Virginia Cotton: Mostly Quiet as Crops Begin Bloom

    ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Images

    Something over half of our cotton began blooming last week and a good portion of the rest will begin this week. Assuming we can begin to catch some rain showers this week, the delayed planting could turn out to be a bit of a blessing as the cotton crop is just now starting to move into a period where it requires more water.

    The height of cotton is fairly good at this early bloom period, but in fields with blooms already within 6 or 7 nodes of the top, even with several inches of rainfall, it will be difficult for high blooming cotton to get too big unless we stay wet for several weeks. If blooms are deep or squares in the top are small, growth is more aggressive with moisture.

    During this last 10 day period of July, we can still get benefit from adding more nodes and squares on all the cotton. This makes me want to hold up on Pix until good rainfall comes. And even then, growth shouldn’t explode until we get several rains.

    Once August gets here, there are no negative yield aspects related to Pix because adding new squares in August adds little value. Without rain, we would be in a waiting mode for that third week of bloom spray if it weren’t for those darn plant bugs.

    Thanks to Dr. Taylor’s leadership we have learned a lot about plant bugs over the last three years. Prior to bloom and even during early bloom, the name of the game is to keep squares on the plant.

    During the second week of bloom and certainly after this, we can begin using the black sheet to check for bugs. As far as what I am finding, it seems fairly typical of what we get during these dry July months. Our square retention is good but there are some bugs, just not heavy.

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    Back in the day, I used to only look at square retention, and now that we scout more, you can definitely pick some spots or fields that are heavier with actual plant bug numbers to address, even when the big picture looks ok. I have also seen very good results with AdmirePro and all neonics this year on the early sprays.

    Transform is going to be the go to product on threshold fields that have been blooming until we get to the third week of bloom. I don’t see enough fields at threshold to support spraying everything with Transform (Cost is $10 at low rate to $13 at the medium rate).

    Then we will use a cleanup spray for worms, stinkbugs, and plantbugs. I am seeing spider mites in a lot of fields so spraying orthene can flare them and make them more noticeable.




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