The dominant factor in cotton the past one to three weeks has been the drought and heat.
The weather has impacted both the crop directly and management decisions for insects. Some localized areas received rainfall on July 1or July 22. However, most cotton remains under stress from lack of moisture.
Aphids are the insect of primary concern since populations have built in many fields, putting additional stress on plants. Most growers delayed treatment decisions for aphids until this week — waiting for either rainfall or natural diseases. However, many are wisely spraying for aphids now.
In some fields plant bugs are also present. Adults have diminished statewide but immatures have begun to emerge in many fields.
I have also noted the presence of fleahoppers (both adults and nymphs) and clouded plant bugs in the mix. Field men have reported a large increase of bollworm moths in southwest Alabama fields this week.
Another significant event in row crop insects occurred during the past week. Kudzu bugs were observed feeding on soybeans in numerous fields in Cherokee County and in other fields in north Cleburne County and near Collinsville in Dekalb County.
This pest has the potential to dramatically impact soybean production in Alabama as it already has in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.
First of all, soybeans will need to now be “scouted” as cotton has been since the late 1950s. Mid-season (July) sprays will likely be required which will open the door for greater problems with podworms.
Additional later sprays for the Kudzu bug will also be necessary.
We will talk later about scouting techniques, thresholds and the selection on appropriate chemistry.