In the Coastal Bend, dry, hot weather dampened prospects of a successful cotton year. Nueces County Extension Agent Jeffrey Stapper is reporting a “disappointing year” for cotton in the Coastal Bend as a result of negative drought impact.

“Yields this year were such that many producers are having their crop adjusted out by Crop Insurance as economics indicated that it was more economical to collect insurance on the adjusted crop yield and destroy the remaining crop rather than harvest the poor crop,” Stapper reported.

Mid-Coast/Upper-Coast Cotton
Tropical rainfall in parts of southeastern Texas in July dropped as much as 16-inches of rain on many fields, hampering corn, grain sorghum and cotton fields with seed sprouting with some minor lodging reported in corn.

Texas AgriLife Extension Agent-IPM Clyde Crumley is reporting the balance of cotton is at physiological cutout, so the next hurdle for cotton will be protecting the bolls from insect damage. In addition, he adds, now is the time to be considering harvest aids.

“Cutout is an important physiological landmark in that it helps us determine when a cotton crop is ‘safe’ from economic insect damage and in evaluating yield potential as well as when to apply harvest aids. Now, it appears that our cotton crop is a few days ahead of normal when it comes to average heat units for this year, and you should consider that when thinking about preparing for harvest,” Crumley writes in his weekly Upper Coast Crop Improvement Newsletter.

With substantial rains and a delayed harvest, Crumley says growers should be scouting for insect pressure.

“Regarding insects, research has shown that small bollworms will not feed on bolls that are more than 350 heat units (HU) past bloom, stink bugs will not feed on bolls past 450 HU, Lygus 350 HU and for verde plant bugs (VPB) we are not 100 percent sure, but our best guess would be it is similar to Lygus. With all that said, we are continuing to monitor for bollworms, fall armyworms, stink bugs, spider mites, aphids, Lygus and VPB,” he writes.

Of particular concern in cotton right now are stink bugs. In the Upper Coast region, brown stink bug seems to be the predominant type, but Crumley warns to monitor for green stink bugs as well.

“I think it would be appropriate to prepare for stink bug treatment and not wait another week when 15 percent evidence of internal feeding is found. Stink bugs are often clumped near field margins. Spot treatment provides effective control when this situation exists,” he adds.