Virginia Cotton: Crop Shaping Up Nicely So Far

©Debra L Ferguson Stock Images

It has been a good year to hit the easy button for cotton, at least easy compared to the last several years.

  • Cotton looks healthy with mostly dry conditions but enough rain to keep it going.
  • We have constantly needed that next rain since the middle of June. Some got it but most are hoping for the next few days to get it again.
  • For fertility, cotton got hurt from heavy rain early, but subsequent fertilizer applications and recent rainfall has got cotton looking perfect even though the sizes vary.
  • We really don’t have any need for doing extra in terms of fertility at this point.
  • Wild cotton growth has been rare, so we have not had to sit on cotton with pix this year. Most of the current pix applications are being made in the high moisture areas.
  • Plant bugs remain very spotty and even the thresholds have been borderline.
  • Overall our crop has that typical Virginia – high fruit retention at early bloom status.
  • As corn matures, we should see a buildup of more stinkbugs and plant bugs along with moths that is going to trigger a bifenthrin spray.
  • The cotton that was planted the first week of May will be at third week of bloom next week which is the typical timing for a cleanup spray.

Couple of specific ideas:

  • A dry 10 days is expected after Friday. We still need vegetative development and more squares on most fields and we still have until the end of July to add squares that will result in a mature boll.
  • Keep in mind that the 3rd through the 5th or 6th week of bloom is the high susceptibility / most intensive time for insect management. That will begin next week on the early cotton and last through Labor Day on the late cotton.
  • For pix, this is a below normal growth year.  Make decisions based on soil type and rainfall and plant mapping.  8 nodes or more above bloom needs pix and 6 NAWB is a don’t pix situation. The variety’s name is confusing folks and cotton is cotton.  If it needs it, then it needs it and if it is blooming high, it does not need it.
  • For Bugs, no automatic sprays in 2 gene Bt varieties now until thresholds are reached or third week of bloom.  We need to preserve beneficials for worm protection particularly for 333 but also the BG2 varieties like 1646.

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