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Challenges Facing
The August Crop

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Click here to ask David Winters a question or submit a comment about this month’s Cotton Consultant’s Corner.

  

 

 

  
Recap: Challenges Facing
The August Crop
     

  

David Winters
Field Services
Plainview, Texas


Cotton is a challenging crop to grow. I’ve always heard cotton can promise more and deliver less or promise less and deliver more than any other crop. Despite the problems, by August, the cotton crop has several challenges behind it. Stand establishment, wireworms, thrips and fleahoppers are problems of the distant past. The raindelayed herbicide applications have taken place, along with the rush to apply our nitrogen before first bloom. However, more challenges remain.

One of the more challenging aspects of farming in West Texas is supplying adequate water to the crop. Peak water use occurs during peak bloom and boll development and can be as much as 0.4 inch per day. Usually, the early corn will be over its peak water use in August, and the emphasis can be shifted to cotton. We always want to put our water where it can give the best return. This shift usually starts to favor cotton over corn by early August. With timely rains, we should be able to meet this challenge.

August is also the month when several pests can build to economically damaging levels. Over half of the cotton acres I scout will need conventional worm control. Heavy bollworm egg lays can occur beginning in early to mid- August as the moths leave the maturing corn fields. Another pest that continues to damage our cotton into August is the lygus bug.

I have found a combination of methods useful in scouting for this particular pest. A black cloth is an excellent aid in getting a good picture of lygus populations in a field. With the proper technique, a drop cloth can provide a panoramic picture of the whole insect complex. It is a quick and accurate method to sample a large number of plants. In addition to the drop cloth, I also visually examine a set number of individual plants to better determine a lygus population. This provides a close-up picture of lygus numbers and damage to squares and small bolls.

By the first of August, all of the cotton that will be taken to the gin is on the plant. August is the month when we will have the challenge of protecting what we have.

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