“It’s not normal for us to be this late planting cotton. We’re been talking about cutoff dates, and I think we need to finish planting cotton this week. Last year we wrapped up cotton planting between May 26 and May 28. The yields were actually pretty good from those fields. Granted, that cotton was on really good land, but it was planted late and harvested late.
“You can plant cotton later than May 20 or May 22, but you start pushing more of your harvest deeper into November. The possibility of leaving ruts increases the later into November you go, and those ruts have to be dealt with the next year.
“I looked at some cotton last Friday (5/15) that had a pretty good stand despite going through temperatures in the low 40s. It was a little on the yellow side since the chlorophyll hadn’t activated yet, but a little sun will take care of that.
“We’ve been caught by rain after rain this year, and I’m not just talking about showers but genuine rain. It’s partly cloudy today, but a bit of sunlight is shining through. Our ground is still wet. I drove to New Madrid this morning (5/18) and passed field after field with standing water. I’m sure farmers intended for some of that land to go to rice, with soybeans filling in the gaps, but I don’t know what will happen to those acres now.”
Tyler Hydrick, Hydrick’s Crop Consulting, Inc., Jonesboro, Arkansas
“I don’t have an exact percentage, but a big portion of our intended cotton crop has been planted. Some guys are done, others are almost done, and a few still have quite a bit left. The amount of cotton that growers have been able to plant mainly depends on how much rain fell on their fields, when it fell, how sandy the ground is and how fast it dries out.
“Plenty of rain fell on a patchy basis in the last week, and there’s a chance (as of 5/18) for rain every afternoon this week.
“A lot of our cotton is up. We planted a good amount of acres right before that cold snap, but we really haven’t had that big of a problem with cold weather. I’ve heard horror stories from Tennessee about some farmers having to replant a significant amount of cotton.
“Out of a couple thousand acres I evaluated yesterday, we’ll replant 20 acres. Otherwise, nothing I’ve seen looks terrible. Stands are good, and seed quality has held up well. The main problem is simply being able to plant these last fields.
“Soybeans are in a similar situation. Some guys have planted all their intended acres but others have none planted at all. Non-GMO growers don’t have any soybeans planted. But Mississippi County growers have planted a big part of their crop and most of that is up to a good stand.
“I don’t think we’ve had any major issues with soybeans. Maybe a few low ends flooded out, but cold weather hasn’t really affected them. It’s nice to have good seed quality this year – with both soybeans and cotton – after the crazy year we had in 2019 with highly variable seed quality.
“Our peanuts are in really good shape. We’re trying to get crack sprays out and clean up areas where we couldn’t make burndown applications. Some aren’t up to a full stand yet but I can’t think of any problems we’re having in the peanuts.”
Brian Pieralisi, Extension Cotton Specialist, Mississippi State University
“I haven’t seen an official number, but I think we’re pretty far along in cotton planting. I’d say what hasn’t already been planted will be this week.
“Most of the cotton is off to a good start and most everything planted last week began emerging yesterday (5/18) and was up pretty good by today. No one has called about problems with emergence. One guy might have stand issues where he planted into a standing cover crop, and I’ll look at that tomorrow. Overall, though, it’s been pretty quiet. No news is good news, I suspect.
“Depending on if the weather stays dry, we might have thrips issues. But if we receive some rain, thrips won’t be an immediate concern.”
Trey Bullock, Bullock’s Ag Consulting, Hattiesburg, Mississippi
“We’re 80% planted, I’d say, and a lot of that planting was done last week. The cotton I’m looking at today (5/19) is just busting the ground. A small amount of my cotton also was planted in the last week of April.
“I looked at plenty of cotton fields today and there were no issues – because very little of it is up and there’s nothing to have any issues on yet. But a good deal of my cotton will be up in two days. What I do have up looks good. We’ll have a little to replant due to heavy rains last week in one area.
“Since last Thursday (5/14), the rains on our cotton were more like they had been prescribed. They were exactly what struggling cotton needed to break through the crust. With our recently planted cotton, enough rain fell to pop it up, as well. The one exception was in Covington County. From 2.5 to 3 inches fell on fields I work there, and we’ll have to replant cotton and peanuts in that case.
“The peanuts we have planted so far look really good, too.”
Bill Robertson, Arkansas Extension Cotton Specialist
“Several people today (5/18) said they had been checking stands. Most are reporting thin stands – a lot of them with 1.3 to 1.5 plants per foot and a minimal number of 3-foot or longer skips. These fields are very worthy of keeping. A few farmers tossed around the idea of replanting. But as of late last week, I haven’t talked to anyone who’s in a serious replant situation across a significant number of acres.
“One farmer late last week said he might need to do a little replanting, but he has a good stand on most everything else. A farmer from the Marianna area said this morning he’ll have a few replants but nothing big right now.
“That’s all kind of encouraging. We’ve been taking stand counts on some of the fields that were planted the Thursday before the cold front came through, and we’re seeing pretty decent emergence on everything. The bright, sunny days really helped warm the soil and promote growth.
“I’m scheduled to plant in southwest Arkansas around Lafayette County on Wednesday (5/20), which kind of surprised me that conditions were okay there. We tried to plant in Clark County around Arkadelphia, but they got around 4 inches of rain over the weekend.
“We’re hoping to return to the field by the end of the week, weather permitting. A friend in Forrest City said they were able to plant most of the afternoon last Monday (5/11) and again after lunch last Friday (5/15), and that was all the planting for the entire week. It’s crazy.”
Joel Moor, Moor Ag Services, LLC, Indianola, Mississippi
“Most of our cotton is up. Growers were still planting some at the end of last week, and that’s not up yet, and I’m sure that farmers will plant a little more here and there over the next few days. A few showers fell over the weekend (5/16-17) in places, but not everywhere. In certain areas, we’re running out of moisture and cotton is having trouble coming up. But as far as we can tell, most everything looks good.
“All of our cottonseed received an acephate overtreatment, so I hope we don’t have to deal with thrips.