Oklahoma Cotton: Early Planted Fields Nearing Bloom, Overall Crop in Good Condition

©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

The 2017 cotton planting window is now closed for the state. Overall, it has been a fairly challenging start for many producers, but we believe the overall crop is in good condition. We now have cotton ranging in development from cotyledon stage up through the late squaring stage.

Earlier planted irrigated cotton is progressing rapidly toward bloom. Producers with earlier planted irrigated cotton have been or will soon be cranking up irrigation systems. The Lugert-Altus Irrigation District released irrigation water last week, but the weekend’s excellent rainfall resulted in a stand-down for a few days.

In many dryland fields, the recent rainfall has been beneficial to fill in stands after high winds dried out soil in the seed zone behind the planters. Some areas that have not received a behind-the-planter rainfall are struggling to obtain good stands.

Producers are continuing weed control operations, shaping beds for furrow irrigation, and early season insect management.

The USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service released the 2017 Planted Acreage Report today. According to NASS, they are projecting 470,000 planted cotton acres in the state in 2017. For the state, this is a 55% increase compared to last year’s planted acres, which were 305,000.

Total upland cotton acres in the U.S. were estimated at just under 12 million, up about 20% compared to 2016. If we have a good to excellent production season in the state, the bale volume could once again challenge ginning infrastructure.

We have producers who are new to cotton and some who have planted cotton for the first time in many years. Boll weevil eradication across most of the U.S. Cotton Belt, and in the state has been very successful and is a major contributing factor to the continued profitability of cotton production.

It has been a long, difficult, and challenging task to rid our state and most of the Cotton Belt of this invasive species that for such a long time negatively impacted our production. We all need to do our part in keeping this pest from resurfacing in our state. Some new cotton producers may be unaware of this ongoing program.

It is important for producers who are not familiar with this program to contact the Oklahoma Boll Weevil Organization to make sure their new fields are properly identified and trapped.

Plant Growth Regulators – Updated Handout

With the excellent cotton in some areas where adequate moisture has been encountered, it will be important to be on point concerning the use of plant growth regulators. Mepiquat-based (such as Pix Plus, Mepex, Mepichlor, Mepiquat Chloride, Mepex GinOut, Stance, and others) plant growth regulators (PGRs) have been around for many years.

Companies are constantly enhancing formulations, but the main active ingredient in nearly all of these products is mepiquat chloride. A stand-alone publication has been updated which includes a list of newer varieties, their growth habits, and potential PGR management concerns.

Click here for Cotton Plant Growth Regulators – Producer Handout

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