Virginia Cotton: Heat Units Ahead on Late Planted Crop

    ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

    Cotton DD-60’s for Holland have passed 2100, and both Capron and Waverly are not far behind surpassing 2000 over the weekend. Once we pass 2000 DD-60’s we start thinking of finding some early fields that are ready to defoliate, only it’s not quite that easy.

    • First of all, the measurement for these heat units begins on May 1 and we did not plant very much cotton this early.
    • In addition, the cotton plant has a way of responding to rainfall by adding on some late crop sometimes which creates some questions about whether or not to wait for the top bolls to mature.
    • Better soils also tend to hold more top fruit than lighter soils and when you have both types of soil in the same field, you also have a more difficult decision on when to pull the trigger.
    • Cotton is ready for defoliation when closed bolls are 4 nodes above the top cracked boll. Also we like to see tan seed coats in top bolls that are difficult to cut with a sharp knife.
    • Usually you can see a few white bolls across the top of the plants from the field edge when it is ready.

    Last week, there were hardly any fields like this north of 460, but around the state line; we should be close to starting in a few days to a week. I was surprised how inconsistent things seemed to be last week from field to field. Maybe we will get a clearer picture on how fast this crop is coming along.

    Temperatures are supposed to be a little more comfortable than they have been but still above normal for this time of year through the remainder of September.




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