It’s been a while, but we’ve been rolling; it still is hot.

Cotton: Spider mites have been the talk of late. I’ve probably fielded more spider mite calls this year than my previous years combined. Spider mites do like it hot, and it has been that. Most of the insecticides that we use for plant bugs are tough on beneficials which could be a part of the spider mite problem. The threshold for spider mites is when 50% of the plants are symptomatic, and populations are increasing. Stink bugs have seemed to be low to moderate thus far. Whitefly populations are building. I think the recent storms have helped beat them back down, but it doesn’t take long for them to build to threshold levels. PGRs are going out, so keep in mind the rainfastness of each one; it varies by product. With these pop-up storms and showers, remember that you can cut that rainfastness in half with a surfactant. The crop is finally looking like a cotton crop, and it should be because it’s August. Our growing degree days have caught up from the cool June, but I still feel like the crop is 10-14 days behind.

Peanuts: Lots of calls on PGRs for peanuts have been coming through. PGRs are recommended for our heavy vine growers like GA12Ys and on a case-by-case basis for our other runner varieties. For 12Ys, I like 2 shots about 14 days apart. Everyone should have at least their first application out by now. The biggest thing to remember is that a carrier is needed; I like AMS and crop oil; if you add a fungicide to it, then you can drop the crop oil but leave the AMS. Velvetbean Caterpillars are scattered about. I looked at a field earlier in the week that had about 1 caterpillar per row foot, so we’re just going to watch it. The threshold for Velvetbeans is 4-8 per row foot. If the plants are weak or stressed, 4 caterpillars are too many, and if the plants are healthy and growing, then they can handle a few more, but 7-8 caterpillars on healthy plants are too many and would require treatment. Be careful to note the differences among caterpillars; Velvetbean are pretty easy to knock out, while soybean loopers are harder to control.

Weather: Not much is developing in the Tropics due to the combination of Saharan dust keeping the atmosphere stable and El Nino’s wind shear, which is blowing the top off of anything that shows signs of growing, especially in the Caribbean and western Atlantic. However, the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico’s surface water temperatures are much warmer than normal, so if anything does break through the wind shear, it could intensify rapidly. If that happens in the Gulf, you may only have a day or two to prepare, so keep watching forecasts carefully for any signs of storms approaching as we enter the peak Atlantic hurricane season from mid-August to the end of October. With the El Nino firmly in place through next spring, we can expect a cloudier, cooler, and wetter winter than normal. That could start to occur by late fall, so you will not want to let your crops sit out in the field for long once they are ready to harvest. It does bode well for the soil moisture next spring, which is usually in good condition for the next planting season. I’m not a meteorologist; that was from Pam Knox, our Extension Climatologist.

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