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Update for the Week – July 24, 2020

The current conditions in Worth County are hot and dry. These conditions seem problematic for our crops that are at or nearing peak water needs (like peanuts, cotton, pecans, and others). These crops are fruiting and filling at this time. Hoping and praying for more rain soon!

Heat and drought stress on the plants are one issue, but on top of that, there are pests that thrive in these conditions.

INSECT PESTS – In peanuts, lesser cornstalk borers (LCB) and spider mites will more likely increase and cause problems. LCB’s have been noted since earlier in the growing season; more recently spider mites have been getting started in certain areas. While irrigation may help, it does not always prevent these pests; non-irrigated fields and dry corners need to be monitored closely. In cotton, spider mites and silverleaf whiteflies are increasing. Also, be looking for corn ear worms and stink bugs and/or their damage. We had a very informative, virtual cotton insect update with Dr. Phillip Roberts today at noon. If you have questions or see issues in the field, we can help you.

DISEASE PESTS – In peanuts, white mold and leaf spot disease can thrive. Stay on a good spray schedule to help prevent and/or slow the spread of these diseases. With heat and drought stress, tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) infected plants may be expressing symptoms and be more easily noticed. In corn, southern corn rust has been confirmed in Worth County – corn that has reached the dough stage should be safe, but younger growth stages should be protected. In cotton, target spot can be a problem, but it will be more likely in fields with rain or irrigation; at bloom, cotton should be scouted for target spot.

HAY – Hay fields had decent moisture earlier, so hopefully had some good growth for cutting. Weather has been nearly ideal for hay cutting and baling recently. Remember to scout for bermudagrass stem maggot and treat when needed. And especially keep a check for fall armyworms at this time, because they can work quickly. We haven’t had any reports of them yet.

Call the Worth County Extension Office if we can be of assistance to you!