Paul Scott Poag
Jonesboro, Ark. (Northeast Arkansas/Southeast Missouri)
I started scouting cotton in high school as a summer job, then had an opportunity to work on a few acres independently while I was attending college. When I completed graduate school, I had the chance to make a living as a consultant and have been doing this ever since. Today, I provide many services for my farmers, including composite soil sampling and grid sampling, variety selection, fertility recommendations, insect and weed control programs, etc.
Our area got plenty of rain this year, and the cotton crop looks pretty good. Because of our limited number of cotton acres, we were able to get them all planted in a timely manner. Right now, we are seeing bacterial blight and target spot on some of the cotton and considering best management options more for next year than for this year.
Pigweed is still our primary weed issue. We don’t feel like we gained any ground with control this year, but we didn’t lose any ground either. We are hoping to have some new technologies available next year to give farmers some different options to control pigweed. There also have been reports of PPO-resistant pigweed just south of us. This scenario will probably affect beans more than cotton although it will eventually carry over to the cotton acres.
Plant bugs have been the main insect pest this season. They were most prevalent in scattered cotton fields that were surrounded by corn, milo, beans and other host crops than they were in the bigger blocks of cotton. We used several insect control measures depending on the field situation and the preference of individual growers. Where we applied Transform insecticide for plant bugs, I normally ran 1.75 to 2.0 oz./A starting around bloom.
Also, because sugarcane aphids have shown up at the end of the season in some of our milo (grain sorghum) fields, we plan to apply Transform when we dessicate. If the aphids are allowed to stay on the milo heads and secrete a sticky honeydew, combine efficiency decreases and harvest is disrupted.
At this time, we are watching the fields to determine when to terminate insecticide applications and irrigation. After we wrap this up, we will start cutting bolls about the middle of September in some of our earliest fields, begin defoliation and get the pickers ready to go.
The cotton crop looks great and has a lot of yield potential if everything holds together from here on out. We need a successful crop because of the prices that we are getting right now. I am hoping to see some good yields come in this fall. We will have to wait and see how that works out.