“Some of our cotton is at the 4-leaf stage, maybe a little further along than that. But that’s just a very few hundred acres. A lot of seed is still in the ground. It was planted ahead of the last heavy rains and it’s in sandy ground, so crusting is a concern. I’m not sure how much of it will finally emerge.
“In places, growers didn’t apply a preemerge. Those fields are growing up a little but the farmers will count on the technology they selected. Others did go with a preemerge.”
Dennis Reginelli, Area Extension Agent and Agronomist, East-Central Mississippi:
“We should make great progress this week in finishing cotton planting in Noxubee and Lowndes Counties. If we don’t finish, we’ll be close. The wind is drying out fields really fast, so that’s making this a bit more challenging.
“Even though it’s late, I think we’re okay. When I transferred to Extension from research in 1991, it was wet and a lot of cotton that year was planted late. But we still made really good yields.
“The heat units this week will bring cotton up fast and we should be rowing it in 4 days. I don’t have any reason to be concerned about seedling disease. Right now, we have a good environment for cotton and it should grow out a good root system.”
Phillip McKibben, McKibben Ag Services, Mathiston, Mississippi:
“Probably a fourth of our expected cotton crop has been planted by now (5/21). Planting is underway today and we still have a good forecast. We certainly have plenty of moisture and farmers are pushing hard to get seed out.
“Maybe 300 to 400 acres have been up long enough that I’ve checked them twice. None of it is pretty. It’s been through a lot. In one field, 85% of the seed rotted before it could emerge. I’m not sure if that was a seed quality issue or some other problem. On those acres, it actually didn’t rain that much.
“Soybeans aren’t on the table this week in terms of switching away from cotton. But if we don’t have all the cotton planted a week from now (5/21), they could be. Quite a few corn fields are drawing prevented planting. Most of the intended corn, though was planted.
“It’s been a tough start for corn. Stands were perfect on maybe one or two fields and that was about it. We’ve had difficult decisions to make about whether to keep current stands or replant. I’ve been working on a corn replanting decision model based more on actual measurements than on simple observations and opinion.
“A farmer asked me to look over a field that he expected to replant. After measuring the bare spots, I found, in fact, that the field as a whole still had 96% of its original yield potential. However, that wasn’t readily visible due to the lay of the land. What was more visible was the 4% that had little or no stand. I measured out those areas in the field to reach my percentages.
“Of course, this was not his original goal when he planted, but he still had 96% with normal yield potential, even if the other 4% was mostly bare dirt. If he did replant on that date – which wasn’t an option at the time – the best he could hope for was a 92% yield potential because of the delay penalty. And that also hinged on the weather cooperating so that he could replant and then gain a perfect stand.
“If one heavy rain came through, he might be back to square one. As it was, 96% of his existing stand had full yield potential.
“Not all fields are that clear cut. You might have some with a good stand on 70% or 75% of the acres. From there, I’ve started evaluating that remaining portion in thirds and judging yield potential. Some of it might have 50% of a normal population and another portion might be down to 4,000 plants an acre. But all that still contributes to yield, which needs to be factored into the decision.
“Really, you want to measure and count instead of estimating. Most of us think we’re good at estimating but we’re not. Also, emotion enters into this and you can be negatively influenced by how bad parts of the field look. If you’ve got 88% yield potential, that’s not good, but if you’re looking at a 22% yield penalty if you replant on a given date, the chance of improving your yield is negligible.
“That doesn’t count the cost of killing the first planting, buying seed, running the planter and other inputs.”
Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee:
“Based on a few calls and what I’m seeing in plots, there are no major issues right now (5/21) with thrips. One thing to look for, though, are cutworms. I have had a number of calls about them and they seem to be a little more active this year than in the past.
“With the wet weather this spring, I expected that slugs would be active, but they’ve been spotty. A few people called about snails, but it turned out to be slugs. Most calls in the last couple of weeks have been about armyworms in weeds, with some spraying in wheat and a little in corn. Sometimes they migrate into corn or they might be in cover crops and start feeding on corn when it emerges.”
Dale Wells, Ind. Cotton Services, Inc., Leachville, Arkansas:
“We’re probably 75% planted (as of 5/20) and have all stages of cotton, from first true leaf to cotton that was just in the ground before the rain hit Sunday night (5/19). That rain totaled 2 to 2.5 inches in this area.