Dry and drier. Areas from South Carolina into Virginia remain dry, and cotton planting has stopped on a wide basis. Drought-like conditions intensify the further north you go. See comments by Johnny Parker and Ames Herbert.
Wet and wetter. Much of the rest of the Southeast has at least adequate soil moisture. Some rainfall events in the last 2 weeks have been excessive, but the storms also are giving dryland cotton a good head start.
AG MARKETING NETWORK COTTON CALL
A reminder: The Ag Marketing Network will hold a cotton market status and outlook conference call on Thursday, May 13, starting at 7:30 a.m. CDT.
Call 1-866-381-5546 to listen over the telephone.
You can listen live over the internet at www.AgMarketNetwork.net or log on later that on Thursday to listen to a recording of the call. Listeners can e-mail questions to the panel at firstname.lastname@example.org or listeners can call 1-888-795-8071 and the question will be forwarded.
One change in the previously announced program: Owen Taylor, AgFax Southeast Cotton editor, will be subbing for O.A. Cleveland, Professor Emeritus, Mississippi State University.
ALSO ON AGFAX.COM
Doane Closing Cotton Review: Moderately Bullish USDA Report.
Georgia: Cotton market continues to be impacted by actual plantings, crop conditions, and export news 5-10. Cotton Marketing News, Don Shurley, University of Georgia
North Carolina: Burrower bugs seldom cause economic damage to seedlings. 5-07. North Carolina Pest News, NC State U.
North Carolina: Planting Cotton Dry, Options For Producers As Rainless Weather Persists 5-07. Keith Edmisten, Extension Cotton Specialists
Jeremy Greene, Clemson University Cotton Entomologist, Blackville, S.C.: "We’ve gotten a little rain this month, but it’s starting to get dry again. Having enough moisture for germination right now (5/10) would be a concern for most folks. You’d have to plant and hope for a rain at this point. We have a 20% chance today but not much for several days after that. One thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve yet to feel thrips on my arm when I’ve been walking in fields. That’s subjective and observational, but it does indicate that very few thrips are around right now. But, on the other hand, there isn’t enough cotton up yet to really gauge any trend with thrips."
Johnny Parker, Agronomist, Commonwealth Gin, Windsor, Va.: "The last significant rain we had was at the end of March. We had less than an inch during April and never more than a few tenths at a time. It’s been 2 weeks (from 5/10) with zero rain. It’s been dry at planting before, but this is still different because we have a combination of no rain, above-normal temperatures, windy conditions and extremely low humidity. All that has created a truly rare phenomena for this region. This time of year we don’t need a lot of rain, but it also does not take long for that top couple of inches of soil to dry enough to cause planting problems. So, just a little rain this week could provide a huge benefit. The current forecast shows the best chance we’ve had this month – this Wednesday and then again next Monday. And there is a little chance of rain almost every day beginning Tuesday. We might miss it, but I am going to stay hopeful. If we miss it, then we will just have to figure out what to do next."
Clyde Smith, Regional IPM Agent, Jackson County, Fla.: "We got a big chunk of rain with that last front. In part of the county, it rained 2 to 3 inches, but in areas on the west and north sides, amounts ran 7 inches or more in places. But all that is rapidly drying out. A lot of ground has gotten worked up, and people are trying to catch up as quickly as possible. But as the forecast looks right now, we only have slight chances for rain over the next 2 weeks. So, what’s not still sopping wet from the last rain is probably on the verge of getting too dry. We’re 40% to 50% finished with cotton planting, basically a week behind, with that being due to delays that the rain caused. I’ve seen some spray rigs in the field, and I imagine they’re treating thrips in our oldest cotton. Peanut planting is just now going good."
Rome Ethredge, Seminole County, Georgia, Extension Coordinator: "We got 5 inches of rain last Monday evening (5/3), with only scattered showers since then. We do have good deep moisture, but the top is drying out. A lot of planting is going on, both cotton and peanuts. Some spots in the field are still too wet, which create a bit of a problem, but people are still planting where they can, and a lot of cotton and peanuts are coming up, too. We’ve had a little problem on some dryland fields with cotton not coming up after the rain, but emergence looks good in irrigated fields. We’ve seen some herbicide injury, I guess from splashing, but nothing real bad."
Charlie Burmester, Extension Cotton Agronomist, Belle Mina, Ala.: "We’re getting rain right now (5/10) and can use it. Things hadn’t gotten desperate, but you never turn down rain this time of the year. We getting maybe a half inch today. Some cotton was planted earlier, but a lot of people started last Wednesday and kept going into Saturday. A little cotton is up. With these cooler temperatures, it’s kind of sitting there in the cotyledon stage. I haven’t heard of any thrips, and nobody is spraying."
Ames Herbert, Virginia Extension Entomologist: "We’re probably in a worst-case scenario. Conditions are dry, with plenty of wind. We’ve actually had some hot periods, with highs in the upper 80s and low 90s. But we’ve also had a couple nights with lows into the 40s. Lack of rain has brought cotton planting to a halt. And these cold, dry conditions are perfect for thrips. Some rain is in the forecast for tonight (5/11) and tomorrow, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Cotton planted the week before last is up and doing fairly well, getting into its first true leaf. Cotton planted last week, though, was a week drier and isn’t doing well.
"We ran a series of sticky cards for monitoring thrips last week, and they averaged over 100 thrips per card, a fairly high number. They weren’t all thrips that affect cotton, but we had a fairly high percentage of tobacco thrips, which do. We’re also seeing adults crawling on cotton seedling, and volunteer peanuts – our early indicator – have crinkled leaves and brown tips from thrips damage. We sampled leaves last week, with our soapy water assay, and they averaged 1 to 2 adults per sample but only 2 total larvae. So, the larvae weren’t there yet, and they’re the most damaging part of the population. This dry, cold weather slows plant growth, plus it slows uptake of insecticides. If we don’t get rain and consistently warmer conditions soon to improve plant growth, some of our research trials are in jeopardy. This isn’t a pretty way to start a season."
Brandon Dillard, Regional Agronomist, Geneva, Ala.: "Moisture-wise, we’re really in good shape. We got 3.5 to 4 inches of rain in places last week. A lot of wind developed in the last week, too, and that dried out the crust. But you still can find good moisture underneath it. Probably 45% to 50% of the cotton has been planted, and 35% to 40% of that is up. With another 10 days like this, we’ll have the entire crop planted. Conditions are almost ideal. We haven’t seen any thrips. Peanuts are going in the ground, too, and the moisture right now should carry them a good ways, considering the minimal moisture requirement that young peanuts have."
Jack Bacheler, North Carolina Extension Cotton Entomologist: "We’re 50% finished with planting across the state, maybe a little more. But a lot of people have put planting on hold because it’s gotten too dry. A few kept planting after it did get dry, and they’re keeping their fingers crossed and hoping for a rain. With the new varieties, we’re in pretty good shape in terms of planting until about May 22, but we hope to get the balance of our crop planted before then. We’ll still be alright if we can get rain in the next week or so. The most recent forecast shows a slight chance. Growth, overall, has been slow. Some cotton has gone through nights in the high 30s. With cotton growing so slowly, we need to be checking closely for thrips."
Edward Kane, Ind. Crop Consultant, Robertsdale, Ala.: "We’re 10% to 20% finished planting cotton. Most people are putting their priority on peanuts, and I only know of 3 planters putting cotton seed in the ground today (5/11). Our first cotton planting started last Thursday or Friday. We got 1 to 2 inches of rain last Monday (5/3), so moisture is adequate."
Guy Collins, Georgia Extension Cotton Agronomist, Tifton, Ga.: "It was a little cool yesterday and today (5/10), but not too cool to plant. We’ve had good soil temperatures and moisture. Last Tuesday (5/4) when the big front came through it rained 3 to 5 inches across a majority of the state. Planting picked up again by that Friday, and I imagine that everyone is planting now (5/10)."
Gary Swords, Swords Consulting, Arlington, Ga.: "We’re already seeing some weed emergence and have been starting our Roundup sprays and the Ignite on LibertyLink cotton. We got a 4.5-inch rain last Monday (5/3), which has led to some replanting. A lot of our dryland cotton is on mixed, rolling ground, and the rotary hoe bogged down in muddy bottoms, plus some seed simply rotted where water stood too long. On one hand, nobody wants to replant, but all the rain really helped us gain dryland stands that we needed. Some farmers are finished planting cotton, and others haven’t started. Maybe 40% of our cotton has emerged now (5/11). We’re trying to get accustomed to using preemergence herbicides again. We’ve seen some stunting, but the rain should help plants push out of that. Mainly, we’ve gone with Reflex and Prowl, with a lot of it off the planter to try to keep Reflex out of our over-the-top machines. About 20% of our peanuts are planted. That 4.5 inches of rain held things up for a week, but peanut planting is rolling good now."