Virginia Cotton: Crop Looks Good, Developing Faster Than Normal

©Debra L Ferguson Stock Images

One of the challenges of figuring out priorities for us folks in Row-Crop Agriculture is related to timing.  Typically, we humans conduct our lives based on a calendar.  School gets out around the same time each year as well as the major holidays which guide our family and personal plans.  Most vacations are calendar driven.

This same thinking spills over into crop management with ideas of when to plant (have you ever heard anybody say I’m not planting until May or have you ever noticed other folks hit that first warm spell at the end of April like “times a wastin”), when a cotton plant should have the first bloom (everybody knows that is based on an event that occurred almost 250 years ago.)

Oh, and then of course there is the weather. Best laid plans and all that stuff.

So, you can only do what you CAN do and right now, it is not raining all the time, just every day. For the last 8 years, 7 of our growing seasons have been warmer than the 25-year average. What we see coming during this slow, second week of June is that this year is about a week earlier than even the recent average.

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Cotton planted at the end of April or those first days of May or earlier are already squaring quite well and are 250 DD60’s or 14 to 17 days from first bloom. By the calendar, it looks like we have some cushion. However, the advanced stage of the crop and loosing this week from poor field conditions will put the pressure on the earliest cotton for chores like Nitrogen top-dress and weed control.

Even with all this going on, it might just be the prettiest cotton has ever looked during the first half of June.


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