June 2020 Southern Crop Progress Report

Jun 30, 2020

June 2020 Southern Crop Progress Report
Things are looking up! For most of our 7-state footprint , the season started out incredibly wet. The “planting season” was one of the latest we’ve seen in a long time , but maybe it will end up paying off. The theme through June was “things are looking surprisingly pretty good!” Overall , most crops are progressing well , insect and disease pressure is currently low and nutrient deficiencies are pretty typical given the weather we’ve experienced. As you continue to work your way through 2020 , be sure to follow along with our in-season crop progress reports. Each month we’ll feature what’s happening in various areas across the acres we service.
“It’s looking pretty good ,” says Chad Williams , GreenPoint AG location manager in Marks , Mississippi. Even though crop stages are variable , corn , rice and cotton are all progressing nicely in the Mississippi Delta. Soybean stages vary the most with fields anywhere from still being planted to entering reproduction and almost ready for a fungicide application. The cotton acres are uniform and currently squaring with blooms expected in the next 7-10 days. Approximately 90% of the rice acres have hit mid-season and are now flooded. Corn has tasseled , and pollination is looking promising where there have been timely rains or irrigation.
“We started the season with too much rain , but once growers were able to plant , moisture has been good. Not too much , not too little ,” says Williams. Rain events have occurred in nearly perfect fashion following fertilizer applications with just enough precipitation to help incorporate the fertilizer. Though the early season was an uphill battle and growers may be a little hesitant to call it quite yet , the outlook right now is a positive one. Crops are on track , there is little insect pressure so far and little disease has turned conversations toward preventive fungicide applications. Triazole and Strobilurin fungicide applications in rice and cotton will occur over the next month for preventive care and to promote plant health for a yield bump.
Williams does warn growers that even though the area has seen little pest pressure so far , they should be sure to watch for stink bugs and moth flights over the coming weeks as the corn dries down and ditches could dry up. He also encourages growers to consider tissue sampling to watch micronutrient nutrition as crops move into reproduction.
The weather story in south Arkansas hasn’t been as “smooth sailing” as Mississippi. Growers have seen a lot of rain events just big enough to miss timely fertilizer applications. Though Southern Rust in corn has been spotted on the Arkansas/Louisiana state line , Joe Nowlen , GreenPoint AG salesman at GreenPoint AG in McGehee , has seen very few acres with Common Rust and zero with Southern Rust in the county. Nowlen says he’s also not seeing much insect pressure despite the moth flight earlier in the season. “I’m seeing 1 worm/25 sweeps in beans. Most are moving over to the corn and staying out of the soybean acres ,” shares Nowlen. While there aren’t many bugs in the beans , some growers are on their second pass spraying for plant bugs across their cotton acres.
The majority of the rice acres are about to go to flood , and some are already underwater with a ½ inch of internode elongation. The earlier planted soybeans have reached R3 , while cotton’s progress is delayed more than normal with a lot of acres at pinhead square. While the majority of the corn acres have tasseled , the earliest corn in the county has already dented. Growers are seeing quite a few fields with two-ear corn but shouldn’t expect the secondary ear to fill as it rarely pollinates. Low spots with waterlogged soils are starting to show nitrogen deficiencies from the anaerobic environment.
Watch-outs for the next 15-30 days include scouting as the wet weather could allow for disease to host in fields that didn’t receive a preventive fungicide application , watching for insect pressure and considering tissue sampling to determine if any nutrient amendments will be needed. It is also getting close to Max-In for Cotton applications as cotton progresses to early bloom. Nowlen also suggests using Tamerack® on cotton acres that need help pulling out of phytotoxity from earlier herbicide and insecticide applications.
While cotton growth may be behind due to the cooler weather across the Bootheel , it has been great for the corn acres that are tasseling (about 50% right now). For many it is time for the last shot of nitrogen to go out and for growers to start thinking about applying Group 3 (triazole) and 11 (strobilurin) fungicides on hybrids with moderate to high response-to-fungicide scores for preventive measures and to promote plant health through grain fill. Soybeans are 98% planted with a few acres left where wheat was harvested earlier this month and across a few acres in the river bottoms.

Because of the cooler than normal weather , the cotton is small , meaning weeds still have the opportunity to compete. Gabe Smith , Location Manager at GreenPoint AG in Catron says , “Growers should watch their weed control across cotton acres until we can get some heat units and close the canopy.” Though there are no new weeds to worry about , pigweed remains to reign as the king weed across the Bootheel and should be carefully controlled through July.
Like much of the Mid-South , insect and disease pressure is low in the Bootheel with only a few cotton acres sprayed for thrips. Though Smith says he hasn’t seen any major moth flights , the beans are still young and there is still a lot of season left. Cotton acres should be closely monitored for spider mites and plant bugs as acres enter match-head square. Over the next 15 days , growers will start applying their first round of mepiquat chloride (Pix® , Compact®) , and it is a good time to consider putting Toggle® in the tank for stress mitigation and bloom retention. As for soybeans , they’ll soon be ready for tissue sampling to determine any necessary foliar nutrient amendments. Rice acres are ready for their mid-season shot of fertilizer. Where nitrogen was applied before the spring rains , growers can spot nitrogen loss where leaves are firing at the bottom of the corn plant.
Variable but still looking good. That’s the word in Western Kentucky. “Corn is anywhere from knee high to tassel , but crops are looking great!” expressed Zachary King , Location Manager for GreenPoint AG in Hardinsburg. “We just had a big rain come through. It was a little too much too fast , but we needed a couple of inches , and we got it.” King explained that where there are corn and soybeans underwater , growers didn’t want to see the ambient air temperature above 77 degrees Fahrenheit. However , the last few days have been in the 80s and soybeans are averaging around V3 in Breckenridge County , which means those acres underwater may need some help coming out of the stress once the soil dries. Meade County has soybeans that have moved into reproduction.
Though glyphosate-resistant Waterhemp has been in the area for the last 4-5 years , it is just now becoming a widespread concern. King encourages growers to consider applying a pre-emergent herbicide and overlapping residuals next spring. “It’s best to start clean and stay clean ,” says King. “We’ve also seen our fair share of late-germinated Marestail. Growers burned down early when we had a really good 14-17 day stretch in April , but there was little marestail to speak of then. It’s since germinated.”
Insect pressure has been low aside from a few grasshoppers , which is a pleasant surprise considering Western Kentucky has been riddled with slugs over the last few years. Growers should scout for Japanese beetles in the corn in the coming weeks and start thinking about soybean fungicide applications. King also mentioned he is seeing a lot of phytotoxicity on soybeans from herbicide burn due to a thinner than normal cuticle , which is to be expected with how mild the weather has been. Soybean cuticles haven’t had a reason to thicken.
Corn tissue sampling trends are showing widespread deficiencies in zinc , manganese , and boron , while soybeans are seeing potassium deficiency. King attributes the potassium deficiency to lack of root growth due to the previous dry spell and suggests applying Ascend® plant growth regulator to encourage continued root and vegetative growth in soybeans.
Growers in South Texas will be in the fields to harvest corn and sorghum as soon as the moisture is low enough for storage , and some may be looking to spray harvest aids to speed up the dry down process. While a few fields may see below average yields , most acres are looking good.

Ryan Jung , Location Manager at GreenPoint AG Port Lavaca shared the news that rains in the last few weeks have given cotton the drink it needed to keep growing well even with some fruit drop. “There has been some fruit shedding from the rain we received a few weeks ago , but those plants had an abundance of fruit , and many varieties faired better than others ,” said Jung. Mepiquat chloride (Pix® or Compact®) will be needed following the precipitation as a lot of cotton acres are showing signs of node elongation. The rain also has germinated some grass , and anywhere there are new broadleaves germinated , growers should be aware dicamba products are off the table. Glyphosate and glufosinate will be the go-to products over the coming weeks.

Though aphids , fleahoppers , worms and stink bugs have all been seen and sprayed for , it has been on a field-by-field basis and not blanketed across the countryside. Jung does caution growers to watch out for an increase in cotton field pest pressure as grain harvest begins and to remember potassium and the micronutrients found in Max-In® for Cotton can help with boll fill in the coming weeks.

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