Cotton – Midsouth – Planting Progress In Mostly “Okay” Conditions – AgFax

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    Laykyn Rainbolt, Contributing Editor

    Owen Taylor, Editor

    Here is this week’s issue of AgFax Midsouth Cotton, sponsored by the Midsouth Cotton Team of Amvac Chemical Corporation.


    Cotton planting picked up steam over the last week. Rainfall continues to add delays, but not on a region-wide basis.

    Cold temperatures are in the forecast going into the weekend. With poor planting forecasts in the near-term, some growers will hold off on covering more acres until warmer conditions return; others will take a chance and plant.



    Bob Griffin, Griffin Ag Consulting, Jonesboro, Arkansas

    “None of my cotton is up to a stand yet. A grower planted a 22-acre field two weeks ago today (5/4), and I checked it today. It’s not going to make it, and it will have to be replanted. The earliest cotton besides that was planted four days ago, and those seeds have sprouted and could make it – if temperatures down to 43 later in the week don’t kill it.

    “Quite a bit of cotton has been planted in a short time when people could move into the field. Maybe 10%-plus of our intended acres have been planted and, again, most of that planting started four days ago.

    “I have been going wide open since last Friday planting cotton and soybeans. The weather is still working against us, though. A hail storm this afternoon hit parts of Jonesboro where I live, and my wife sent me a photo of our flowerbed covered up with half-inch hail. I don’t know whether it just fell in town or outside of Jonesboro.

    “That much hail would have destroyed any corn if it had hit it. I received a report that half-inch to three-quarters of an inch hail also fell at Cash. It rained two inches yesterday in Blytheville and 1 to 2.5 inches fell from Jonesboro north, with more today. Marianna, on the other hand, hasn’t had rain since last Thursday.

    “More rain is in the forecast tomorrow, just a 20% to 30% chance, but they’re predicting a 60% chance in the area on Friday with lows dropping into the 40s over the weekend.

    “My corn in Marianna looks really good. A few soybeans are up. I don’t think any of my clients have started planting peanuts around Marianna. They’ll try to plant the soybeans and cotton first.”

    Steve Schutz, Ind. Consultant, Coushatta, Louisiana

    “It’s a hot, sunny day with the temperature at 85, which is nice. Everywhere I’ve been today (5/4), people can plant. Cotton planting just started today, and all my cotton farmers are rolling.

    “Soybeans really surprised me where they’ve been planted. Except for a small amount of spot replanting, they’ve come up to a really nice stand. Plenty of them popped up before our last hard rain. The ground had dried up, but the wind was so bad that it caught some seedlings in the crust. But, that didn’t turn out to be as bad as I expected.

    “We have a small chance of rain tomorrow night and Wednesday, but maybe just 30%.

    “A lot of people took prevented planting on corn, but my clients still managed to plant 3,000 to 4,000 acres. With the prevented planting, my corn will be off about 2,000 acres, which isn’t bad with all things considered. Prevented planting has been really unusual where I work. I think the last time farmers filed a lot of claims was in 2016 when we had big floods.”

    Bill Robertson, Arkansas Extension Cotton Specialist

    “Rain is still a factor and colder temperatures also are figuring into growers’ decisions about when to plant. Mississippi County received rain last night (5/3), and the computer showed that an inch fell in Manilla.

    “We planned to plant a trial near Harrisburg, but a little shower fell yesterday and another one came through today. The farmer said it will be Wednesday – maybe – before we could do anything at that location.

    “On top of that, temperatures will drop. Over a three-day stretch, the average for the highs and lows will be less than 60 each day. Conditions look okay today, but the DD-60 accumulation for Tuesday through Thursday will be less than 10. Over the next 15 days, conditions will be cool, and none of the days will rate ‘excellent’ in terms of DD-60 accumulations.


    “While the near-term planting forecast is very poor, some farmers will likely roll the dice and stick seed in the ground anyway. As bad as things look in terms of planting conditions, they could turn worse. That’s how they are looking at it, and they don’t want to plant cotton too late into May.

    “With cotton planted after May 20, research shows a 2% per day drop in yield. If people do jump in and plant in less-than-ideal conditions this month, part of the risk might be offset by the fact that we can choose from some pretty strong varieties.

    “Also, seed quality is quite good this year, certainly compared to 2019 when a good deal of seed was rather marginal. If we had had this year’s weather with last year’s seed, this crop would have been set back in a major way.

    “But these lower temperatures can’t be completely ignored, and I know people who planned to plant today but then decided to hold off until we moved past this three-day cold snap – and they hope they’re not messing up.”

    Ashley Peters, Peters Crop Consulting, Crowville, Louisiana

    “We’re probably halfway finished with cotton planting, maybe a little better than that, and we may push that up to 75% before Friday when it’s supposed to rain again.

    “One reason that we’re that far along with cotton planting has to do with our cotton acres being off about 50%. What will be planted this year won’t take long.

    “Very little cotton is up yet. The oldest is maybe starting to put on one leaf here and there. Growers planted some of it on the early side, but the majority went in late last week and this week.”

    Tyson Raper, Cotton and Small Grain Specialist, University of Tennessee

    “A few people started planting over the weekend – Friday and Saturday and then a little into Sunday. But a front moved through late Sunday.

    “More rain apparently fell in the northern part of the state, generally a half-inch. Towards our lower tier of counties, the amounts tapered off to less than a tenth of an inch. Enough fell to put things on hold through today (5/4), then another front moved through this afternoon.

    “Most growers will hold off on an immediate planting due to cooler weather developing. The forecast says it could drop into the low 40s on Wednesday night, with lower 40s again on Saturday and Sunday. I was told that one forecast said the lows might even ease into the upper 30s.

    “All of that will keep everything in the barn for the rest of this week. We can put in a lot of acres in a short time when the weather cooperates, but at this point I’d prefer leaving a lot of seed in the bag.”

    Dan Fromme, Louisiana Extension Cotton And Corn Specialist

    “Overall, 10% to 12% of our expected cotton acres have been planted. But after five-plus inches of rain last week, we couldn’t work over the weekend.

    “The ground is drying up fast now (5/4). In parts of the state, people are in the field again. If the weather stays with us, I think we can plant a significant part of this crop, although next week’s forecast looks less than favorable – more rain and cooler temperatures.”

    Ty Edwards, Edwards Ag Consulting, LLC, Water Valley, Mississippi

    “One part of the area that I work has already had 4 more inches of rain than the average annual rainfall, and it’s only May 5. Conditions are drier right now, though. With that last system that came through, we received a glancing blow, so it didn’t delay things much.

    “A few cotton planters started rolling on Saturday and Sunday, then more moved into the field yesterday. It’s kind of drizzling today, but people will continue planting today and tomorrow, then they will probably pause ahead of colder weather and heavier rain that’s in the forecast for Friday.

    “Soybean planters are running, too. In fact, most people are planting both cotton and soybeans if they can scratch up enough people to sit in the tractor seats.

    “One grower is still planting corn, and he’s determined to go until May 15. All he’ll raise this year is corn – no soybeans or cotton. He’s concerned about putting in a late bean crop with redbanded stink bugs already in the area. I’ve found them in roadside clover in Yalobusha County not far from my home. With weak soybean prices and the potential cost for treating redbanded multiple times, he didn’t see much meat left on the bone with soybeans.”

    Blake Foust, Consultant, Southern Heritage Cotton, LLC, Forrest City, Arkansas

    “Everyone is running wide open and making progress with planting. Probably 60% of our intended cotton has been planted by now (5/5), and most of that has happened since last Friday (5/1).

    “A small amount of cotton went in the ground a week ago, and it’s emerging now.


    “Our cotton acres will be down. Some guys over the last few years haven’t owned cotton pickers. With the cotton market down this much, they can’t justify paying someone to harvest their cotton, so they won’t be in the crop this year.

    “We’ve had a pretty good run with soybean planting, although that probably will stretch out until sometime in June. Growers who moved out of cotton this year moved into beans, and those who finished planting corn shifted into soybeans in a hurry.

    “Four of my clients will plant a limited amount of milo this year, I guess for rotation. They’re reasoning that they can’t make any money on anything, so they might as well plant milo and get some benefit out of it. We did okay managing sugarcane aphids in milo last year.

    “Peanut planting is moving along pretty fast, and that really got going well last Friday.”

    Brian Pieralisi, Extension Cotton Specialist, Mississippi State University

    “A lot of areas missed these recent rains, and planters are running wide open. Farmers are in the field everywhere that I’ve had contact. All of our cooperators are trying to work us into their schedules.

    “We planted two county demonstration plots today – in Leflore and Lowndes Counties – and another is scheduled for tomorrow (5/5), along with a couple of grad student trials. If we miss rain tomorrow, we’ll set up a couple of our on-farm variety trials.”

    Scott Gifford, Gifford Crop Consulting, Manila, Arkansas

    “It’s been a start-and-stop situation. We’ll plant for a day or two, then another inch of rain falls. Another inch fell yesterday and last night, so fields are muddy again today (5/5).

    “We’re probably 35% to 40% finished with planting our intended cotton acres. We had a good ,but short, run over the last three or four days. Growers can cover plenty of ground with the planters they have now, so we made some progress over the weekend.

    “We’re finished planting corn, with just spot planting in a couple of fields where low spots held water. Mostly, we’re just trying to cover bare spots.

    “Soybean planting hasn’t gone too well yet. Probably 25% of the crop has been planted. Usually by now, we’re mostly finished with beans. We sprayed some wheat last week for armyworms. This isn’t a wheat crop we’re proud of. Too much rain fell in the winter and into the spring, and wheat didn’t survive in the low spots.”

    Sebe Brown, Louisiana Extension Field Crops Entomologist

    “In the past week, I’ve looked at a few central Louisiana cotton fields that appeared to have severe thrips injury, yet no adult or immature thrips were present.

    “Thrips are often one of the first factors people attribute to seedling cotton injury. However, several other things can contribute to early-season cotton injury. These include cold temperatures, insect feeding, pre-emergence herbicides, sandblasting, seedling disease and water stress.

    “At least so far, thrips numbers appear to be low this year, although that can change quickly. On our blog, I posted information about treatment options should that be necessary.”

    AgFax Midsouth Cotton is published by AgFax Media LLC
    Owen Taylor, Editorial Director.
    Working-Copy%5B1%5D.jpgThis weekly report is distributed during the cotton production season. It is available to United States residents engaged in cotton farming, field scouting and other qualifying ag professions. Mailing address: 142 Westlake Drive, Brandon, MS 39047. Office: 601-992-9488.
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