May 2, 2022
*Update: Since this article was published, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Extension Agent Danielle Sekula says cotton aphid populations have drastically increased. She encourages producers to scout their fields in the next couple of days to decide whether they need to spray now or hold off.
Rain received the last week of April brought relief to parched Texas crops in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
"The valley received anywhere from 1 to 3 inches that really benefited all our row crops," says Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Extension Agent Danielle Sekula in her latest newsletter, Pest Cast.
"The bulk of the rain was received last Tuesday morning. We had scattered showers Wednesday and Thursday in parts of the Valley making it difficult to get into fields and scout."
Sekula says that the region's cotton is "growing good and looks great after this rain." Cotton is squaring in all three counties. "As we scouted last Wednesday and Friday, we are seeing is a definite increase in cotton aphids. In the areas I was able to access, I’m noticed moderate to high cotton aphid populations in some cotton in the Lyford and Rio Hondo areas."
Many of the cotton fields remain clean with light cotton aphid populations. But she cautions producers to be diligent about checking fields this week, as populations likely increased over the weekend due high temperatures coupled with humidity.
"You will want to inspect for predators feeding on cotton aphids and see if it is necessary to spray," she says. "Too many cotton aphids congregating on the stem and feeding at the growing point of pin head squaring cotton can hurt yield and sometimes those high infestations need to be controlled."
Although she did not see fleahoppers while scouting last week, she urges producers to be on the lookout for them in coming weeks.
Sorghum & Corn
As Sekula scouted commercial grain sorghum, she says she spotted light populations of sugarcane aphids (SCA) in the Rio Hondo, Lyford and Weslaco areas. "I suspect there are more sugarcane aphids out there, it was just too muddy to get into a lot of these fields." What she did see, were limited to a few leaves and had predators already feeding on them.
(Photo by Shelley E. Huguley)
"We have a lot of tolerant/resistant varieties growing that are looking very clean from SCA pressure as we have lots of sorghum that is still in the vegetative stages. I did look at some sorghum that was already flowering and only came across one midge."
The region's corn is silking and some corn earworm pressure has been reported in Bt corn in the silks where the eggs hatched.
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