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Coastal Bend crops promising

Recent rains have been quite timely for most crops in the Texas Coastal Bend and accumulation of degree days for crops are currently running near normal.

Cotton for the most part began bloom the first week of June and at that time was at the stage of about seven to nine nodes above white flower, which sets the crop up for a good fruit load. This season we have seen heavy pressure from fleahoppers, but with the rainfall and fruit set, a good cotton crop is in the making.

As we look at the vigor of the cotton plant, we should measure both the height and node number of several cotton plants and calculate the ratio of height to nodes by dividing. This ratio indicates the amount of stress, or lack of stress, that a cotton plant has encountered. In other words, the number of nodes is the age of the crop, and the height is an indicator of stress encountered. If the crop is too tall during early bloom (height to node ratio above 2), use of a growth regulator such as mepiquat chloride or PIX may be needed. Many local fields are showing signs of excellent vigor and need some growth regulator.

Grain sorghum development is highly variable ranging from the grain turning color to just emerging from the boot stage. Again, with the excellent soil moisture, the yield potential for our grain crop is very good. Stink bugs have been a problem and midge will soon be an issue for later maturing fields.

Continue to scout for the rice stink bug until sorghum reaches the hard dough stage. A good rule-of-thumb for rice stink bug control is to implement control measures when you have one rice stink bug on every two heads.

Most damage by the sorghum midge occurs in sorghum that blooms three to four weeks later than other fields in a particular area, and we are approaching that time now. Consider control when midge numbers exceed one per head. Closely inspect heads in the yellow anther area for the midge. It takes about nine days for all florets on a head to pollinate with the 2nd through the 6th day the most important for an individual head.

Other insects to watch for on sorghum are the headworms (corn earworm and fall armyworm).

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