Virginia Cotton: Managing a Crop with Too Much Moisture

Here is today’s math lesson. What does 2 + 1 + 1/10 + ½ + 1/10 + 2/3 + 2/10 + 3/10 equal?  The answer is ENOUGH.  We have a saying about ‘we are only 10 days away from a drought’ when it is not raining.  But what happens with 10 days in a row of rain every day?  I think we are getting ready to find out.

  • One thing to expect is some small boll loss from morning rain on white blooms disrupting pollination, and cloudy days creating a carbohydrate deficiency which makes small bolls shed.
  • The next plant response will be to add more reproductive nodes to the top of the plant as well as help some lower limbs add more growth. This will actually break the cutout condition some of our cotton was getting in and put more small squares on the plant.
  • It takes about 25 days for a new square to bloom. That has the potential to give us a late top crop on a lot of our cotton.
  • For fields with a low boll load, it will be worth waiting on. For cotton that has a good 12 bolls or more per plant, I think we will take the bird in the hand and not wait on late cotton.
  • Expect weeds to germinate when the canopy has not shaded the ground. The rain will dilute the herbicides we had down plus, residual herbicides typically only last 4 to 6 weeks anyway. If the ground is shaded, then no problems are expected.
  • We will start developing strategies for how to manage this crop in August, but the highest priorities are going to be getting pix on late cotton or cotton that has no blooms up high, as well as spraying bugs on cotton that has not been cleaned up.
  • PHY 333 or any of the two-gene Bt varieties are vulnerable to worms as this moth flight picks up. Be sure to use Prevathon or Besiege (NOT INTREPID EDGE) as soon as you can.

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