Bollworms mount attack on some Texas cotton, grain sorghum
Writer: Steve Byrns, 325-653-4576, email@example.com
Contact: Dr. David Kerns, 979-845-2516, firstname.lastname@example.org
COLLEGE STATION – Insect damage to crops is ramping up across Texas, said Dr. David Kerns, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service integrated pest management state coordinator in College Station.
“We have been seeing a great deal of bollworm activity in Bt cotton and there have been quite a few insecticide applications going out,” he said. “A lot of these reports have been coming out of the Wharton and Corpus Christi areas, but the problem is not confined to just those locations or to only cotton.
“In the Brazos River Bottom, we had a field of WideStrike cotton that virtually had a worm in every terminal and as much as 40 percent fruit loss in the upper third of the canopy. We have reports of unacceptable injury in some TwinLink and Bollgard 2 varieties as well.”
Kern is asking producers with Bt cotton exhibiting unacceptable bollworm injury to let him know as he would like to make further collections. Contact him at 979-845-2516, email@example.com.
“Be sure to give the technology the opportunity to work, though,” he said. “Our research has shown that if you are running 6 percent injured fruit with live larvae present, it pays to spray. That said, if I had a very large egg lay in WideStrike technology, I would be inclined to spray. Make sure you check blooms, bracts and bloom tags for eggs and small larvae. A great many of the egg lays we are seeing are not so much in the terminal but in the canopy.”
Kerns said the most common insecticide choices for bollworm control are pyrethroids. Blackhawk at 3.2 ounces per acre, Prevathon at 14-19 fluid ounces per acre and Besiege at 7-10 fluid ounces per acre are common treatments.
“Be careful with the pyrethroids,” he said. “Granted, they are inexpensive, but we have had some reports of control failures, especially if the bollworms are second instar or larger when sprayed, plus they can flare aphids and spider mites.”
Grain sorghum is also on the bollworms’ menu this summer, Kerns said.
“Bollworms are also hitting grain sorghum and if you catch them small — in the first and second instar stage — pyrethroids usually will control them, but rely on Blackhawk, Prevathon or Besiege if very many large worms are encountered.”
AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries:
CENTRAL: Scattered showers and thunderstorms were widespread. Pastures were in good condition. Crops looked fantastic for this time of year. Sorghum was quickly maturing. Corn harvest is underway, and cotton and soybeans looked extremely good. Producers applied growth regulators multiple times. Hay was being produced at a higher-than-average rate due to extensive amounts of rain, and some producers were making a second cutting of hay. Brush control was being done. Cattle were doing well on native pasture and maintaining super body condition. All other livestock were in excellent condition. Range and pasture conditions were good and tanks were full.
ROLLING PLAINS: Conditions were unfavorable for cotton farmers. Storms produced high winds and some hail that destroyed young cotton plants in several counties. Cotton emergence was hit-or-miss with a poor to fair start. Producers were not planning to replant because of high costs and cotton prices below the break-even price. Unfortunately, the storm systems brought little rainfall, so the soil moisture profile remained low. Pastures and rangeland were beginning to show the effects of lack of rainfall. Livestock were in fair condition as supplemental feeding continued.
COASTAL BEND: Hot, dry conditions persisted, causing crops to mature rapidly. Some areas reported isolated showers, which delayed some fields from being harvested. Corn was drying down and getting close to maturity. Cotton benefited from recent showers and bolls were filling out. A few fields were defoliated. Sorghum harvest continued. Soybean crops struggled in some areas due to heat and lack of rain. Armyworms were detected and were being treated on some forage regrowth. Much hay was cut and baled. Cattle and pastures were in above-average condition for this time of the year.
EAST: Many counties around the region received small amounts of rainfall, but Trinity County received up to 2 inches. Pasture and range conditions were good in most counties but excellent in Rusk, Shelby, Marion and Gregg counties. Hard-blowing winds kept topsoil moisture down but adequate. Subsoil condition was adequate. Vegetable production slowed due to the hotter temperatures. Warm-season forages continued to make good growth, and harvest continued. Cherokee County hay producers had a bumper crop, and most were reporting good quality and quantity. Stock ponds were in good condition. Producers in Cherokee and Wood counties were fighting armyworms. Anderson County producers were applying herbicides. Cattle condition remained good to excellent. Producers in Anderson County were supplementing cattle with protein. Weaning and selling of market-ready calves and cull cows continued in Polk County. Horn fly population continued to be a problem. Wild pig activity was up in several counties.
SOUTH PLAINS: The area received rain and hail storms that resulted in significant crop losses. Total losses have yet to be reported due to adjusters’ inability to get into the fields. Subsoil and topsoil moisture were at a surplus level. Pastures and rangelands were expected to improve with recent moisture levels. Producers were waiting for conditions to improve to replant fields lost in the storms. Cattle were in good condition.
PANHANDLE: Above–average temperatures were experienced across most of the area. Some moisture was received early in the week, but the soil moisture was rated short to adequate. Some producers were replanting hailed-out corn. Irrigation was active on summer crops, which were stressed by hot conditions. Ranges were drying out. Wheat harvest was winding down. Some livestock producers were hauling water to cattle due to lack of wind to turn windmills.
NORTH: Topsoil and subsoil moisture levels ranged from mostly adequate to surplus. There were seasonably cooler temperatures, and rain was received in most counties, mostly ranging from 1-3 inches. Fannin County, however, received 6-11 inches. Due to the high humidity, the heat index was elevated and caused slight stress on the livestock. Rain hampered efforts to put up hay in most areas. Crops and summer pastures looked very good. Soybeans, corn and cotton were doing well. Cattle were in good condition and the cattle market stayed consistent. Widespread damage from armyworms was reported.
FAR WEST: Temperature highs were in the 100’s and lows in the 70’s. Rainfall totals averaged 0.3 to 3inches. Dryland cotton was starting to look good as it was squaring. Sorghum was filling grain and looked good as well. Corn was stressed by high temperatures and hot wind during peak water demand. Pastures were freshened up but still yellowing in some spots from heat. Shipping of all lambs was completed. Managers continued to feed livestock and wildlife.
WEST CENTRAL: Weather was seasonable, with temperatures in the high 90’s in most areas. Scattered isolated showers were reported in many counties. Crops looked good for most areas with adequate rainfall. Cotton crops were progressing as young plants established. Cotton and grain sorghum crops were in mostly good to excellent condition. Some farmers had to replant cotton due to heavy rains and high winds. Corn continued to do very well due to rainfall. Forages were being harvested with average to above-average yields. Cutting and baling hay continued, and hay reports have been good. Range and pastures continued to improve in areas that reported rainfall. Good grazing for cattle was reported. Quail counts were up from last year. Deer looked to be in good condition. Livestock remained in fair to good condition. The cattle market was active, and demand was good. The pecan crop remained good.
SOUTHEAST: In Chambers County, rice was progressing with warm days, and the rice harvest was about to begin. A little hay was cut. In Fort Bend County, the livestock were in good condition. Row-crop producers were beginning to harvest sorghum though spotty showers caused some delays. Cotton was coming along fast, and corn was progressing toward being ready to harvest in a couple weeks. In Walker County, growing conditions were good despite high daytime temperatures. Scattered showers hindered some hay production but kept soil moisture levels in good condition. Warm temperatures created an ideal growing period for pond and lake weed species. In Montgomery County, showers continued to be isolated with very little accumulation. Insect pests were present, including armyworms. Jefferson County received showers throughout the week. Crops and livestock appeared to be doing well. Some ranchers in Lee County started their second cutting of hay. Soil-moisture levels throughout the region ranged widely from adequate to surplus with most ratings in the short range. Fort Bend, Jefferson, San Jacinto and Walker counties reported 100 percent adequate. Rangeland and pasture ratings varied widely too, from excellent to good with fair ratings being the most common.
SOUTHWEST: Moisture conditions continued to fall as dry weather continued. This caused pasture and some crop conditions to decrease. All crops were in much need of rain. Corn and milo were doing well, and some corn harvest began. Hay also was being made. The Edwards Aquifer was starting to decrease, and some areas instituted water restrictions. Livestock conditions remained good.
SOUTH: Hot and dry conditions continued. Only a few light showers made their way throughout some areas. Frio County producers began harvesting corn, sorghum and watermelons. Cotton was in the boll-setting stage and peanut crops were entering the pegging stage. Range and pastures continued to decline due to excessive heat and no rainfall. In McMullen County, range and pasture conditions remained in fair shape but were beginning to decline. Supplemental feed for cattle was increasing, and herds remained in fair condition. In the Jim Hogg County area, most pastures were turning yellow, as the high heat and lack of rainfall affected grass growth. Topsoil moisture and subsoil moisture levels were adequate. A few spotty showers fell near Hebbronville – averaging 0.1 inch. Wildlife populations were doing well. In Jim Wells County, sorghum harvesting was progressing well. Yields varied depending on planting dates and rainfall received. Range and pasture conditions improved in areas that received rain. In Kleberg/Kenedy County, corn harvesting was almost complete, and sorghum harvesting was in full swing. Range and pastures showed signs of moisture depletion but remained in good condition. In the Dimmit County area, stock tank water and pastures were beginning to dry. In the Maverick County area, some vegetable producers worked on watermelon and cantaloupe harvesting, but just a few acres were available for harvesting. Pecan orchards were in good condition, and producers were expecting a good crop. Coastal Bermuda grass was under irrigation and producing good hay bales. In Webb County, from 0.5-1 inch of rainfall was received. Livestock conditions were looking good, and range and pasture conditions also looked fair to good. In Zavala County, sorghum and corn crops reached maturity and began the drying process. Some harvesting began. Later-planted corn fields and cotton required irrigation water applications. Livestock grazing on native range and pastures was good as most areas have good to fair grazing forage across the county. Crops matured in most parts of the Hidalgo County area. Corn and sorghum harvesting continued except for some light showers, which halted the process for two days. Also in Cameron County, cotton harvesting began, and livestock were in good condition. Range and pastures improved due to some rain showers in Cameron and Starr counties. Grain sorghum harvesting and hay-baling continued in Starr County.