Recent Updates

Thrips Control in Cotton

I’ve received several phone calls over the past few days about thrips in seedling cotton. Thrips pressure is variable by location with some areas reporting treatable numbers and others finding a few adults scattered around.  Application timing is critical for the best control.  Our research has shown that applications made early, before the second true leaf, provides the most benefit.

Options for foliar oversprays are limited to organophosphates  (Acephate, Bidrin, Dimethoate) and Intrepid Edge. OP resistance is present in West TN and while Acephate may provide some relief a more consistent option is 3.0 oz of Intrepid Edge. Also, increasing the rates of OPs may help some but overcoming resistance with higher rates often doesn’t provide consistent control and can be an expensive mistake.

The take home message, use acephate or other OPs with caution especially if you received questionable control last year and higher rates often aren’t the answer. Intrepid Edge, although the most expensive, is most consistent option that won’t flare spider mites or aphids. Surfactants aren’t required for Intrepid Edge but are highly recommended. Application with a herbicide such as Roundup or Liberty will work.

Side note: I’ve got word that Bidrin is in short supply so if you don’t have what you need for thrips I would think about making other arrangements.


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Corn Maturity Cutoffs for Herbicides

How large can corn be before glyphosate could potentially cause injury? The glyphosate label states it can be applied up through the V8 corn growth stage. My experience has been if glyphosate is applied to corn larger than that it can at times cause ears to be barren.  This phenomenon is difficult to predict ahead of time as it can vary due to maturity of the corn at application, hybrid and weather. Continue reading

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Ryegrass and Johnsongrass: Where do we go from here?

Picture 1. Ryegrass infestation in wheat escaping Osprey
Ryegrass in corn escapes glyphosate + dicamba burndown

Ryegrass has moved from being an aggravation 10 years ago to a significant weed issue in our row crops.  In wheat at this point, the yield loss caused by the weed has occurred (Picture 1). In cotton and soybeans, clethodim can be used now to push this weed on to maturity. In corn, there is no real solution to controlling it other than spraying the typical POST corn premix and hoping that pushes the ryegrass on to maturity (Picture 2).

The wheat fields that were consistently clean of ryegrass were those treated with either Anthem Maxx, Zidua or Axiom last fall.  A good bit of the ryegrass population in the state is resistant to ALS-inhibiting herbicides which renders herbicides like Osprey, Finesse, and Powerflex harmless to ryegrass. Axial Bold has shown improved ryegrass control in spring applications over those ALS-inhibiting herbicides but it does not offer the consistent ryegrass control as those delayed PRE-applications of Anthem Maxx, Zidua or Axiom.

Johnsongrass is also a consistent problem in a good many cornfields. Glyphosate is just not providing any traction in the burndown on Johnsongrass and the POST in-crop applications are no better.  Our most recent research funded by the Tennessee Corn Checkoff program has shown that Steadfast Q or Accent Q can still provide good control of Johnsongrass when glyphosate fails.

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Crop Progress-Tennessee and U.S.

This crop progress report for Tennessee and the U.S. is as of and for the week ending May 08, 2022. In West Tennessee, corn and soybean planting was in full swing. Cotton planting got off to a good start, with farmers expecting to make more progress soon due to anticipated warm, dry conditions. Cattle and pasture conditions remained good. In Middle Tennessee, corn planting neared completion despite sporadic showers delaying planting in some areas. Livestock producers started their first cutting of hay. In East Tennessee, the weather was a mixed bag, with some areas reporting pastures being in great shape due to mild temperatures and adequate rainfall, but other areas reporting extremely dry conditions. There were 4.5 days suitable for field work.

Topsoil moisture was 6 percent short, 78 percent adequate, and 16 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture was 6 percent short, 80 percent adequate, and 14 percent surplus. Continue reading at TN_CropProgress_05_08_22. The U.S. Crop Progress Report is available at US_CropProgress_05_08_2022.

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Tennessee Market Highlights – 05/06/2022

Corn and soybeans were down; wheat was up; cotton was mixed for the week.

Drought continues to persist in the western half of the U.S. As of May 3, the USDA estimated
that 23% of corn, 56% of cotton, 14% of soybean, and 69% of winter wheat production were in areas experiencing drought. 22% of winter wheat and 36% of cotton were estimated to be in extreme-to-exceptional drought, compared to only 4% for corn and 1% for soybeans. There may be some relief in the 7-day forecast for the southern plains, however it is likely insufficient to provide substantial relief. The seven-day forecast also has 1-3 inches of precipitation in the Northern Plains and Eastern Corn Belt, which could contribute to additional plantings delays. USDA estimated corn planting progress at 14% compared to the 5-year average of 33% as of May 1. Continue reading at Tennessee Market Highlights.

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Thoughts on our last planting window and the next one to come

The Extension Cotton Specialists’ Working Group, with funding from Cotton Inc and support from a number of seed companies,  has been studying seed quality and the impacts marginal seed have on in-season performance since 2020.  I planted the 2022 seed quality trial last Thursday (April 28th) with the expectation that even the best treatments would struggle, based on the forecast.   To my surprise, each time I checked the forecast temperatures increased and rain chances shrunk.  Some of those treatments emerged yesterday and they rowed this afternoon (pictured above).  The planting window that I thought would help separate excellent seed from marginal seed just might make everything look great! Continue reading

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