cotyledons. I gather that there may be some examples that are even more extreme than that. We’ll have to deal with these differences well into the season. 

“Our oldest cotton has been squaring for a while. I’m a little surprised at how few plant bugs people are finding. That will change, I’m sure, but here on the early side we’re saving that first application for later. Thrips are winding down but some spider mite treatments have been going out in both the hills and the Delta. It’s been several years since we’ve had to treat much acreage for mites in pre-squaring cotton. I think this directly relates to the thrips sprays in combination with dry weather. All that gave mites an opening.”

Originally published by Owen Taylor on

Posted 1 year ago