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Owen Taylor, Editor
Here is this week's issue of AgFax Southeast Cotton.
Our thanks to SePRO – maker of Brake herbicide – for once again sponsoring our coverage.
Much of the region has gone from too dry to too wet. Between 1 to 4 inches of rain fell in certain areas where cotton planting had stopped due to lack of soil moisture. Upwards of 6 inches have been reported in spots. Another round of heavy rain is likely from a tropical system that is moving into the gulf from Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
All the rain will further delay planting. Decisions will have to be made about how much later to plant cotton. In our Links section, connect to a couple of advisories on that topic from North Carolina Extension and from Johnny Parker, agronomist with Virginia’s Commonwealth Gin.
Thrips treatments are going out in places. Grasshoppers remain a concern in some areas in the lower Southeast.
Richard Davis, Davis Ag Consulting, Montgomery, Alabama:
“It rained today (5/21) and we desperately needed it. My gauge showed 0.6 of an inch and I drove through heavy rain at one point. I’m hoping it moved through all of our area.
“Last week, the forecast showed a 50% to 90% chance of rain across 4 or 5 days, and I actually recommended that several farmers start planting again. Out of all those chances, I figured we would receive at least some rain, which we didn’t. So, this rain is needed even more now.
“We’re trying to get some people started on thrips applications. A lot of fields don’t have a complete stand, just maybe two-thirds of a stand, and we don’t want to let thrips work on what we do have. Overall, thrips are actually kind of light this year. The rain also was needed for herbicide activation.”
John D. Beasley, South Georgia Crop Services, Inc., Screven, Georgia:
“It’s raining right now (early evening, 5/21) and we had 4 inches last week. Before the rain, some people stopped planting because it was too dry. Now, a lot of growers are at a standstill because it’s too wet. Before it got dry, farmers were able to plant in late April and early May and then shifted to planting under pivots or putting seed in dry dirt and hoping for a rain. At this point, I’d say we’re 40% planted.
“In places, we’re monitoring seedling disease. It’s not terrible but definitely more than average. Grasshoppers have gotten a little worse in a few fields with rye cover crops and we’re spraying some of that cotton. So far, we haven’t had to spray thrips but we definitely have pressure in places. I’m hoping rain will speed up plant growth and cotton can move past thrips being an issue.
“Our cotton acres are about the same or maybe up a little. The cotton price eased up a bit and the peanut market wasn’t as attractive this year. We’re 60% to 70% along on peanut planting. With these saturated soils now, we’ll hold back on peanut planting until things dry up some. As wet as that dirt is, we’d risk peanuts rotting.”
Ron Smith, Alabama Extension Entomologist:
“Leaves are still crinkling on cotton and quite a few folks are spraying for thrips – and rightly so, I think. In our plots where we rank thrips injury from zero to 5, you’re justified in spraying if the rating goes over 3, and a lot of cotton is going over 3.
“Everyone is still concerned about grasshoppers. They seem to be active through a big part of central and south Alabama in reduced-till fields, which is where you’ll find them. What we have now are a mix of adults and immatures. The first ones to hatch out from eggs in the soil have already made it to the adult stage. The next round of hatching has produced the immatures in the mix now.
“To control adults, you’ll have to bump up the rate to 0.6 of a pound of acephate. That’s what we recommend.
“Rain has been scattered. A lot of these random storms popped up over the last week but we still have places where it hasn’t rained. There hasn’t been an organized system. Folks are still planting cotton where they can, trying to finish up.”
Guy Collins, Extension Cotton Specialist, North Carolina State University:
“We’ve had plenty of rain. I’m driving through it right now (late afternoon, 5/22) in Halifax County where they also had a big rain yesterday. For the most part, planting is on hold.
“Rain has been the story for nearly everyone on every day for the last week. In places, farmers have received 5 to even 6 inches over the last week. Any planting right now would be in small, scattered pockets where it didn’t rain or farmers missed the last couple of showers.
“Most of the cotton I’ve seen this week looks quite alright. Initially, some pretty heavy rain fell and I was worried about crusting, especially where growers planted right before the rain. But it’s rained enough to keep the surface soft.
“As hot as it’s been, soils should dry up pretty fast once it does quit raining. I am worried about waterlogged places where the soil is starting to turn a little sour. In every field there’s always a corner where water tends to stand. I think most fields will be okay except those with low-lying areas that won’t dry out right away.
“Generally, most folks are close to being done with cotton planting. A portion have a day or two left, while another group is maybe half to three-quarters done. Where we have cotton left to plant, I can’t say that it’s isolated to a certain part of the state or a particular size of farming operation. There’s some of that remaining acreage all around. Most cotton is coming up surprisingly well.”
Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist, Tifton, Georgia:
“We are in a wetter pattern. It’s not raining that much but showers are more frequent. I’ve heard reports of 1 to 4 inches over the last week, depending on the location.
“In places, people may have missed enough rain that they can plant. I actually planted plots in the rain today (5/22), and I had never done that before. Rain continues in the forecast every day for the next several days. My guess is that we’re 50% to 60% planted. Insects have mostly quieted down. I’m still fielding a few calls about grasshoppers and that’s about it.”
Jeremy Greene, Clemson University Cotton Entomologist, Blackville, South Carolina:
“It rained today (5/22) and we’ve had scattered showers all over the state. Amounts vary. Some people maybe haven’t gotten any, while others received rain last week and this week. We’re running the gamut from dry to wet. Where possible, cotton planting has continued between showers. Overall, the crop ranges from still in the bag to some plants with several leaves.
“One consultant said that he’s seeing enough thrips injury to justify spraying some fields. I don’t think thrips pressure is as high as it has been in the past, although I don’t have a complete feel yet for thrips pressure statewide.”
Billy McLawhorn, McLawhorn Crop Services, Inc., Cove City, North Carolina:
“We’re still trying to get all the cotton in the ground. In the last 5 or 6 days we’ve had tropical weather and most guys have received 3 to 4 inches of rain. It seems to be raining an inch every other day and the forecast calls for more.
“We had a couple of good weeks for planting in early May and got a lot done. But in the last few days it’s been difficult to make any kind of progress. Growers are now looking at how late they can plant cotton. Overall, we’ve planted 60% of the intended acres. Some farmers have planted 80% of their crop and others have hardly started. If the weather had been more cooperative last week we would be through by now.
“Pretty much everything planted is up. A few stands have problems where they were inundated. That’s not a widespread situation but we still have to get through several more days of rain.
“We’re checking some corn for stink bugs. Some MG IV soybeans were planted a month ago but beans kind of took a backseat once everyone started into cotton. I’m thinking that we’re 30% to 40% finished with soybean planting. Peanuts are mostly up to an established stand.”
Gary Swords, Swords Consulting, Arlington, Georgia:
“This has been a difficult way to start a cotton crop. We really couldn’t begin planting until May and then it was hot and powder-dry, and the cotton seed we’re planting don’t like those conditions.
“We watered up cotton where we didn’t pre-water and also watered in the chemicals, which caused some damage. Since cotton emerged, thrips have been wearing it out.
“When we finally got a little moisture, we caught a small period with good conditions – maybe a week – and that’s when we planted most of the acres that are in so far. Overall, we’ve planted 50% to 60% of the cotton and maybe 70% of our peanuts. But the forecast now says we’ll get another 4 to 8 inches of rain this weekend from that system moving up from the Yucatan and into the gulf.
“In spots, 4 to 5 inches of rain have already accumulated. The amounts, though, vary. In places, it hasn’t rained an inch yet. But it’s raining somewhere every day. If it only rains a tenth of an inch, that will temporarily stop planting.
“I have clients who are actually planting in the mud, which is never good. But they’re taking into account that next Wednesday will be June 1. As it stands now, we might not be able to plant in some places by June 1, maybe even without more rain. If we get the amounts in the forecast, people will have to leave out some bottoms when they do start planting again.
“We’ll get this crop in but it will be a late crop. I don’t like late crops.
“The first corn is beginning to tassel and the majority of it will start into tasseling next week. I’m already picking up brown stink bugs. We don’t have a lot of disease in the corn. But with this weather pattern, we’ll go ahead and apply a fungicide at tassel when we treat for stink bugs.
“Cotton acres will be up a little – 5% or maybe a little more. Most of that will come out of peanuts. For rotation and water usage, our corn acres don’t vary much.”
Alabama Peanuts: Sensitivity of Newer Varieties to Gramoxone 5-23
Virginia Cotton: Planting and Spraying Priorities 5-23
North Carolina Cotton: Re-Planting Decisions, Managing Late Planted Fields 5-23
Georgia Weeds: Valor Clean-Up, Morningglories, and Ziddua 5-23
Georgia Peanuts: Thrips on the Rise, Check Your Fields 5-23
Alabama Corn: April Showers Bring Nematode Problems 5-23
South Carolina Officials Seek Help Finding One of ‘World’s Worst’ Invasive Weeds 5-22
More Cotton News | More Peanut News
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