“Overall, though, I think my acres will be up some. I picked up one brand new cotton farmer and another grower is returning to the crop for the first time in 5 years. Each of them will have about 1,000 acres.”
Richard Davis, Davis Ag Consulting, Montgomery, Alabama:
“We’re almost through planting cotton (as of 5/20) and part of that is 150 acres that a farmer will plant behind carinata. We probably finished planting as early as we have in a long time. We jumped in behind a rain and planted a lot. Then we got a couple of rains when they were needed but it wasn’t enough to slow us up much.
“We’ve done just a little spraying for thrips. So far, they’re light, and we won’t spray any more right now.”
Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist, Tifton, Georgia:
“As a whole, thrips are moderate and have really been letting up some in the last week or so. It’s a pretty normal situation here.
“We have had some issues with grasshoppers. That’s not out of the ordinary but a few more people than usual seem to be calling this year about grasshoppers. A lot of cotton is still coming up, so we have plants that are vulnerable. Not a lot of acres are being treated but people do need to be aware that the insect is active in places.
“I’ve had a couple of questions about snails in cotton, which is kind of an oddball thing. If we have any issue like this, it’s more often with slugs than snails. With either, there’s not a lot we can do. We are drying out, so the snails may go away. Slugs or snails tend to develop in isolated areas, typically in wet areas with a lot of residue.”
Ron Smith, Alabama Extension Entomologist:
“We’re still dealing with thrips and that’s the big game in town. A lot of people have called about thrips and plenty of acres have needed to be treated in central and south Alabama this week after the pressure really increased.
“We were expecting high pressure in north Alabama all along but the predictive model indicated that populations would be light in the rest of the state. But our weather shifted away from the averages in the model’s data base, and thrips numbers jumped pretty unexpectedly – to the point that we began sustaining a lot of damage.
“With a good deal of this cotton we’re at 1 to 2 true leaves, which is the stage at which you’d decide whether to treat.
“On another subject, a very solid agronomist with one of the dealer groups reported that threecornered alfalfa hoppers were inflicting damage on some seedling cotton in places along the Florida line. Plants were stunted and turning red, with signs of girdling.
“On yet another front, snails have suddenly become a bigger issue and on a wider scale. In the last week I’ve had multiple reports of snails on seedling cotton. Snails were all across the leaves and weighing down 2-leaf plants to the point that they were bending over.
“This is happening to varying degrees all along our southern tier of counties and into the Florida panhandle and it ranges all the way from Mobile to the Georgia line. Plus, I heard one report that snails were turning up in numbers in one area in Georgia.
“Snail pressure has been increasing here for the last 3 years, which have all been abnormally wet years, but this year is maybe the worst snail pressure we’ve seen. It’s happening in cotton, soybeans and peanuts.
“One major problem last year was that snails left behind huge numbers of shells that were picked up by combines during peanut harvest. Nobody knows quite what to do about this. I’m told that the University of Florida will hold a conference call on Thursday morning (5/23) to discuss it.
“This is a lot worse than I’ve seen them in this area in the past and they really just developed in the last week (from 5/21).”
Johnny Parker, Agronomist, Commonwealth Gin, Windsor, Virginia:
“I’m excited about how this season is starting. Cotton germinated in very warm soil and it’s performing quite vigorously. Even though things are getting quite dry, we have managed to catch some scattered rain when there have been very low chances of precipitation. We have another week or so to go with 90-degree days, warm nights and almost no chance of rain. However, the forecast calls for improved chances of rain in June.
“Planting continues to progress, and many growers will finish this week. Deep planting has been necessary to keep the seed in moisture. It’s an easier decision to make if you are dropping multiple seed per hill, but even single-spaced seed planted in moisture will have a lot of pushing power. I believe there is more risk in planting shallow and moisture leaving the seed than in planting deep, as long as the deep planting gets to the moisture.