Alabama Cotton: Late Oct. Rains Slow Down Harvest

Cotton harvest. ©Debra L Ferguson

The latter part of October ushered in rains which ended an extended period of great harvest weather. Since then, showers and overcast days have interrupted picking regularly, making it difficult to harvest for more than a couple of days at a time. Hopefully, we’re at least 65 to 70 percent harvested.

The USDA October yield estimate for Alabama bumped up slightly compared to the previous months, from 942 to 851 lb/A. Even my colleague Dr. Ron Smith has upped his prediction from 850 to over 900 lb/A, so maybe we’ll get close to a million bales in 2019. I’ve seen some great, good, and bad and am still not quite so bullish.

Below is the November 1 Alabama report from the USDA Macon Classing Office.

USDA Macon Classing Office. November 1. Alabama data.  186,523 bales
Color grade 31 or better 83 percent Average micronaire 4.44
Average leaf 2.89 Average strength, g/tex 29.3
Average staple 35.9 Average Uniformity 80.8
            Extraneous matter:  bark – 1.9 percent     grass – 0.4 percent

Cotton Leaf Roll Dwarf Disease (CLRDD) Update

Also known as Cotton Blue Disease, the formal name for the virus which causes this disease is cotton leaf roll dwarf virus-AL or CLRDV-AL. Click here for a presentation given by Dr. Kathy Lawrence and posted in the Cotton Incorporated Webinar files in which she chronicles the initial findings and confirmation of CLRDV-AL.

AgFax Weed Solutions

Ratooned cotton along with surviving stalks are reservoirs for plant parasitic nematodes as well as the cotton leaf roll dwarf virus (CLRDV-AL).  Stalk survival increases the risk of damaging disease and nematode outbreaks next year in that or surrounding fields.  This issue is particularly acute in extreme South Alabama where fields are not exposed to a killing freezes.

To avoid continued nematode reproduction as well as to eliminate a CLRDV-AL source, stalks should be completely pulled from the ground as quickly as feasible this fall either with a stalk puller, disk harrow, or similar aggressive tillage, or possibly eliminated with herbicides.  Planting a winter small grain or brassica cover crop following stalk pulling or fall tillage may also help suppress winter weeds such as henbit and white clover, which serve as hosts for CLRDV-AL.

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