Virginia Cotton: Only Slightly Behind Schedule
Believe it or not, for July, our region is above normal for temperature and below normal for rainfall. Some of us have felt like our crop is behind this year, and based on any given planting date, we were about 5 days behind schedule for blooms to initiate compared to last year.
July was hot last year as well, so overall we are still lagging behind by a little. We also have a fair amount of acreage that was replanted in late May that is still not blooming but is getting close. The areas that have gotten too much growth early have made two or three applications of Pix and are getting dry.
As long as we get some rain this week, cotton that is blooming good and has a solid canopy holds very high yield potential.
Late-planted cotton has also done extremely well for our region but has the reputation of getting too big.
We are just now starting to put Pix on the late cotton that has not bloomed yet and it will usually need several more applications as well with good weather.
As you walk fields this week to assess insects and fertility, look at your nodes above white flower. Around 8 are about where we want to be this week. If you have less than this, then your cotton is moving towards cutout which could be explained by delayed top-dress or leaching, heavy pix applications, or dry weather.
Potassium could also be low on very light sandy soils if adjustments have not already been made. Use leaf tissue testing to assess fertility during early bloom.
At this point, no matter how the start has been, if you take care of the basics, then the formula for success is nice rain in August followed by dry conditions during boll opening. We don’t even need any special sauce.
Plant bugs remain extremely low to non-existent in the fields I am walking in.