Virginia Cotton: Defoliate Now Before Overcast Conditions Return

The best conditions for the next couple of weeks will be during the next few days.  Excellent results would be expected using high Dropp rates and relatively low herbicide or Def/Folex rates. 

Beginning Saturday evening, rain becomes more likely.  Off and on sun and rain are expected all of next week and humid conditions until the end of next week.  This pattern is based in part of tropic conditions that can contantly change as we have just experienced.

Some farmers have wondered if defoliating in front of this 5 day period of off and on sunshine and rain that will begin Sunday will create a cracked boll condition at the wrong time that could increase hardlock.

The other side of that coin is that getting the leaves off will help cotton dry out quicker during those periods of dring time which will help reduce hardlock.  I think it generally will not matter and that we will be in a similar position either way which is why I would go ahead and defoliate cotton that is ready to be defoliated during this favorable period.

Keep a close eye out for the ever changing forecast.

Date Day temp Conditions forecast
9-19 to 9-21 Wednesday – Friday 80’s/60’s Dry and Sunny Excellent
9-22 Saturday 87/67 sun and pm rain Fair to marginal
9-24 & 25 Sunday – Monday 81/66 Overcast & rain Poor
9-26 Tuesday 81/70 some sun; pm rain; muggy Fair
9-27 Wednesday 83/64 rain Poor
9-28 Thursday 80/59 mixed Sun and drier good
9-29 Friday 79/59 mixed rain marginal?

Excellent Defoliation Conditions through Friday

We are now in the middle of 4 wonderful consecutive days of sunshine that will offer the best period for defoliation that we are going to see in September. These warm to hot days with plenty of sunshine is one of the key components for fast boll opening and successful leaf removal. 

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This period is expected to end sometime Saturday afternoon or the evening hours going into Sunday morning as the forecast changes back to more clouds and periods of rain and sun for about 5 days. It will probably be a lot like the 5 day period we got when the remnants of Gordon came through the week before Florence.

I guess the crop looks pretty amazing considered how much muggy weather we have had. The greenest and largest cotton is showing the most hardlock, but most of the evaluations have been done while we have been in moist conditions. Now that we have better drying conditions, it looks a bit better.

I believe we have probably suffered some yield loss and while it is still good, it is more variable. Some fields will pick three bales while others are going to be disappointing. The dry conditions in July and mixed plantbug pressure also add to the inconsistency.

If you are spraying during this current period, be sure to use the Dropp as one of the key components.

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