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Rain creates problems for cotton pest control

Weather continues to create unusual obstacles for Coastal Bend cotton farmers as they try to finish a crop that has been inundated with more rain in June and July than the area typically receives in a year. More than 20 inches fell in some areas by late July.

“Consultants checking cotton have been frustrated by weather,” says Roy Parker, Extension entomologist at the Corpus Christi Research and Extension Center.

“Rain interfered with needed (pesticide) treatments and also caused some rain-off (of crop protection materials).”

Parker says some consultants and growers had problems scheduling aerial applications during the rainy period (which was still active July 27). “That also delayed treatments,” Parker says.”

Stinkbugs have topped the list of problem pests, “especially in some locations. From Kleberg County and up and away from the coast, they’ve been trouble. I’ve seen a lot of them. In fact, this is only the second time I have ever sprayed for stinkbugs on the station.”

He says the pests showed up mostly in the latest planted cotton. “Lesser brown, also called little brown, stinkbugs have been the worst,” he says. “This pest is smaller than most stinkbugs we see across the Cottonbelt.”

He says some green stinkbugs have also shown up in cotton. “But the little brown is hard to kill. Orthene and Bidrin have been the best products.”

Parker says through mid-to late July he’d seen no heavy bollworm pressure. “And I have not seen a single tobacco budworm.”

Many Coastal Bend cotton farmers say yield potential dropped significantly during July and went from one of the best crops they’d seen to just an average crop. Close examination of cotton fields reveals numerous shed bolls and boll rot. The few bolls already open have been stained by heavy, persistent rainfall.

Some fields were beginning to show slight yellowing by July 26, but Extension specialists and farmers say hot, dry conditions will bring the crop back.

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