Cotton – Southwest – Teaser Showers | Low Temps, Replant? – AgFax

    ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Images

    Larry Stalcup, Contributing Editor

    Debra Ferguson, Editor


    Here is this week’s issue of AgFax Southwest Cotton, sponsored by the Southwest team of PhytoGen cottonseed.


    Persistent dry weather has growers concerned about enough moisture for planting in our northwestern coverage area. Teaser showers Monday evening (5/11) helped, but most didn’t get the rain they needed.

    Aphids and fleahoppers are in the picture on the Upper Coast, while thrips treatments are going out in the Blacklands.

    Look for replants in cotton that’s already up in the northern Texas Panhandle and southwest Kansas. Blame lows in the 30s Tuesday morning and high winds late last week.

    Freeze damage ruined a substantial amount of wheat in southwestern Oklahoma. Yield potential dropped from 60 bushels per acre to barely 4.




    Ben McKnight, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Cotton Specialist, College Station:

    “We’re in the field this morning (5/11) planting research trials west of College Station across the Brazos River. Overall, cotton is coming up. We’re probably at 2 true leaves on many fields, while earlier fields have progressed a little more.

    “There are reports of thrips in the region, but we’ve seen none on the research farm. Weed control appears to be good. With rain forecast for later this week, we’ll likely see flushes of pigweed and grasses in areas where there were no pre-emerge herbicides applied.”


    Gary Beverage, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Artesia, New Mexico/Southwest Texas:

    “We’re 40 to 50% planted. Ground temps are 60-plus degrees, which is promising for the rest of our planting season. The stands we have look good. It’s a little early for thrips, but I’m seeing them in chili peppers and other crops. There are a few armyworms, and we had a good cutworm moth flight.

    “Most guys applied pre-plant burndowns. But there is potential for weed problems due to heavy winter moisture.

    “I feel fairly comfortable about the crop, even though cotton acres will be down about 10-15%. Last year we had issues with seed quality, but seed seems better this year.”


    John David Gonzales, Director of Agronomy, Parmer County Cotton Growers, Inc.:

    “We wrapped up planting early corn and moved to cotton in late April. Temperatures were warm and we had a good soil profile. The earliest plants are coming up now. Overall, we’re about 80% planted and have a good stand.

    “Growers are watching for soil pests and thrips. Also, with sandy soils and heavy organic matter after being planted behind corn or sorghum last year, it’s a perfect storm for seed corn maggots. They are nipping at cotton seedings. Wireworms are also a concern. We’re picking them up where cotton followed wheat. They should be monitored, especially on untreated seed.

    “Weed control looks good. With little moisture and guys burning-down early, everything is fairly clean.”


    Kate Crumley, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Jackson, Wharton & Matagorda Counties:

    “The Upper Coast is a little dry. Cotton is looking okay, even though there are a few places where it appears rough due to dry weather.

    “Lack of rain has helped hold weeds back. Only two fields I watch have bad weed situations, particularly where guys didn’t have time to get pre-emerges applied. There are also patches of henbit and a few grass species.

    “I’m scouting for fleahoppers today (5/11). That’s my main concern. There haven’t been high numbers, but fleahoppers are there, as well as aphids. When scouting, I check about 25 plants per stop in a field. The threshold is 15 to 25 fleahoppers per 100 plants. Growers should check plants once they start squaring.

    “The aphid threshold is 50 aphids per leaf. I remind growers that fleahopper nymphs are the size of aphids, but are much more mobile. I’ve seen quite a few ladybugs, pirate bugs, and other beneficials that should help hold aphid numbers down.

    “Corn in the Upper Coast is looking good, but could also use rain. It’s pollinating well.”


    Scott Meeks, Yield Pro Crop Consulting, Farwell, Texas/Western Panhandle:

    “We finished planting on May 4. That was after a 10-day window of warm temperatures. Unfortunately, some cotton was blown out after winds gusted to 60 mph last Friday (5/8). We’re replanting about 500 acres.

    “Most of mine is conventional-tilled behind corn. We’ll have a dime-size true leaf by next Monday. Weed control looks good. All residuals were applied, and we’ll soon start with our first shot of Liberty and Warrant, along with Orthene and acephate. The acephate should control any thrips pressure.

    “With our decline in groundwater for irrigation, I’ve made it a routine to plant cotton first and then corn. The lighter the water gets, the more it changes your thinking. We can stretch water a little farther by planting corn late. Mine is just now spiking the ground.”


    Joe Renfro, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Southwestern Oklahoma:

    “We’re hoping for rain tonight (5/11) because a bunch of cotton was dry-planted and it needs moisture to come up. Growers have planted about 50 to 60% of their cotton, but very little is up. If it rains early this week and turns off warm, probably all cotton will be planted in southwestern Oklahoma by next week.



    “Weed control looks good. Marestail took off after an early rain, but most guys have it under control. When cotton emerges, we’ll be watching for thrips. Most of the seed is treated, but thrips may move out of wheat at harvest.

    “Wheat freeze damage from the April cold spell is worse than expected for many fields. The crop looked the best it had in years before that freeze. It could have been 60 bushels or better for dryland. Instead, many fields are 4-bushels, or less and won’t be worth harvesting. I’d say we lost 80% in parts of Harmon and Jackson counties. Most of that wheat will be baled for hay. That could mean thrips may not move out as fast.” 


    Kerry Siders, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent Hockley, Cochran & Lamb Counties:

    “Cotton planted a week ago (5/4) is starting to come up, but we need rain. Even though they’ve been irrigating, most producers will wait for rain as long as they can before planting. They want to start in earnest after rain, but I think they will begin planting by the end of this week. Most guys need 14 days to get across their fields, so they don’t want to get behind.

    “Weed control looks good. Growers did well with their burndown programs recommended by AgriLife and Texas Tech weed scientists. They’re still heavily relying on Dicamba and Xtend technology, but we’re also seeing more growers lean on yellows and a variety of other herbicides.

    “Thrips are beginning to show up. If they’re not using a seed treatment, growers need to slow down for 5 to 7 days after planting to determine if they need to apply a foliar insecticide to handle thrips. With the low cotton price, we can’t afford to lose this first planting.”


    Tyler Mays, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Hill County:

    “Guys are replanting a few fields, but most cotton looks good. It’s up, and we have a good stand. Thrips moved into fields about 5 days ago (5/6), and insecticide applications are going out. Aphids are also moving into fields. We can clean up aphids as we clean up thrips, but need to watch for a big resurgence of aphids. Spider mites are also here and there. Rain that’s forecast for tomorrow (5/12) and later this week should help control them.

    “The first rounds of postemergence herbicides are going out. Most fields look clean, but grasses and wild sunflowers are showing up. A few pigweed spots also need to be monitored.

    “Wheat is quickly approaching harvest. Corn looks good, but corn earworms are a problem on non-Bt acreage. Later corn is straggling along and needs rain. But early corn looks good. I’m 6 foot, 3 inches and it’s chest high at V-9 to V-10. Most guys finished applying Aflaguard to protect against aflatoxin.”


    Jerry Stuckey, farmer-retired general manager, Northwest Cotton Growers Co-op, Inc., Moscow, Kansas:

    “Growers have planted a lot of cotton, but we need rain. We had just enough to get the grass wet last night (5/11). A few farmers planted dryland 2 weeks ago and it’s up. But there’s no moisture. Some irrigated cotton is already in, but most farmers shut down Friday due to cold weather that reached the 30s in recent nights.

    “I see a similar number of acres this year, although a few guys backed out due to the low price and the poor crop we saw last year. We doubt if any crops make much money this year.

    “Early weed control looks good. Most guys applied a good burndown, or went across it with Prowl to kill existing weeds and volunteer cotton before they planted.

    “Our gin expansion is mostly complete. The old gin could run 48 to 52 bales per hour, or up to about 119,000 bales annually. The expansion added 4 new stands and one new press. It can gin about 65 bales per hour. If we have a big crop, we could gin 250,000 bales a year.”



    Murilo Maeda, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Cotton Specialist, Lubbock:

    “There were showers and thunderstorms last night (5/11). I got an inch in southwest Lubbock, but most reports are for measurements less than an inch. They range from nothing to 1.5 inches.

    “Quite a few people got started planting last week. We hope to plant our trials in Castro County today, but they got 0.2” of rain. It may not dry out enough to plant. But overall, most areas remain too dry to plant, plus we had a cold front come in that caused worries. There was subsurface moisture, but planting moisture remains scarce.

    “The forecast calls for warm and open weather, maybe a few scattered showers here and there. I think we will see more planting activity this week. It’s still touch and go for growers waiting on better conditions.”


    Tim Ballinger, Ballinger Innovative Agronomics, Dumas, Texas:

    “I had a half-inch of rain on my farm. I’m headed to see fields in Gruver today (5/12), where they only had about 0.02”. Most growers are just now starting to plant, even though we had a low of 39 this morning. One grower at Gruver got started early and finished planting last week. His early dryland emerged, but I fear we’ll have to replant it. Cold temperatures and high winds likely caused damage.

    “It’s so dry, we haven’t been able to get the ground wet enough with irrigation for ideal planting. Early on, guys worried about planting cotton due to low prices and more price pressure from market reaction to COVID-19. But I think the number of cotton acres will be about normal.

    “There are issues with Kochia weed, even after seeing a nice burndown. When we strip-tilled into corn residue, we applied Panther herbicide as a residual in March and April. There were Kochia escapes where there wasn’t enough water to get the herbicide worked in. It’s still our most prevalent weed and hard to control.

    “The majority of my corn is planted. It goes from sprouting to 2 to 3 leaves. But with the cool weather, it is a little yellow right now.”


    Randy Norton, University of Arizona Extension Cotton Specialist, Safford:

    “Most of the state is virtually planted. The crop is off to a good start, but there are a few replantings after heat and wind damage. Overall, it has been a good planting season.

    “Yuma area cotton is at match-head square and still 1 to 2 weeks from bloom. Central and eastern areas are at cotyledon to 1- to 2-leaf, with a few fields at 4-leaf. 

    “Weeds are not a problem. A grower commented this morning that weed pressure is much less than this time last year, and I’m not sure why. But in the next month, we’ll likely have issues with glyphosate resistance since we have seen more of it every year.

    “There is thrips injury on older stuff. We had a wet winter with lots of native weeds. They are probably harboring thrips, cinch bugs and other insects, so guys need to keep an eye out for bugs.”

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    AgFax Southwest Cotton is published by AgFax Media LLC
    Owen Taylor, Editorial Director. It covers cotton production in Arizona, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
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