Cotton – Southwest – Some Dryland Planting is a Dust-in | Arizona’s 100+ Temps – AgFax

    ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

    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.


    Rio Grande Valley cutout has growers seeing the end for the dryland crop, while bolls are filling out in irrigated fields following late-season rain.

    Highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s over the holiday weekend didn’t do Panhandle cotton any good. Top that off with dry weather and it’s a struggle to wrap up planting.

    Dryland fields in the South Plains and far West Texas, where there’s been no rain, have farmers dusting-in seeds with a dash of hope that moisture will come soon.

    Wet conditions have central and south Texas growers breaking out their mud boots.

    How hot is it? Summertime in Arizona – 110-range coming up in the low desert.



    Tom Studnicka, Studnicka Consulting, Belle Plaine, Kansas:

    “Cold, wet weather has slowed down planting. We’re in the low 60s today (5/25), and rain amounts vary from about 1 inch to 3-to-5 inches the past week. The little amount of cotton that got planted was in front of a cold spell and a 5-inch rain. I doubt we’re 30% planted overall, and we have another week of rain chances ahead of us.

    “Corn is all planted and mid-shin high. The cold snap was tough on it, too. Early beans also had a struggle with the cold, wet week. The wheat crop looks good in south-central Kansas, where we dodged all the freeze issues. It is an average to above-average crop. But north of Wichita, freeze hurt the wheat.

    “With this wet weather, if you’re not on top on top of weeds, you’re in trouble. Pigweed started invading fields a couple of weeks ago.”


    Brad Easterling, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Glasscock, Reagan, Upton Counties:

    “We’re in the early stages of planting. About 30% is in the ground, but the region is dry. With no rain and a streak of 100-degree days and high winds, there’s absolutely no soil moisture. Growers with center pivots are forced to water-up the crop. Drip irrigators can’t get enough water to seedbeds. Some dryland guys are dusting-in their fields and hoping for precipitation.

    “Northern Glasscock County had a good shower recently, but there’s been no rain elsewhere since March and April. Rain in those months helped our wheat crop. We’re getting many acres harvested. Sorghum still looks promising but is starting to dry out. Dryland sorghum has a little blue tinge to it. Watermelons like the heat and are coming along with irrigation. But everything would be better off with more rain.”


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

    “A few folks north and east of Lubbock got a little rain, but more is needed to get the crop started. I planted a plot in Terry County on Saturday (5/23) and felt a little drizzle. It was a teaser because no rain resulted.

    “West of I-27 is also dry. Nevertheless, folks are planting, no matter what. Insurance deadlines are coming up. Growers are planting irrigated fields first. I imagine there will be an abundance of dry-planting in dryland fields.”


    Mark Nemec, MJN Consulting, Waco, Texas:

    “We’ve had plenty of rain in most places. Cotton is coming along nicely. I’m waiting on water to drain off fields to get a closer look. The older stuff was at pinhead square last Friday (5/22). With all of the rain, we may start applying Pix as soon as the weather clears out.

    “The bugs have been light, and most weeds are under control. However, a few sprayers broke down and didn’t get herbicide applied earlier in the month. There will be a jungle in those fields when it dries up.

    “The rain slowed down wheat harvest last week. Combines have registered strong yields in the 50- to 60-bushel range for many fields. That’s great for our area. Corn is about perfect. Most corn has tasseled and pollinated. The cooler temperatures and moisture have been just right for it.”


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

    “It’s summer in Arizona. We’re headed into an excessive heat watch later this week. It will be in the 110s in the low deserts. But with plenty of irrigation, that heat will make cotton.


    “From what I’ve seen across the state, the crop looks good. It’s well into bloom around Yuma and producing small bolls. In central and eastern Arizona, cotton is at match-head square. Many areas are seeing their first in-season irrigations. That’s after nice winter moisture. Irrigation will produce weeds, so growers need to be timely with herbicide applications. They need to make sure those herbicides control glyphosate-resistant pigweed because Roundup won’t.

    “The wet winter created localized insect pressure. Increased desert vegetation is a host to false chinch bug issues, striped flea beetle and other insects. Growers are treating edges of fields, where insects are leaving mustard weeds for cotton fields. I lost a trial to false chinch bugs. They walked right through it.”


    Chuck Wilbur, Independent Crop Consultant, Wellington, Texas/Southeastern Panhandle/Southwestern Oklahoma:

    “We finally caught good rains in the 1- to 1.5-inch range. Now we need more heat units after cool weather these past few weeks. Cotton varies in growth, and there have been many replants. The best cotton I’ve seen is just north of Quail. It was planted about April 24 and is now at 3-leaf. I’m hoping last weekend’s thunderstorms and strong wind didn’t hurt it.

    “There is better seed quality this year. With this cool weather, fungicide seed treatments are a good insurance policy. Insecticide treatments should help with thrips, which haven’t caused problems so far. Growers are doing a good job managing weeds. They’ve stayed on top of them. Many growers planted into cover crops, which also helps control weeds.

    “If we get the heat, this could still be a good crop. Peanuts look good across Collingsworth County. We just need warm temperatures for everything.”


    Kyle Aljoe, Crop Quest Consulting, Dimmitt, Texas:

    “It’s cold today (5/25) in the low 60s. That’s not helping the cotton. Most irrigated is up. It emerged in 8 days, but took 2 weeks to make a good stand. Guys are dry-planting dryland cotton.

    “Weed control remains steady, but thrips are heavy. I scouted one field that didn’t have treated seed. We’re about to hit it with our second insecticide application.

    “We’re applying layby herbicide treatments to corn, which looks good. Our problem is with low groundwater sources. We have to equip sprinklers with smaller nozzles. It’s a challenge to get the right pressure needed for sufficient irrigation. Wheat for grain looks good, but yields may suffer because we have to stretch irrigation to help get the corn up.”


    Haley Kennedy, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension IPM Agent, Runnels, Tom Green & Concho Counties:

    “Parts of the Concho Valley received heavy hail damage last Thursday (5/21). Corn, sorghum, and emerging cotton were hit hard. Damage was mostly in the Tom Green County area around Wall and Veribest, two key irrigated production areas.

    “All of that hail followed high winds in mid-May that heavily damaged a new gin under construction in Mereta. Growers and officials in the Lone Star Farmers Coop are still assessing the damage.

    “Fortunately, we received rain during the recent storms which will benefit dryland cotton. Guys were waiting on moisture and were about ready to dry-plant. It’s a little more promising now.

    “Thrips were a problem in early cotton and required treatments. The rains slowed down our wheat harvest.”


    Josh McGinty, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agronomist, Corpus Christi:

    “I finally pulled out my mud boots last week. After being too dry, it rained the past 2 weekends, including 1.65 inches in the last round at the Corpus research station.

    “We applied Pix last week and hope to get a second shot of PGR out this week to slow down growth. Most cotton is flowering and will see full bloom in a few days. We have enough soil moisture to carry us another 2 to 3 weeks. If we can catch 2 more good rains, we could see an above-average crop.

    “Sorghum is responding well to the rain, but corn is in tough shape after suffering through the dry spell before the recent rains. But overall, things are looking up on the Coastal Bend.”


    Wayne Keeling, Texas A&M AgriLife Research Weed Specialist, Lubbock:

    “I’m in Lamesa this morning (5/26), and like much of the South Plains, growers need a good, general rain. There have been localized showers, but little that will help young cotton.

    “The dry weather has held back weeds. There’s not much pigweed so far, but growers should be prepared for it. Hopefully, they obtained a good burndown and applied residuals. Starting clean is important. Herbicide applications at planting and post-emergence are needed, because when we get that general rain, weeds will come with it.”


    Danielle Sekula Ortiz, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Lower Rio Grande Valley:

    “Rain this weekend was nice after a few weeks of dry weather. We had from 0.4 to 0.8 of an inch, then another 0.25 last night (5/25). All total, the majority of the Valley got about 1 inch or more.

    “Cotton is still blooming. The irrigated is approaching full bloom. Many dryland fields are cutting out. There is a good boll set, so the moisture should help fill them out. Other than a few whiteflies, insect pressure has been light. There was a drastic decline in cotton aphids last week, and there’s no fleahopper activity.

    “Sorghum harvest started mid-month around Harlingen. The crop is beautiful, and harvest should resume as soon as it dries out. There was SCA pressure that required treatments along with midge infestations.”


    Mark Hatley, Crop Quest Consulting, Dumas, Texas:

    “It was 49 degrees when I left the house this morning (5/26). Cold temperatures make cotton want to go back in the ground. But for the most part, we’ve had ideal weather for the irrigated crop and it emerged well. However, the dryland is struggling to obtain a good stand. It needs rain and warmer weather.

    “Preplant herbicides are holding up well in managing weeds. Other than a few thrips, insect pressure is minor.

    “Corn looks nice and is close to 1-foot tall. Wheat is starting to turn and is in the soft dough stage. We will start harvesting dryland wheat in a couple of weeks.”


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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.
    Working-Copy%5B1%5D.jpgThis weekly report is distributed during the main cotton growing 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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