Oklahoma Cotton: 2014 Extension Cotton Project Annual Report

    In 2014, 230,000 acres were planted with 210,000 acres expected to be harvested, according to USDA-NASS. This was a significant improvement over the 2013 crop year. Abandonment was due to extreme drought conditions in some areas. The continuing drought and lack of irrigation water in the Lugert-Altus Irrigation District contributed to abandoned acres. Other groundwater-based irrigated acreage was plagued by significantly reduced pumping capacity.

    Due to some timely summer rainfall, some growers in the Lugert-Altus Irrigation District were able to harvest many low yielding fields to contribute to the overall state production estimated by USDA-NASS at 235,000 bales – the highest production since 2010. As of February 13, 2015, a total of 226,432 bales had been classed by USDA-AMS at Abilene, TX. Average fiber quality has been good to excellent.

    The continuing Exceptional (D4) category drought in far southwestern Oklahoma (Harmon, Greer, Jackson, Tillman, Comanche, and Kiowa counties) is very serious. Significant, above average rainfall is needed to alleviate the exceptional drought situation.

    The crop was planted later than usual but exceptional fall weather helped maturity. This was due to lack of early May rainfall, but by June, enough precipitation had been received for growers to initiate planting in most areas. Early thrips pressure developed in Tillman County and other small pockets throughout the state. Control sprays were very effective. Cotton fleahopper pressure was persistent and multiple control sprays were used in many fields.

    Stink bugs appeared late, but infestations were confined to only areas with adequate irrigation. Population trends, insect updates, and control tips were published in the Cotton Comments Newsletter and distributed to the state’s cotton producers and consultants to help formulate management strategies to enhance profitability.

    Field surveys were conducted in 7 counties with a total of 19 fields. Insect pressure as well as plant development were recorded and reported in the newsletter.

    The other good news is that the USDA-AMS Classing Office at Abilene is reporting that color and leaf grades, staple, micronaire, strength, uniformity, and bark contamination have all been good to excellent for many producers. This is based on classing results for about 221,000 bales of Oklahoma cotton classed through February 10, 79% have been color grades 11, 21 or 31, with 52% with color grade 11 or 21 – the best possible.

    Leaf grades have averaged 2.9 with 38% exhibiting leaf grade 1 or 2 – the best quality possible. Bark contamination is present in about 20% of the bales classed thus far. Staple (fiber length) has averaged 35.3 32nds. This is good considering the significant moisture stress encountered in August, and we have nearly one-fourth of the crop with a 37 or longer staple, with an additional 27% classed as a 36.

    Micronaire (a measure of maturity) averaged 4.4 units, with 81% in the 3.5-4.9 range. Currently our strength average is 31 g/tex, with nearly 83% classed as 30 g/tex or higher. It is of utmost importance that growers make good decisions with respect to varieties planted. The Extension cotton crop management program is critical to this success.

    Incidentally, the Oklahoma-ginned bales classed at Abilene thus far from the 2014 crop have the highest average staple and strength averages, and this again is a result of wise variety selection. The Abilene classing office serves east Texas, a portion of west Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

    The full PDF report can be found here.

    Topics covered:

    • Variety Performance – Page 7
    • Weed Control – Page 53
    • Lugert-Altus Irrigation District Deep Soil Sampling Program – Page 88
    • Entomology and Plant Pathology – Page 95
    • Harvest Aids – Page 106
    • Beltwide Cotton Conference Presentations – Page 111
    • Peer Reviewed Journal Articles – Page 133
    • Appendix – Page 140

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