Midsouth Cotton: Cotton Defoliation Heats Up


    Laykyn Rainbolt, Contributing Editor

    Here is this week’s issue of AgFax Midsouth Cotton, sponsored by the Midsouth Cotton Team of AMVAC.

    This is our final issue of AgFax Midsouth Cotton for the year. Many thanks to our exclusive sponsor, AMVAC. We are grateful to Extension workers, crop advisers, dealer reps and others who took the time to offer insight and expertise into this year’s cotton crop. Many thanks to our readers who keep opening the AgFax enewsletters.


    Cotton defoliation is underway on most farms, and the number of defoliated acres will continue to grow over the next two weeks. Although the crop is still late compared with previous years, it is still a predominantly heavy top crop. The current cool snap much of the Midsouth is experiencing could slow the younger cotton though.

    Corn, grain sorghum, rice and soybean harvests are underway or complete. Yields are reported to be average to above average, depending on the crop. Some areas had a lot of rain this year concentrated in short intervals, which didn’t help most.



    Richard Griffing, Griffing Consulting, LLC, Monterey, Louisiana: 

    “All the cotton has had the first shot of defoliation, but very little has had the second shot at this point. This will be an average cotton crop at best. There has just been too much rain this season. We’ve had six inches in the last 10 days (from Sept. 22), and rain is not what we need right now. It stayed wet for a considerable amount of time after the rain. After today, hopefully more cotton will get the second shot of defoliation. Compared to normal, the cotton is still extremely late.

    “Corn and grain sorghum are finished. Corn was excellent overall, and the grain sorghum was about average.

    “We have cut 20% of the rice, and it’s been all over the board. I’ve heard of some really good yields and some mediocre numbers. I think this is probably due to glyphosate drift on the lower yielding fields.

    “Soybeans are also all over the board — from pretty good to a little disappointing. We should be 80% through with soybean harvest at this time, but I would say we’re only 40% done. We have a long way to go, but I think the yields will be average to just below average overall.

    “This is the longest season I’ve ever worked. I’m usually on vacation by now, but once everything gets going after the rain moves out everything will finish out quick. I think I’ll finish up everything next week.”

    Eddy Cates, Cates Agritech Inc., Marion, Arkansas: 

    “We did defoliate 800 acres of cotton 10 days ago but defoliating really geared up for everyone this week (Sept. 22). Next week will be another big week for defoliating cotton, but we’re not even close to picking any. All defoliation will be a two-shot approach. Although it looks good right now, we have a long way to go before we can get it out.

    “The cotton is at the mercy of the weather. I don’t think this cold snap has hurt any of the cotton, but if it did, it’ll be the late-planted cotton that is still trying to fill the top bolls. I’m sure it at least slowed the boll filling in that younger crop. Overall, the cotton is a good, heavy top crop. We’re just getting into defoliation, but we can’t wait to start picking. It’s been long awaited.

    “Around half of our corn has been harvested at this point, and it is doing very well. Furrow irrigated corn yielded 220 to 240 bushels, and center pivot fields yielded over 185 bushels. I’m very pleased with the corn crop.

    “We’re just getting into soybean harvest with 10% or so harvested. Based on what we have done, soybeans have done better than what they look. Our yields have ranged from 65 to 90 bushels. So far, the crop looks much better than what we expected.

    “We’re in the middle of rice harvest. Some farms are finished with rice harvest, but overall, we’re about 60% through. Paddy rice is cutting 205 to 220 bushels. We are very pleased with it. Seventy percent of the rice I check is row rice, and we are seeing a lot of variability in yields from 182 to 215 bushels. Again, we’re pleased with it.

    “Some peanuts in our area have already been harvested, but the peanuts I check are about 10 days away from being ready to dig.

    “We started soil samples today to get ready for the next crop. It’s a never-ending cycle.”


    Ty Edwards, Edwards Ag Consulting, LLC, Water Valley, Mississippi: 

    “We’ve turned all cotton loose from insecticides at this point. Maybe 10% is ready for defoliation, but we’re waiting for the weather to clear to start. The rest of the cotton ranges from close to ready for defoliation to green as a gourd.

    “We had to spray 1,200 acres of cotton for areolate mildew, which was a first for me. Overall, this crop looks really good, but most of it has a lot of time to go before we can get it out. We’ll probably start the gin up around 10 days later than normal this year.

    “We’ve probably cut 20% of our soybeans and another 20% desiccated and ready to cut. The earlier-planted soybean crop looks really good so far. We did have to spray about 25% of the later soybeans for loopers, but they’ve been clean as a pin since then. They look better than we expected. I do expect to see soybean rust soon, maybe in time to defoliate a few late soybeans.

    “About 80% of the corn is out. Both dryland and irrigated have been superb except a few acres that didn’t get supplemental fertilizer after all the rain. Although the logistics just didn’t work out to make it happen, it is still a great crop.”

    AgFax Midsouth Cotton is published by AgFax Media LLC
    Ernst Undesser, Editorial Director.

    Working-Copy%5B1%5D.jpgThis weekly report is distributed during the cotton production season. It is available to United States residents engaged in cotton farming, field scouting and other qualifying ag professions.

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