Owen Taylor, Editor
LETíS GET STARTED!
Here is our first issue of AgFax Southeast Cotton for 2010.
This marks the beginning of our ninth year of publication.
Our thanks to the Southern Field Staff of FMC Corporation for once again sponsoring our report.
Cotton planting has started on a wide basis. Rain over the last weekend helped across much of lower Southeast, breaking a dry spell that took hold earlier in the month. Warmer conditions are in the forecast going into the weekend.
No big problems are being reported with insects. Itís too early to say how the weed war will go this year.
On Twitter this week, a trio of reports worth noting:
J.B. Coltrain, Extension Agent, Martin Co., N.C., said that conditions in his area were somewhat cool in the first half of the week but that warmer temperatures were expected toward the weekend. Cotton planting conditions, he reported, look more favorable in his area starting Thursday and going into the new week.
Gene Roney, a Dooly County, Georgia, farmer who we follow on Twitter, reported Monday that his area received 2.5 inches of rain on Saturday night. "Some cotton will have to be replanted."
Greg Hutchinson, an Australian cotton farmer in Moura, Queensland, told us Tuesday about how his harvest season is going right now. It sounds like a replay of what much of the South went through last fall. Maybe worse. "Weíre lucky," Hutchinson reported. "Nearly half the areaís crop was completely lost to flooding. Some cotton planted in late September wonít be harvested until June. The season went from running out of water in December to flooding rain in February-March. This has been an awfully long season. I just hope that we have enough heat units left to get the last of the bolls through. I will start defoliating our main farm tomorrow. We have lost a lot through boll rot."
Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist, Tifton, Ga.: "People have finally figured out what they will plant and where they will plant it, and now theyíre ready to get things done. Some guys have really just started planting cotton, and Iíve also heard of some cotton thatís up. We do have a big planting window and got some good rainfall over the weekend (4/24-25). I would say weíre approaching the 10% point on our acres. As it looks now, our cotton acres will be up 15%."
Johnny Parker, Agronomist, Commonwealth Gin, Windsor, Va.: "Cotton planting has begun, although we are not in an aggressive mode yet because a couple of cool days are still approaching this week (as of 4/26). The Wednesday night temperature will mark the coldest point of this cool spell, which will end by Thursday when some really warm weather approaches at the end of the week.
"This cool weather is not the type of thing that gives us major problems since it is quite dry and the duration of the cool weather is not expected to last that long. It still bears watching, though, and deserves enough respect to perhaps hold up planting on Wednesday. The other issue that will challenge us is the dry conditions we are moving into. Again, a dry planting surface is nothing new for local cotton farmers. It seems that when the temperatures are warm the surface dries quickly. Hopefully, this cool weather will bring needed rain."
Al Wood, Extension Agent, Pasquotank County, N.C.: "We will probably start planting cotton toward the end of this week or next week Ė if some has not already been planted."
David L. Wright, Florida Extension Agronomist, Quincy, Fla.: "Some cotton has been planted over the last week, but nothing big time. Itís been cool, in general, with a later spring than normal. Then we went through a dry period, and things had pretty well stopped. But we got rain over the Panhandle, from a few tenths to one report of 2 inches, and the rain will really help. We actually had pretty good subsoil moisture, and this rain will meet that. It should help bring up some of that seed thatís been waiting."
Charlie Burmester, Extension Cotton Agronomist, Belle Mina, Ala.: "Some cotton planted 2 weeks ago is up. Growers started with moisture and planted through the middle of last week. But most everybody quit at that point because things had gotten dry again. But we received rain over the weekend (4/24-25). Most places got 2 inches, and Iíve heard one report of 7 inches somewhat south of the (Tennessee) Valley. So, planting will crank up again in the latter part of the week if everything sorts out right. But itís still cool and doesnít feel like cotton weather. We really needed the rain. Iím not finding anything yet thrips-wise. I talked to Barry Freeman (Extension Entomologist), and he hadnít seen anything, either."
Richard Petcher, Regional Extension Agronomist, SW Alabama: "Many farmers opted this year to start planting peanuts first instead of cotton. Last year they had a bitter experience, leaving peanuts in the field because the constant rain kept them from harvesting parts of the crop. They left some cotton in the field, too, but abandoning the peanuts was harder to take.
"A little cotton planting actually might have started last week, but conditions were so dry that nobody was going to move quickly. But we got an inch of rain, plus or minus, over the weekend in places across south Alabama, and I would say that today (4/27) is Ďday oneí of our planting season, whether people begin with cotton or peanuts. I talked to a farmer in the Wiregrass today, and he said that they had started planting both cotton and peanuts there."
Mark Mitchell, Mitchell Ag Consulting, Inc., Bainbridge, Ga.: "Weíre seeing some shifting Ė a lot less corn and soybeans and more cotton and peanuts. Of the cotton I expect to work, 20% to 25% has been planted. We were dry up to this past weekend (4/24-25). I got three-quarters of an inch at my house in Bainbridge but was told that 2.5 to 3 inches fell in parts of Miller County. Everybody at least got enough rain to get into the field and work for a couple of days without having to water ahead of planting.
"Our cotton thatís been planted seems to be coming up pretty good, although somewhat slowly because of cooler conditions. While it usually comes up to a stand in 4 to 5 days, this part of the crop has been taking 8 to 10 days. We had a lot of wind yesterday (4/26), with some sand moving, primarily in peanut fields with broken ground. We didnít have much sand moving in cotton. A large share of my acres went to strip till this year. Two growers switched entirely because they had to replant some cotton in the previous 2 years because of sand damage."
ALSO ON AGFAX.COM
Optimism in the cotton market, and we havenít even got the crop in the ground yet. 4-26. Cotton Marketing News, Auburn University
Cotton Market Makes Big Moves Based On News From India. What's Next? 4-25. Nunn Cotton Letter