Cotton was planted on 345,000 acres in 2010, an increase of about 25% over the previous year. Over 96% of the acreage contained the RoundUp gene and approximately 90% contain genes for lep control. Due to the phase out of DP555, market share was gained by Phytogen, Fibermax and Stoneville varieties.
Early season insect pressure (thrips, aphids, cutworms, grasshoppers and plant bugs) was below historical levels for the second year in a row and very limited foliar applications were necessary. More than 80% of the acres were planted with insecticide treated seed, with the remainder planted with Temik in-furrow. Midseason pests included bollworms, at below normal numbers, which dictated fewer oversprays over the varieties with stacked lep genes. Very few lep sprays were made statewide, even in fields planted to conventional varieties. 2010 was one of the lowest pressure years in history for all lep species.
Stink bugs were by far the most economic of all cotton insects. Two to four foliar sprays were needed over most of the state to hold damage below threshold level. The dominant species in 2010 was the brown stink bug, Euschistus servus. The stink bug complex remains a complex issue to many growers and fieldmen, especially as it relates to scouting techniques and thresholds.
Weather during the production season was good until about July 15-20 at which time rainfall ceased and temperatures increased to 96-102° F (days) and 78-82° F (nights) for the following two months. This combination of heat and drought took its’ toll on yields since only about 10% of the state acreage is irrigated. Therefore, an 800-1000 lb potential yield deteriorated to about 500 lbs. Certain fields in several regions of the state yielded as low as 200-250 lbs of lint/acre.
Research continued in 2010 with the newer chemistries against the bug complex, sucking pests, and leps. Also, the newer genetic technologies were also evaluated both, agronomically and entomologically, within the state.