Owen Taylor, Editor


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Cotton planting has progressed on a wide front over the last 2 weeks. Farmers are clearly playing catch up in many cases after rains in April and early May kept them out of the field. In parts of the region they're still having to plant around low spots and standing water. And in the lower Southeast where heavy rains fell early this month, growers have faced further planting delays.


No pest issues are turning up yet, although potential for thrips always is a reality this time of the year. Thrips have been somewhat delayed this season due to a combination of cold conditions early and the fact that wheat development has been delayed, which would hold thrips out of cotton for a bit longer. Several entomologists in both the Southeast and Delta have mentioned those factors. We have heard scattered reports of thrips pressure in vegetable crops in both the lower Southeast and the Midsouth.


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Josh Thompson, Regional IPM Extension Agent, Jackson County, Florida: “Unfortunately, some people are just now able to start planting cotton in areas where we received a lot of rain and they have heavier soils. They got into the field again over the weekend (5/10-11). Those growers have maybe planted 20% to 30% of their cotton (as of 5/12).


“In the southeastern part of the county where it’s sandier, they haven’t been affected as much by the rain and only have wet spots in the bottoms. Those grower have been going pretty hard since last week and really aren’t that far behind what we’d consider normal.



“We do have cotton up in places. Thrips pressure hasn’t developed much yet on any of the cotton but I’ve noticed quite a bit of pressure on vegetable crops – field peas, to name one. And we’re also finding them on volunteer peanuts, something Rome Ethredge (Seminole County, Georgia, Extension Coordinator) reported on his blog last week. We’re behind on peanuts, too, with maybe 15% to 20% planted so far.”


Mark Mitchell, Mitchell Ag Consulting, Inc., Bainbridge, Georgia: “Our oldest cotton is 20 days old (from 5/14) and has 1 to 2 true leaves. I’m thinking that we’re 40% planted with our cotton, maybe 50%. But here we are almost to the middle of May and we need to be at more like 75%. We lost almost an entire week 2 weeks ago when it rained 3.5 to 5 inches.That drug things out for both cotton and peanut planting at a critical point when we really needed to be in the field.


“We’ve had to plant around areas with standing water. We’ve got one 80-acre pivot field that’s under water simply due to rising ground water. I’ve seen the ground water rise above the surface there 2 other times. One time was in 1994 when we had a big flood and we lost some cotton then. We’ve probably planted 40% of our peanuts.”


Christy Hicks, Auburn University Regional Extension Agent, Opelika, Alabama: “Cotton is being planted. One grower has about 400 acres of cotton in the ground and in another case we did a preemergence trial with a gentleman who’s planting. I know of several hundred acres that are up and growing. We’re not seeing many thrips yet, although I found a lot of small grasshoppers where we were doing the preemerge plots, so they would have just recently hatched out.”


Billy McLawhorn, McLawhorn Crop Services, Inc., Cove City, North Carolina: "We’re 60% through with cotton planting, maybe a little more than that. The forecast looks pretty good and if rain holds off by Friday we’ll probably have 80% of it in. This has been an amazing planting season. It was cold and wet early and it was a little late on the calendar when we could start, but we’ve had a nice run now. Everybody has so much planting capacity these days that it goes quickly when the weather is right.


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“Not much is up. I’m just starting to check some stands a little. This looks like a compressed planting season if we don’t have any issues that require replanting. Like a lot of areas in the South, we did seem to go from winter right into summer. It’s been bumping close to 90 pretty often and up to 92. With all the moisture we have, plants are coming up fast.”


Guy Collins, Georgia Extension Cotton Agronomist, Tifton, Georgia: “We have made a pretty big jump in cotton planting progress, going by USDA’s esimates. The latest report has us at 25%. A week before the number was only 7%, so we’ve made a 17% gain and people have been steadily going. I’ve observed a lot of activity, whether land prep or actual planting. Some of that was peanuts, I’m sure, and people have been behind on peanut planting, too. Overall, we’re really not that far behind normal with cotton, it just seems that way.”


Jeremy Greene, Clemson University Cotton Entomologist, Blackville, South Carolina: “Not much going on here other than it’s hot and dry. Seed are going in the ground. We’re kind of dusting in some cotton at this point and hoping for rain. We’ve got a pretty good chance on Thursday. I am starting to feel thrips on my skin outside.”


Larry Varnadoe, County Extension Agent, Worth County, Georgia: “We had a good week last week and were able to plant a lot of cotton and peanuts, then got rain on Saturday night, which was just about right. Planters are running wide open again now (5/13). A little cotton and some peanuts that were planted early are up and stands look pretty good. We’re not seeing thrips yet. It’s warm enough now that we’re hoping thrips won’t be a problem. Highs have been in the upper 80s and into the low 90s.” 



Florida: Strip Till Helps Save Money and Soil – Video  5-14


AgFax Cotton Review: WASDE Report Negative for Market; Marijuana Smugglers Use Cotton Equipment  5-14


Alabama: Storms Continue to Delay Planting – USDA 5-12


Florida: Planting Resumes as Fields Dry Out – USDA 5-12


Florida: Western Flower Thrips Develop Insecticide Resistance 5-9


Georgia: Good Planting Week for Cotton and Peanuts – USDA 5-12


South Carolina: Dry Conditions Aid Planting but Soils Could Use Moisture – USDA 5-12


Tennessee Cotton: Considerations When Switching to Earlier Varieties 5-14


Virginia: Good Planting Progress Despite Rains – USDA 5-13


Virginia Cotton: Making Planting Progress but Behind Average 5-12



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AgFax Southeast Cotton is published by AgFax Media LLC, Owen Taylor, Editorial Director. It is available to United States residents engaged in grain farming or qualifying ag-related professions. Mailing address: 142 Westlake Drive, Brandon, MS 39047. 601-992-9488 (Fax: 601-992-3503). Email: owen@agfax.com.

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