Larry Walker, Walker Cotton Technical Services, Flintville, Tennessee:
“Cotton acres are up a little because of crop rotations. The cotton crop has gotten off to a slow start. The past seven days (from June 8) have been full of rain, and the three weeks before that were incredibly dry. We would like to see a dry forecast for the next three days, but forecast predictions show it raining through Friday (June 11). We really need things to dry up to make insecticide and herbicide applications, so this weekend will be busy if the rain lets up.
“Dr. Will McCarty always said, “Average is just the mean of the extremes.” So, we’ve had ‘average’ rainfall over the past five weeks. We didn’t see hardly any rain for three to four weeks, but it’s rained consistently the last 7 to 10 days.
“With the size and ability of cotton planters to cover a large number of acres, a lot of the cotton was planted in dry conditions. We did see good germination rates in those plants.
“Our concern now is 80% to 90% of the cotton is at the two-leaf stage and some is just cotyledon that came up from the last week of rain. If we don’t reduce our thrips threshold a little, thrips will begin to move from the bigger cotton to the more tender cotyledon plants. We aren’t seeing a large thrips population yet, but we really want to protect the young cotton at this point in the season. When the cotton blooms the first week in June, we really start looking at the future timeline. At this point, we’re going to need a lot of August rains, so we don’t want to slow down the cotton anymore at this point in the season.
“Compared to last year, we are behind. One huge difference last year was the amount of rainfall in August. Typically, we get around 3 inches of rain in August, but we got 6 inches during August in 2020. We did use a lot of Pix in that situation to make it work, but that’s the unique thing about cotton. No two years are on the same timeline, and you deal with the crop that is in front of you rather than stressing about if you’re on the same path as last year.
“We have decided to put out post-residual herbicides earlier. In 2020, we were unable to kill a few pigweeds with dicamba, but Liberty continues to work well. However, we don’t want to put all the pressure on Liberty to control weeds. We do have dual metolachlor going on three to four leaf cotton now.
“We planted some MG III beans early because it was the driest April in 5 years. They were just emerging to cotyledon size when the big freeze came, but those beans did not freeze. Those beans are now blooming (June 8), and growers are looking at a good price for end of August harvest.
“We used a residual during burndown with the beans and applied an over-the-top herbicide. We don’t anticipate needing to hit them with dicamba again, which is good news for us to take pressure off the dicamba a little.
“The corn crop survived the dry period, and it has really responded to the past week of rain. It varies by the area, but I’ve heard ranges from 3 inches of rain up to 4½ inches.”
Blake Foust, Consultant, Southern Heritage Cotton, LLC, Forrest City, Arkansas:
“Everyone got finished planting in May. Our cotton acres are down about 20%. It ranges from between cotyledon and first leaf to our oldest at seven nodes.
“The weather has not been working with us this year. We finally started planting and temperatures dropped. Some growers held off planting until after that cold snap, and those acres seem to be growing off better now. The cold weather caused several replants. Replants were mostly in flat planted beds, but cotton planted behind cotton seems to be doing best. It’s just been a constant battle of needing rain to needing heat and sunshine. Right now, we could really use some heat and sun.
“We’re spraying a lot of thrips, especially where herbicides have gone out. The cool weather has caused the cotton to slow down a little, which is contributing to the thrips too.
“The beans are in pretty good shape. Some acres have yet to be planted and the oldest beans are at R3. They look really good right now. Some growers are struggling to get the sprayer in the field, but overall soybeans are doing good.
“Corn has been doing great. A storm come through Lee County last night (June 7), and a lot of corn is leaning this morning. One good thing about the ground being wet is most of the corn didn’t snap. Our oldest corn is just starting to tassel, and the youngest is around V2 or V3. The youngest corn was planted around May 28.
“Rice has been the challenge. Most of our rice is on heavy ground, and a lot of that grass is nearly impossible to kill. A lot of it is getting Regiment applications and some combinations, which has done a pretty good job. We got a couple inches of rain today (June 8), but we need to put out fertilizer and get it to flood. We’re getting to the point we will have to fertilize in the mud.
“Our row rice acres are down this year, but we still have 30% row rice.
“Peanuts took forever to make a stand this year, but we’re not quite to bloom. Everyone has done a pretty good job with herbicide programs for the most part. A lot of growers were able to get another herbicide application out before this rain. The peanuts are in pretty good shape.”
Richard Griffing, Griffing Consulting, LLC, Monterey, Louisiana:
“This year has been awful – the worst start I’ve seen. We are wet, wet, wet, and we’re not even through planting, which is way behind for us. We’re probably 90% planted now. Half of those acres have been planted in the last 10 days (from June 8), and a lot of those will have to be replanted because of all this rain. We lost a lot of rice acres because we couldn’t get it planted, and cotton acres are down, too. We’re going to have a lot of late soybeans.
“Cotton ranges from cotyledon to pinhead square. Most of it is just at first true leaf to cotyledon stage. A lot of people who couldn’t get cotton planted just went with prevented planting this year.
“Soybeans range from not even planted to R3. This time last year, they were all at R3 or R4, so we’re very late this year. I’m afraid we’re going to see a lot of corn earworms in the soybeans with such a late crop. We’re starting to put up traps to monitor the moths.
“The corn is doing fairly well. It’s all tasseled and at pollination now (June 8). We think we’ve lost some nitrogen, and we’ve had to apply a lot of urea to keep it going. It looks OK now despite losing heat units during the cooler, cloudy weather.
“Since April 7, we’ve had 30 inches of rain (as of June 8). At this point, we’re probably 12 inches over our average rainfall from April 1 to now. Some periods we get heavy rains, but within the last week, it’s rained every day. It just keeps the fields sloppy wet. The rain chance for today is lower, and we’ve seen sunshine so far today (June 8). A few days like this and we can get back in the field.
“One of our main issues is we had to apply burndown twice. Once in January or February and then a second time around a month ago due to short planting windows. After only a couple days of planting, it would rain, and the same thing would happen the next week. We got behind on pre-emerge chemicals, so we had a lot of weed control messes to clean up in cotton, soybeans and rice. Corn was in good shape.
“We have a lot of milo this year, and most of it is late too, which is not good because of insect issues. It ranges from just coming out of the ground to boot stage. I found my first sugarcane aphids in milo this morning (June 8). Populations haven’t been bad so far, but they’re going to come on quick.”