Cotton – Southwest – Too Wet, Too Cool, Too Long – AgFax



    Larry Stalcup, Field Editor

    Many thanks to the PhytoGen Cotton Team for their continued support and sponsorship.



    Weeds – “if you can see them – get on them,” says OSU’s Seth Byrd. That advice also goes for a wide swath of our coverage area faced with weed flushes after rain.

    Corn and sorghum replants are going on in the Panhandle. Too much cool wet weather won the battle over many cotton fields.

    Southwest Kansas growers are also going back with catch crops in the “worst year I’ve ever seen” for crop development reports Jerry Stuckey.

    Cotton looks good in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, but tarnished plant bugs and white flies require attention.

    “One heat unit for the whole day,” says Chuck Wilbur talking about last week’s weather.

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    Jose Mendoza, Crop Quest Consulting, Northern Texas Panhandle:

    “The cotton crop is about 50-50, with close to half of it replanted in corn or sorghum in the northern Panhandle. We had a few fields in the northeast Panhandle that faired quite well. Farther west toward Spearman, we didn’t have that much luck. It was too wet and too cool for too long to make a good stand for many growers. We were able to keep just a scattering of fields and we’re facing chances of rain in the next few days.

    “On irrigated ground guys switched to corn. On dryland they have replanted sorghum. Cotton that’s remaining is moving very slowly. I saw plants earlier today (6/17) at the 4 to 5-leaf stage. We just have to take it week by week. We’re behind and staying behind.

    “We’ve been spraying for thrips for the last couple of weeks in the small cotton that’s out there. Wheat is drying down. But hopefully cotton will be far enough along to prevent much damage from thrips moving out of wheat.

    “With the bad growing conditions, growers had to consider either coming back with another crop or filing for Prevent Plant. The majority came back with something else.”

    Jerry Stuckey, farmer-general manager, Northwest Cotton Growers Co-op, Inc., Moscow, Kansas:

    “We just haven’t had the heat units to get this cotton going. My own cotton was planted in mid-May. It was rainy and cool for several days after that. My stand count at the end of May was from 6,000 to 22,000 plants per acre, with most at 6,000 to 12,000. I decided to come back with corn on that circle.

    “I did get a good stand on a late planted circle. But we’ve still been too cool. We need more heat units. Many farmers in this area have gone back to either corn or milo after the poor growing conditions. This has been the worst year I’ve ever seen as far as trying to get a crop up, especially cotton.

    “But we’re still in the process of expanding our gin in Moscow. The existing gin is 4 stands. We’re expanding with 6 more stands with greater ginning efficiency. It will be for 2020 production.”

    Brad Easterling, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Glasscock, Reagan, Upton Counties:

    “Unlike many areas that lost cotton acres to bad weather, we were able to get virtually all of our anticipated acres planted. We’re in good shape from that standpoint. The dryland crop looks better than it has in years. Certain fields are a little water logged, had seedling disease and are late in getting started. There has also been minor thrips damage, but overall the young crop looks good.

    “We’ve had a few bouts with jumbo grasshoppers in Glasscock and Reagan counties. They’re moving out of pastures into the first few rows of cotton fields. We’ve treated several fields for the jumbos. That’s the biggest pest issue we have, although there are a few fleahoppers in area.

    “Guys are doing their best to stay on top of weeds. There are many clean fields after spraying or cultivating. In some cases, growers planted into weedy situations and came back with herbicide treatments. It may be 2 weeks before those weeds are all burnt down.”

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    Seth Byrd, Oklahoma State University Extension Cotton Specialist, Stillwater/Altus:

    “We’ve had warmer temperatures, but much of the state got more rain either Saturday (6/15) or Sunday. For once we’re forecast for hot weather. This week it’s high 90s and may hit 100 degrees. It should be good weather to wrap up what’s left of the dryland planting. Fortunately, there is some good soil moisture for these late plantings.

    “Cotton that’s up remains slow. It’s not all related to cool temperatures earlier this month and back in May. We’ve had cloudy days, but maybe we can see this crop jump forward with the warmer weather.

    “For weeds, our OSU trials are seeing some flushes after all this rain. It’s putting pressure on our herbicide programs and the products we’re using across the region. It’s tough to get out there and scout for weeds when ground is wet, but we need to take care of small weeds before they get too big. If you can see them – get on them.”

    Murilo Maeda, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Cotton Specialist, Lubbock:

    “Planters were rolling again last week for those trying to get the crop in before insurance deadlines were completely gone. There was a good planting window with warmer weather and less rainfall in the South Plains region. The warm weather helped move the crop along. Those fields that were hurt by cooler weather will be helped, hopefully, although there are forecasts for thunderstorms this week.

    “I haven’t heard of any big issues with insects, but there are reports of seedling disease where guys have had problems with too much moisture. It’s likely Rhizoctonia.

    “Weeds are coming on strong. As we’ve said recently, people need to be on top of weeds to give young cotton plants a chance to progress.

    “While there are many fields being replanted in corn or sorghum up into the Panhandle, everyone is sticking with cotton until the last minute in the Lubbock area and further south.”

    Randy Norton, University of Arizona Extension Cotton Specialist, Safford:

    “Cotton out west near Yuma is looking decent. We’re just entering early bloom in that area. But due to high winds, it lost a lot of fruit early. In central Arizona, the oldest cotton is at match-head square. We expect some fields to start blooming soon.

    “My advice to growers is to protect that early season fruit set. There’s not much they can do about the wind, but they need to avoid water stress. Insects have been minimal, with only a few lygus sprays needed out west. But we still need to keep an eye out for insects.

    “The same goes for weeds. There’s nothing alarming on the weed side. However, we need to stay on top of them when they’re small.”

    Emi Kimura, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Area Agronomist, Vernon:

    “Dryland producers are trying to time last minute planting with rain that’s in the forecast. However, most acres have been planted. Moisture is there for a good yield if we can get the crop up after the cool wet weather seen on the Rolling Plains this growing season.

    “Warmer temperatures should help the crop this week. We need to see some better stand development.

    “Weed control is important after the rains. But we wonder about the number of days available for fieldwork with the wet weather. We could also see disease pressure with the high humidity that’s in the air.

    “I think conditions are better than last year when we had very little moisture, but we need clear skies and warmer days to help this crop.

    “Wheat harvest is under way and I’m hearing of good yields, even 30 to 40 bushels for dryland. That’s above average for our area.”

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    Danielle Sekula Ortiz, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Weslaco/Lower Rio Grande Valley:

    “I’m thrilled with our cotton. For the most part there’s a lot of fruit and a lot of the crop is either at cutout or past it. A typical field is 3 to 5 NAWF. Dryland in Willacy County faced a little stress a few weeks ago but is coming along.

    “We’re seeing a few tarnished plant bugs and having to spray for white flies. There are also still tons of fleahoppers in late cotton, so guys need to be on top of that. We’re not seeing any heavy bollworm pressure that calls for spraying. However, I’m watching Bollgard 2 and other Bt varieties to make sure there’s no bollworm resistance like some growers to the north have seen.

    “Sorghum harvest is underway. Thankfully, I haven’t seen or heard of any sugarcane aphid pressure.”

    Robert Flynn, New Mexico State University Extension Soils/Agronomist, Artesia:

    “Cotton is looking pretty good. Plants are 2 to 5 inches tall and I’m not seeing any disease or insect pressure. Weeds are making their presence known. A few fields that are coming out of alfalfa may need spraying. But for the most part, growers who put down a preemerge are doing well. Most fields are pretty clean.

    “We had a thunderstorm with hail around Artesia last night (6/17). A few fields might have been affected.”

    Blayne Reed, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Hale, Floyd & Swisher Counties:

    “It could be better, it could be worse, after our poor growing conditions this season. We’re seeing a steady dwindling of cotton acres in borderline stands that are sickly. We just can’t get them well. Guys with irrigation are replanting with late corn. It’s a state of flux in deciding which fields to keep and not keep.

    “On the bright side, later planted cotton is doing well and looking good. But it needs warm dry weather to progress like it should. Early cotton is seeing light thrips pressure, on top of cold shock damage and seedling disease. Thrips are lighter than usual, unless you’re close to wheat.

    “In weed control, we can sure tell who invested in a good residuals program and who didn’t. There are more weeds flushes with every storm that passes. The challenge is to get on top of the weeds and knock them down, especially when you’re having to replant other fields at the same time.

    “Corn looks good, but there is mild disease pressure – a few spider mites and fall armyworms. Replanted corn is jumping out of the ground. Early corn is at V-6 to V-8. Sorghum also looks good, and we will probably harvest more wheat than we have in a long time. It looks good and yields could be better than average. We just hope the price holds up.”

    Chuck Wilbur, Independent Crop Consultant, Wellington, Texas/Southeastern Panhandle/Southwestern Oklahoma:

     “The sun finally came out and were getting heat units. It’s pushing 100 today (6/18). The region’s better managed cotton that got through the weather cool weather has 7 to 8 nodes and is at pinhead square. The crop goes downhill from there and is all over the place. Dryland planting is ongoing and plenty of replanting is getting done.

    “Thrips held us back in the cool weather. One day last week we had one heat unit for the whole day – one.

    “Weeds are getting knocked down and we have a new flush after the latest rains. We’ll hit them with Roundup and dicamba, then with a layby residual. On irrigated we’ll also be top dressing on fertilizer through the pivot. We’re still just 2 to 3 weeks behind and need the warm days to continue.”

    AgFax Southwest Cotton is published by AgFax Media LLC
    Owen Taylor, Editorial Director.

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