• Heavy rains in late June and into July have slowed planting and growth of soybeans and cotton in South Carolina.
• Early indications are for a big season for insect control on late-maturing crops.
• Late maturing beans may be more susceptible to plant diseases, including Asian Soybean Rust.
PESTS from kudzu bugs to alligators are showing up in rain-plagued South Carolina cotton and soybean fields.
As of mid-July, the USDA NASS South Carolina Statistical Office had the soybean crop at 92 percent planted, just behind where we were last year at 98 percent and the 5-year average of 98 percent planted.
About 81percent of the soybean crop has emerged, well behind where we were last year at 95 percent and the 5-year average of 91 percent. About 1 percent of the soybean crop has bloomed, compared with 7 percent this time last year and 6 percent for the 5-year average.
Conditions for the soybean crop were described as 1 percent very poor, 7 percent poor, 41 percent fair, 47 percent good, and 4 percent excellent. These are observed/perceived state-wide averages.
As of mid-July, the USDA NASS South Carolina Statistical Office had the cotton crop at about 17 percent squaring, compared with 59 percent this time last year and the 5-year average of 56 percent. About 1 percent of bolls are set, a little behind where we were this time last year at 9 percent and the 5-year average of 11 percent.
Conditions for the cotton crop were described as 1 percent very poor, 7 percent poor, 31 percent fair, 59 percent good, and 2 percent excellent.
Soil moisture conditions as a whole for the state were described as 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 29 percent adequate, and 71 percent surplus, indicating that soils are saturated.
Jonathan Croft, county agent in Orangeburg County, reported that the rain has really dampened field activity, so, even if you have problems with insects, you can’t do anything about it, unless you have a friend who is an aerial applicator.
Charles Davis, county agent in Calhoun County, reported that “aphids are still hanging on (in cotton) with no sign of fungus yet that I can see. They are all wearing life vests, though.” He also caught an alligator in his yard in a mud puddle; with no body of water within a half mile…it is wet!
Chris Talley, county agent in Anderson County, near Greenville, S.C., reported he has been seeing kudzu bugs on beans for some time now and is “just now really starting to see some immatures on some of the earlier-planted beans.”
Captures of bollworm (BW) and tobacco budworm (TBW) moths in pheromone traps at the Edisto Research and Education Center (EREC) in Blackville, S.C., this season are looking like what we experienced in 2010, when we had tremendous pressure from bollworms.
This season might shape up to look like that record year for bollworm pressure. The next peak in numbers should tell us. If it gets to the 800 moths/trap/week mark near the end of this month, we will know.
I am betting we will have significant pressure from bollworms in both cotton and soybeans, and that tobacco budworms will be important in soybean acres this season.
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