Most of the cotton is past the point of scouting for insects, a welcomed time by growers and consultants. Most expect a large harvest in October
Harvesttime is upon us for corn, grain sorghum and soybeans. Growers are pleased with yields so far. Hurricane Ida caused a scare in Louisiana, which encouraged harvest, but the damages were isolated to southern Louisiana and Mississippi.
Matt Foster, Louisiana Extension Cotton, Corn, and Grain Sorghum Specialist:
“We were blessed in central and northern Louisiana in terms of Hurricane Ida. Growers pushed hard and worked late nights in the days leading up to the storm to harvest all the corn and even some soybeans they could. The storm shifted toward the northeast and left us with very minimal damage, if any. The major cotton-producing areas didn’t see any damage, which was great because we have a lot of open bolls. We really didn’t sustain any wind damage, and my area only received around half of an inch of rain from Ida. Some the cotton could actually use a rain right now. Some growers are irrigating cotton.
“South Louisiana wasn’t so lucky. I have friends who lost homes and a lot of sugarcane acres were pretty beat up down there. The southwestern part of the state got hit hard, and that hits home for me because I worked in that area before this job. So many people are without power across the state, but we were really blessed in this area.
“Overall, the cotton crop looks good. We probably won’t have much harvested in September, but October will be a big harvest window for us. Some of the earlier planted cotton will be defoliated in the next couple weeks. It won’t be a record breaker, but it’s at least an average crop. Some of the later cotton is still being monitored for insects at this point. I’m optimistic about the cotton crop this year after speaking with growers and consultants. I’m really hoping cotton acres will increase next year; we definitely don’t want them to decrease from this year.
“Corn and grain sorghum harvest will wrap up in the next week or so. Corn harvest is around 85% finished I would say. Growers are satisfied with the yields. Grain sorghum yields have been great, and sugarcane aphid pressure has been light compared to past years. Growers are planning to plant more grain sorghum next year if prices remain good.”
Lee Rogers, Rogers Entomological Service, Steele, Missouri:
“The cotton is done at this point, finally. Cotton looks above average right now, but we’ll see how it looks at picking time. We’ve gotten ample rainfall and heat units so far. We didn’t see bollworm numbers at the same level this year as we did in the past few years, which was a nice break. However, plant bugs were heavy right up to the very end in the cotton.
“Everything seems to be in good shape. Other than a little wind and a few sprinkles, we missed the hurricane, luckily. We are still spraying soybeans for soybean loopers and stink bugs. We’ll be checking soybeans for a couple weeks to come but we’re trying to wrap it up. It’s my favorite time of the year!”
Bob Griffin, Griffin Ag Consulting, Jonesboro, Arkansas:
“I have terminated scouting for insects on all my cotton. At this point, we are safe from insects due to physiological cutout or ‘weather-oriented cutout.’ The plants still not mature enough to be safe from insects likely won’t be able to make the fruit we would be protecting before ideal conditions decline anyway. We can make a white bloom through Aug. 11 with an 85% confidence level, but four days later, Aug. 15, we are only 50% confident the plant can make a white bloom.
“We don’t usually see benefits from watering into September in this area because we don’t get the heat units to mature it out. With watering later, it’s harder to defoliate and more attractive to insects, which often leads to a delayed harvest.
“I think this has been the worst plant bug year we have ever had thanks to the weather. We also saw more spider mites and fall armyworms. We fought a lot of pests this year, really at record numbers compared with most years.
“We have a really good cotton crop right now, but it really depends on the weather in September. The crop is still late. We came in under the wire for the most part. A lot of the cotton we said would never make it to maturity did, but we still need more heat units. Labor Day is often hot and then we’ll be wearing jackets by the next weekend. The weather is unpredictable, but God is in control, not us. It all depends on what He has in store for us.”