Oklahoma: ‘Best Looking Cotton Is Still in the Bag.’

Photo: Louisiana State University

The weather still dominates the start of the 2019 cotton season. Cooler than normal and saturated fields has prevented the start of planting this year. Dr. Mile Karner in the early 1990’s once said at end of May “Best looking cotton is still in the bag”. Hopefully the weather will start cooperating. Planting conditions are not ideal nor will be until next week.

Every field needs to be evaluated at time of planting to ensure that good emergence occurs. This is critical because of seed availability and the shorter planting window replanting may not be an option.

Crop Conditions

Cool wet condition has delayed planting, the following is an excerpt from Cotton Comments Volume 9 edition 1 April 10, 2019. This is usually a late April or early May issue not mid-May.

“The optimum temperature for cotton germination is near 85 degrees F°. Cooler temperatures can lead to poor stands or stand failures if the correct conditions align. Under cool temperatures the physiological processes involved in germination can be very slow which can in turn result in slow growth and perhaps increased susceptibility to various seedling disease pathogens.

It is suggested that planting be delayed until 1) mid-morning temperatures in the rooting zone exceed 60 degrees F° at a 6-inch planting depth, and 68 degrees F° at the 2-inch depth; 2) the five-day forecast indicates dry conditions and at least 25 DD60 heat units; and 3) the five-day forecast projects low temperatures above 50 degrees F°.

The standard calculation for cotton DD60 heat units is:

((maximum air temperature, F° + minimum air temperature, F°) / 2) – 60 = DD60 heat units

Essentially, the average air temperature for the day is determined and the 60 degree F° developmental threshold for cotton is subtracted. The DD60s for each day are then totaled. If one has faith in the local forecast, then the projected high and low for the following several days can be used to calculate DD60s.

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Planting conditions for rapid germination and emergence include:

  1. high quality seed with good to excellent Cool Germination Test data (>60%)
  2. a favorable 5-day forecast
  3. minimum air temperature of at least 50 degrees Fº, and maximum air temperature of at least 80 degrees
  4. plant into a firm, moist seedbed about 1 inch deep but not more than 2 inches deep”

2019 Dicamba Training

Applicators planning to use specific dicamba herbicides labelled for the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop SystemTM for soybeans and cotton must complete U.S. Department of Agriculture-approved dicamba training before spraying these products this year.

“Whether you’re a certified applicator or driving the application equipment you have to be trained,” said Todd Baughman, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension summer crop weed specialist. “Even if you went through training last year, you’re still required to go through the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry approved training this year.”

Only the ODAFF, Extension and the three major manufacturers – Monsanto, DuPont and BASF – are authorized to provide the training. To be certified please contact your local extension office.

Oklahoma Boll Weevil Eradication Organization

Brenda Osborne, Director of the Oklahoma Boll Weevil Organization, based at Altus, provided the information below. Eradication of the boll weevil 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 expensive 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. Since 1998 the producers of Oklahoma has spent $37,218,599 to eradicate and provide a maintenance program.

There is still a difficult fight with this insect pest in south Texas, and we all need to do our part in keeping this pest from resurfacing in our state.

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OBWEO is preparing for the upcoming 2019 cotton season. It is our responsibility to ensure the continued success of this program. With all the talk of a significant increase in cotton acres, there are some important issues with respect to OBWEO that you need to be aware of. If you have been growing cotton for the past 3-5 years, we know where those fields are located. However, if you are a new producer or have not grown cotton in several years, we need you to provide the legal descriptions of these new cotton fields.

There is a Boll Weevil Assessment for harvested cotton acres. The current assessment is $2.50 per harvested acre. This assessment is reviewed annually. The trapping density this year is one trap per 640 acres. In areas where planted cotton acreage density is high, not all fields will actually have a trap near it. In other areas that are more isolated, each field will need a trap.


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