South West Farm Press Logo

Lower Rio Grande Valley receives much-needed rainfall

IPM Extension agent sees moderate to high cotton aphid populations. Urges producers to scout fields.

Shelley E. Huguley, Editor

May 2, 2022

2 Min Read
Lower Rio Grande Valley receives much-needed rain. IPM Agent Danielle Sekula says many of the cotton fields remain clean with light cotton aphid populations.Shelley E. Huguley

*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."

See, Peanuts come in all flavors

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.



About the Author(s)

Shelley E. Huguley

Editor, Southwest Farm Press

Shelley Huguley has been involved in agriculture for the last 25 years. She began her career in agricultural communications at the Texas Forest Service West Texas Nursery in Lubbock, where she developed and produced the Windbreak Quarterly, a newspaper about windbreak trees and their benefit to wildlife, production agriculture and livestock operations. While with the Forest Service she also served as an information officer and team leader on fires during the 1998 fire season and later produced the Firebrands newsletter that was distributed quarterly throughout Texas to Volunteer Fire Departments. Her most personal involvement in agriculture also came in 1998, when she married the love of her life and cotton farmer Preston Huguley of Olton, Texas. As a farmwife, she knows first-hand the ups and downs of farming, the endless decisions made each season based on “if” it rains, “if” the drought continues, “if” the market holds. She is the bookkeeper for their family farming operation and cherishes moments on the farm such as taking harvest meals to the field or starting a sprinkler in the summer with the whole family lending a hand. Shelley has also freelanced for agricultural companies such as Olton CO-OP Gin, producing the newsletter Cotton Connections while also designing marketing materials to promote the gin. She has published articles in agricultural publications such as Southwest Farm Press while also volunteering her marketing and writing skills to non-profit organizations such as Refuge Services, an equine-assisted therapy group in Lubbock. She and her husband reside in Olton with their three children Breely, Brennon and HalleeKate.

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like