Late North Carolina cotton crop may be vulnerable to insect pests

By Jack Bacheler, North Carolina Extension Entomologist

In Southeast Farm Press

After a prolonged period of wet weather, North Carolina cotton is benefitting from some sunny, hot weather.

But in most areas of the state, the crop has some catching up to do. In some cases, the crop may never manage this.

To add insult to injury, this late crop will likely be susceptible to late season insects for a considerable period going forward.

Plant bugs

We think the movement of plant bugs from wild hosts and corn into cotton may increase during the coming weeks if our present hot, dry weather continues.

Perhaps an additional consideration with plant bugs this year is the low total number of squares for mid-July in many fields. Here we’re not talking about low square retention rates, but the limited square development given how far this crop is behind.

This makes keeping available squares on the plants more important than in most other years when moderate levels of square loss could be tolerated.

This year, it could be more important than most to protect squares and young bolls from insects, including plant bugs, stink bugs and bollworms.

Stink bugs

We have a number of cotton fields that are on the lush side due to prolonged wet weather, with squares and young bolls few and far between.

In our cotton scouting school in the Greene County area last week, brown stink bugs seemed to be quite abundant. This would not be the year or time to overlook stink bug damage to young bolls.

Read the rest of the story at Southeast Farm Press

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