Virginia Cotton: Do I Need to Respray After Rain?

©Debra L Ferguson Stock Images

Good prospects for rainfall for the next several days will have a pretty big impact to set up our expectations for August cotton management.  If we can get a decent amount of rainfall through this weekend, I am expecting two situations.

  1. One is that we will be locking in more yield potential on what already seems to be a bit better than average.
  2. The second dynamic of rainfall is that it tends to dilute the residual characteristics of some of the insecticides that we use.

Whether or not cotton is going to need respraying is sort of like a three-legged stool.

  • The first leg is this rain that we are likely to get. We normally expect to get 2 or three weeks of an interval if we got a good kill from our initial application. When it rains, the interval will tighten up because the residual benefit is reduced.
  • The second leg of this stool is of course related to whether insects are present in the field. August is normally the month with the heaviest infestation and insects also tend to do better when it is raining than when it is dry.
  • Finally, the third leg is Crop maturity. Cotton gets safe after cutout with bolls all the way to the top.
  • I would say that some of the cotton planted back in April will be in that heavy cutout stage next week, unless it stalled out and added more squares in the top from the last rains we have gotten.
  • I did see some early planted fields that got pix early and then no rain for several weeks. Once it started raining these fields got going again and it will take some time in August for these squares to bloom out, whereas fields that were planted early and kept getting nice rain at the beginning of July are going to cutout soon.
  • Later planted or cotton that was stressed early then recovered is considered younger cotton and will continue to bloom and set bolls in August that will require continued management.
  • Don’t walk away from it too soon if it is still setting August bolls. Planting date is only part of the equation.

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