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Whiteflies on the rise; growers encouraged to treat to avoid sticky, stained, black cotton in July.

Shelley E. Huguley, Editor

June 17, 2019

2 Min Read
Sesame in bloom. Danielle Sekula says after last week's rainfall, sesame in the LRGV is growing nicely and look great.Shelley E. Huguley

Cotton, both dryland and irrigated, in the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) "looks really good," reports an IPM Extension agent.

Last week, in her Texas A&M AgriLife Extension newsletter Pest Cast, Danielle Sekula, IPM Extension agent, reports hot temperatures coupled with scattered rainfall across the LRGV, with rain totals ranging from half an inch to 2 inches in areas.

"Dryland cotton that was stressed two weeks ago is either at cutout or heavily blooming after the rains. The dryland cotton was showing a lot of shedding of small immature bolls and squares but many have good fruit retention, so now the plant can focus on filling out the fruit," writes Sekula. "Irrigated cotton was showing more fields with boll and square shedding, too, and most of what I've seen has good boll set. Overall, the cotton crop looks really good this year." 


But Sekula says cotton predators like lacewings and big-eyed bugs are on the move. "I noticed tarnished plantbugs in cotton but most fields were pretty clean and not at threshold. Threshold for tarnished plantbugs is 10 tarnished plantbugs per 100 sweeps.

"We've started to pick up on a couple of Verde bugs in a couple of fields in the Raymondville area and are seeing higher number in Bayview, Los Fresnos and Rio Hondo," she says. "It's the same thing with stinkbugs, I'm seeing a couple of southern green stinkbugs every once in a while in cotton. Verde bugs along with tarnished plantbugs pierce immature bolls and squares with their mouthparts causing boll malformation to complete fruit loss."

Whiteflies are quickly on the rise in the Edinburg, Pharr, Progresso, Rangerville, and Santa Rosa areas. "If you have whiteflies present you will want to treat and get ahead of them to avoid sticky, stained, black cotton when the bolls open in July," Sekula warns. "I have seen a couple of bollworm eggs in fields but haven't seen damage or any bollworms present yet."


As far as other crops, Sekula says the grain sorghum is drying up for harvest and as the rain cleared last week, growers began cutting. "Sesame is growing nicely and looking great after this last rain shower," she adds. And sunflower harvest in the McCook area has also begun.


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.

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