Virginia Cotton: Rain Sets Up Aug. for More Bolls, Top Crop

Getting some nice rain when cotton has been blooming for three weeks creates the opportunity for the ‘good thing’ to happen. For all but the late crop, we are almost assured of having a long boll set period which, along with good yield prospects, creates a longer period of protection. 

  • The first three weeks of bloom usually sets enough bolls to make average yields if we keep them protected.
  • The timing of this third week of bloom insect spray is based on protecting this core part of the crop. Intensive scouting can sometimes allow you to delay this spray, but more often, scouting confirms that you need to treat.
  • In years like this one when we get a late July soaker, we expect to set bolls from the fourth and fifth week of bloom and above average yields should result.
  • Bolls from these later blooms will also need protection so even though we are in the middle of spraying the first bloom spray, we can already predict the need for another trip is going to be likely.

Growth Management

  • For late cotton or big cotton with a good bit of growth over the blooms, be aggressive with pix now.
  • If your cotton is already 7-8 NAWB then you do not need to add any more growth and aggressive Pix following rain is recommended.
  • I would use more than a pint on 36″ cotton 8 NAWB. If it is 40 inches with 8 NAWB, it needs 1.5 pints.
  • Cotton with blooms up high (5 NAWB) will stop blooming before the last effective bloom date and can actually benefit from more growth now. It will not run away from us while it is filling out the current boll load.
  • If high blooming cotton is currently short, let it grow some now and it also might help keep that late re-growth from getting so bad in late August and September.
  • Adding some growth for the next week or two will add squares that will bloom in August, and these August bolls will be what helps hold this aggressive cotton down.
  • I have observed in larger growing, indeterminate varieties (1646) that when it stays short early in the season with Pix or dry weather, after the core crop matures, it will go back to growing later and get big in late August and September.
  • When the growth gets up to about 40 or 45 inches in July, then it does not seem to get as much of this later growth due to putting the energy in some of the August bolls.
  • We will be able to add more pix on that second bloom spray in August is you leave it out now.

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