Virginia Cotton: Crop Potential – Better Than It Was

    Photo: Alabama Cooperative Extension

    The 2020 cotton crop lines up quite well with the uniqueness of everything else that seems to be going on this year. Strange events create a good bit of variability in our fields and also our strategies.

    • Late planting followed by extreme heat have allowed the crop to advance to be a little bit ahead of the long term averages.
    • However the variability in rainfall may be the one item that gives us the identity to characterize fields for the rest of the year.
    • I see three scenarios to give us a little insight for the coming weeks.
    • First, cotton that went through most of the 12 day July heat wave without rain has lower fruit numbers. Later planting dates have helped it by having more fruit than it would if it was early.
    • The second scenario has at least one and possibly two rains during the second half of July prior to the hurricane and is holding a lot of fruit.
    • The final situation is cotton planted late and has been blooming less than 2 weeks. It can grow aggressively if it also got some of those earlier July rains.
    • It all has better potential now and is worth investing in.
    • Insects are coming out of corn. Some of the scenario 2 cotton was sprayed in front of the storm.
    • The lowest insect numbers recently have been in areas with not corn close or either very advanced and blooming out of the top. At this point in August now, it is time to scout intensively or spray.
    • It is also typical for a trip with pix and insecticide to hold for a couple of weeks and maybe 3 before evaluating the need for another trip based on young fruit with good potential in the top of the plant.



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