Owen Taylor, Editor
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Another round of rain across much of the region has once again put cotton planting on hold. Plenty of progress has been reported since last week. In the first half of this week it also was dry enough in some areas to drop into fields. But the rains that started Tuesday night (5/13) will sideline a wide portion of the Midsouth for the rest of this week.
Several of our contacts say that young stands mostly look good, thanks to warm conditions and moisture. Cooler temperatures are setting in, which isn’t good news, but warm weather is expected to return as we approach the end of the week.
Some replanting has been necessary, mainly in early-planted fields. Cold, wet weather has been a factor but herbicide injury also might have played a role in certain cases. Also, hard-packing rains made it impossible for seedlings to emerge in some locations.
Thrips are being treated on a limited basis in Louisiana. Slugs and snails have been active in places in Tennessee.
Potential for pigweed outbreaks is a concern. Growers in many cases have not been able to make key herbicide applications, either because they focused entirely on planting or it was too windy to make treatments.
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Steve Schutz, Ind. Consultant, Coushatta, Louisiana: “Our cotton ranges from some that’s just germinated to fields at the second leaf. We’ll have to treat cutworms and thrips on about 80 acres. Vegetable producers have been spraying thrips since March. Where we’re spraying cotton for thrips, the seed was treated. I’m finding juveniles, not just adults. So far, we haven’t found any pigweed escapes in cotton. Farmers are worried about it.”
John Stobaugh, Stobaugh Cotton Consulting, Inc., McGehee, Arkansas: “Our cotton planting is 99% finished. Most is up and doing fine.”
Darrin Dodds, Mississippi Cotton Specialist: “We’re making good progress with cotton planting. Like we’ve seen in recent years, we make most of that progress in a relatively short time, which is a testament to what farmers can quickly accomplish now. Roughly speaking, we’ve planted about half the crop in 10 days.
“While the weather hasn’t been as bad as what we had last year, we’ve still had delays. People really couldn’t start much before the weekend before last, then made more progress last week until all the rain started. In some areas farmers were still able to get in the field early this week for 2 or 3 days. But the rain that started last night (5/13) began shutting things down again. Amounts have varied so far, but Arkansas is covered up with rain, based on the radar, and I suspect that will continue shifting our way and put us on hold again.
“If I have a concern right now, it’s weed control. Growers weren’t able to apply herbicides due to the push to plant cotton and then all the wind and rain. That could lead to problems down the road, especially with pigweed if we can’t get pre herbicides down soon enough. I’m hearing about some replanting where people went early and ran into cool conditions, then rain and then more cool weather. Also, some herbicide injury is evident, which could be a factor.”
Bill Robertson, Arkansas Extension Cotton Specialist: “Based on the radar right now (morning, 5/14), it looks like it’s raining everywhere in Arkansas. We did make a lot of progress with cotton planting last week, enough that some growers with smaller amounts of acreage essentially finished. But our big cotton growers are probably around 70% finished.
“With some of this recent wet weather the temperatures haven’t dropped much, so conditions were good for germination and emergence. People have told me that their cotton is up to as good a stand as they’ve seen in a long time. One consultant who works a lot of acres said that he thought every seed came up. But we are moving into cooler conditions with this system, and we’re expecting lows in the high 40s and highs only in the 60s for a few days.
“The weather is suppose to warm up as we move toward next week. I’m just hoping we don’t lose any stand with this cooler turn. As fast as a lot of this cotton came up, we may be okay. When we’ve had trouble with seed treatment performance in the past, the cotton grew slowly. This crop has generally moved fast up to now. A lot of cotton is just getting to a stand, but if the weather warms up quickly, that should put things in gear again and we’ll miss any problems.”
Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee: “Everyone has been really busy in the last 7 to 10 days putting the crop in the ground, but all the rain has stopped us in most of the state. Where we have planted, a little cotton is just poking through the ground but the majority hasn’t been planted yet.”
Dan Fromme, Louisiana Extension Cotton And Corn Specialist: “We’re around 80% planted, maybe a little more. We probably would have had more planted by now but didn’t have moisture in parts of central Louisiana last week, so planting pretty well halted ahead of last week’s rain. We got more rain over the weekend, with enough to plant, but now it started raining last night (5/13) and this morning, so we’ll be sitting better for moisture when we can get in the field again.”
Tucker Miller, Ind. Consultant, Drew, Mississippi: “We’re through planting cotton and most of it is up. We had a little early cotton that went through all those heavy rains several weeks ago, and all that rain packed things pretty good. We had to run a rotary hoe on some fields. Part of that early cotton came up without any help, but we also had to replant some of it. We’ve got fields up to 2 true leaves now.
Two-leaf cotton this week in Mississippi. Click to enlarge. Photo: Tucker Miller.
“Thrips are unusually low. In one case a grower planted 300 acres and went with Cruiser, which made me a little nervous, considering that Extension entomologists have been citing some resistance issues. But I haven’t seen any problems yet. That’s probably due to the fact that the wheat is still green and continues holding thrips, so we haven’t seen them move in mass yet. I think they will, but some of our older cotton may outrun them.
“Peanut planting has started but I don’t know of any that are up. I wish we’d been able to start a little sooner. I always tell my growers that with peanuts you’ve got to start early so you can finish late.”
Keith Collins, Richland Parish Extension Agent, Rayville, Louisiana: “Cotton is mostly planted, probably 80% to 90%, but with all the rain the progress has varied. Some farmers have finished while others have barely started. We had a long dry spell leading up to last week, then got some big rains in places.”
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