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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.
Planting resumed on a wide scale this week after the region slipped into a drier weather pattern.
Growers are mainly wrapping up their last unplanted acres or replanting areas taken out by excessive rainfall. The fact that more of that land won’t shift to soybeans has much to do with higher cotton prices.
The strong cotton market probably won’t prompt much acreage expansion past what growers already hoped to plant, although some unplanted peanut ground may well move to cotton. Also, higher cotton prices seem to be encouraging growers to try a little doublecrop cotton behind wheat in areas where that’s rarely attempted.
David Butcher, NC Ag Service, Inc., Pantego, North Carolina:
“It just stopped raining yesterday (6/3) and we’re still wet. This isn’t a terrible situation, but with the rain and overcast skies, most cotton here is a week or two behind in terms of maturity. We’ve had 4 to 6 inches of rain in the last couple of weeks, depending on the spot. It’s rained just enough and often enough to keep things misty and messy.
“People are just getting in the field again. Where this last rain fell, it totaled 2 inches at my house but in other places it was only 2 tenths, and those are the places where people are able to do anything right away. We’re making a lot of thrips sprays in cotton. Overall, it’s not any more than usual but we haven’t been able to treat when we wanted because of the weather. A lot of people still have beans to plant and corn looks yellow where land isn’t well drained.”
Brandon Phillips, Phillips Ag Services, LLC, Fitzgerald, Georgia:
“We’re finally getting back in the field after all the rain. At Fitzgerald, it’s probably rained 12 inches in the last 3 weeks. Things have been pretty rough. People are trying to wrap up peanut planting first but a little cotton planting is underway, too.
“In this area, probably 60% of the cotton has been planted (as of 6/4), but that should change rapidly if the weather remains clear. Within a week, we could have 80% of the cotton planted and might be pushing 90%. I’m already hearing growers talking about running around the clock until they finish.
“We do have a lot of waterlogged cotton in places. People can’t get in and apply fertilizer and they’re also running behind on over-the-top herbicides. We are happy that we have several modes of action – Liberty, dicamba and Roundup – and it may take all 3 to deal with larger weeds.
“Aphids are just starting to show up. I’ve heard a couple of reports of bacterial blight, which is a bit concerning since this is just the first week of June. I haven’t seen any yet, myself. My growers are essentially finished planting peanuts. Several people I know had unplanted acres and decided to switch those fields to cotton, taking into account how cotton prices have trended. Also, they figured it was too late to plant peanuts. Most people planted at least enough to cover peanut contracts.”
Eddie McGriff, Regional Extension Agronomist, Centre, Alabama:
“Except for maybe a few growers interested in planting cotton behind wheat, we’re 100% planted. With these strong cotton prices, they may choose cotton over soybeans. Wheat harvest is underway now, and one grower has confirmed that he will follow wheat with cotton.
“Cotton at 90 cents is very enticing, so we’ll see what kind of doublecrop yields they can make. The idea is to plant all of that before June 10. One farmer is baling his wheat straw, so that should make planting a bit easier. We’ve sprayed just a few problem fields for grasshoppers.
“Wheat looks excellent. Cherokee County farmer Nick McMichen averaged 127.8 bu/acre on a field he farms across the state line in Floyd County, Georgia. Floyd County Extension Agent Keith Mickler and I did the yield check this afternoon (6/4).”
Ethan Carter, Regional Crop IPM, Marianna, Florida:
“The majority of people are done with cotton planting and some wrapped it up a couple of weeks ago. Otherwise, growers are just finishing whatever is left. The crop is mostly in good shape.
“Everyone hopes disease holds off where it’s gone from hot and dry to too wet. I’m seeing a small amount of crown rot in peanuts but nothing in cotton. Water was still standing in a number of fields today (6/4) where we have patches of heavy clay. People with sandier ground are in a little better shape, although it’s hard to say what their fertility will be like after all the rain.
“We had rain to some extent for 12 days, mostly just light and drizzling rain. It wasn’t the amount of rain but the duration that set us back on planting.
“We’re more or less done with peanut planting, with just a few growers still trying to plant intermittently where they can. Some have already made their first fungicide applications. I was in peanuts today that were planted 3.5 weeks ago and already are in flower.”
Andrew Sawyer, Extension Agent, Thomas County, Georgia:
“In cotton, we’re now up to 8 true leaves in the oldest fields. Thrips pressure was still very obvious at 6 leaves and much of that cotton had to be sprayed. We’re seeing some seedling disease in cotton and it’s maybe increased a bit over the last couple of weeks. Herbicide injury also is pretty severe in some peanuts, although they should grow out of it.
“It rained enough that we still had standing water in some fields all the way to last Friday (6/1). Depending on the area within the county, we went 7 to 8 days without planting any cotton, maybe even a little longer in certain cases. It rained again last night (6/3) in places, so people still can’t get in the field in spots.”
Steve Bullard, CCA, BCT Gin Co., Quitman, Georgia:
“We’re still pretty wet but people are starting to get in the field again (as of 6/4). We’re about to finish planting. Mostly just a few replants are left. Much of that stand loss was due to washing of fields or where water ponded in a dip.
“Thrips pressure has been pretty low. I was expecting fields to be wooly since we couldn’t get in right away with postemerge treatments, but I guess the preplant and preemerge herbicides activated pretty well with all the rain. So as far as weed pressure goes, we’re in relatively good shape. The same mostly goes for peanuts.”
David Skinner, Agronomist, CPS, Macon, Mississippi:
“Cotton made a nice start and looks good. We missed any rain from the tropical system (Alberto), so dryland corn needs a rain. It’s not a terrible situation yet, but leaves are starting to roll. Cotton, though, is getting just what it needs, and it’s squaring well. We replanted some cotton and sprayed thrips on it last week. In the last day or so we started picking up plant bugs and are spraying in places. Nothing, though, is out of the ordinary.”
Larry Walker, Walker Cotton Technical Services, Flintville, Tennessee:
“This time last year I was complaining about how slowly the crop was developing. That’s sure not the case this year. We now have cotton that’s boot-top high in places and is at the 5- to 6-leaf stage – and was only planted about 30 days ago.
“In my career I can’t ever recall seeing that much growth in such a short time. In May, temperatures approached 90 in the day and were around 65 for lows at night, plus we received showers at the right time. Cotton clearly responded.
“Our preemerge herbicide programs worked very well. We’re going back with our first post spray and adding a residual, plus a plant growth regulator. We need to get a plant growth regulator out now, considering all the factors – plenty of moisture, our fertility program, the varieties we’re growing and these temperatures. In 8 days from now (6/4), we’ll have cotton at 8 leaves and it will be begging for Pix if it doesn’t already have any.”
Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist, Tifton, Georgia:
“It’s still too wet in places to do anything in the field today (6/5). Here at Tifton that’s the case. But it’s drying out in more areas and people are planting where they can, so we’re making progress.
“The crop ranges from still being planted to starting to square. If you have any insect issues and reach threshold, take care of them. Otherwise, hold back and let beneficials work. Overall, though, nothing much is actually going on with pests in cotton right now.”
Johnny Parker, Agronomist, Commonwealth Gin, Windsor, Virginia:
“Cotton that was planted during the first of May is at the 7- to 8-leaf stage and has small squares forming. With normal heat, cotton that has 7 true leaves on it this week could begin to bloom in about 3 weeks, particularly the early varieties. That probably puts us a week ahead of schedule.
“Normally, we like to see the earliest blooms around the Fourth of July. This early cotton is also at the beginning of the sidedress stage, based on having some squares. If cotton is still growing really well, we could delay this sidedress application for another week with no problems. However, some cotton stalled out and it would be best to apply nitrogen and sulfur on any yellow or red cotton before the next rain. Even if the cotton was planted later, I would put a high priority on feeding it a little if it has stalled out.”
Jeremy Greene, Clemson University Cotton Entomologist, Blackville, South Carolina:
“People are planting cotton where they can. We don’t plant cotton in June, so today is May 36 by that reckoning. While it’s still too wet to be in the field in places, growers in other areas are crying out for a rain. Where we have sandy soils, it doesn’t take long to move into a drought situation.
“Insects are still in a holding pattern. We’re kind of at the end of the thrips window. Any damage I’ve seen has been low to moderate. Numbers dropped in some of my plots, even though the damage is still evident. Some of the very earliest cotton is probably close to squaring but that would be a very limited number of acres.”
Guy Collins, Extension Cotton Specialist, North Carolina State University:
“For the first time in a long time, the forecast appears to be in our favor and we have a period of dry weather ahead of us. The night before last some folks did get a half-inch of rain or less, but our cotton area is mostly dry today (6/5).
“Most folks are trying to get their last few acres in the ground this week. Between the rain and warm temperatures, a few flushes of weeds have appeared. So, growers are trying to deal with that, plus spray thrips in some cases. With all this rain, residuals are wearing off pretty quickly.
“We’ve also had cases where growers planted cotton, intending to apply a preemerge, but then the rain caught them. So, some preemerge materials couldn’t go out on time.
“Most people will finally plant all the cotton they intended, and I haven’t heard of anyone switching any of those last acres to soybeans. With cotton prices as strong as they’ve been, they see that as a positive. Where people still have cotton to plant, a lot of them only have 50 to 100 acres left – nothing drastic like half of their crop.
“Some growers will still be replanting where they lost stands in the rain, but that will mostly be it. Except in bottom areas and low spots, most cotton looks good. If I searched hard enough, I might find some pinhead squares, but our most advanced cotton is generally at 4 to 5 leaves with a big part at 2 to 3 leaves.”
Ron Smith, Alabama Extension Entomologist:
“Thrips are still around. In some untreated cotton at Prattville, they were butchering cotton that was at 6 to 7 true leaves. It’s surprising to still see heavy thrips pressure on June 5. The predictive thrips model that North Carolina hosts on the web showed potential for a late peak and movement into cotton this year, and that sure does seem to be on target.
“Normally, we wouldn’t spray thrips at this stage, but they were active enough in those plots to interfere with the development of one fruiting node.
“Planting has been underway and everyone who needs to finish should be able to wrap it up in this part of the state. Rain did slow progress over the weekend, but we haven’t had rain through most of the state in 3 days (from 6/5).
“Some of this wheat being harvested now will have cotton behind it. With cotton prices like they are, beans aren’t as attractive. We always expect doublecrop cotton along the Florida line but this year we’ll also see some in the northern third of Alabama.”
Dominic Reisig, NCSU Extension Specialist, Entomology, Plymouth, North Carolina:
“I’m still getting questions about thrips – whether to spray, what kind of rate and such as that. Some guys are still planting cotton this week and I suspect that higher cotton prices are encouraging them to go later, so we could still have thrips in cotton on a very limited number of acres for a while.
“Southern corn billbugs are active in our Blacklands region this year. We kind of expect some of this every year in that corn but people are finding them in areas where they haven’t been a problem or maybe even seen in 60 or maybe even 80 years. Until now, the standard seed treatment, Poncho 1250, held them in check. But we’re now noticing more feeding in spots where it was used, which indicates maybe some resistance.
“Some of their damage in the past may have gone unnoticed. But in a year like this with saturated soils and slow growth, the soil-dwelling insects might have gained more of a foothold with corn growing slowly. Their root pruning could aggravate any nutrient issues. I know of one grower who has disked under 300 acres of corn because of this, although I doubt if he’ll come back with corn, considering how late it is.
“Some stink bugs are around in corn. No out-of-control situations have been reported but they have hit threshold in certain cases.”
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Old Weeds Return: Cocklebur, Velvetleaf – Beyond Roundup Ready – DTN 6-6
Tennessee Cotton: Dicamba – Measuring Boom Height – Video 6-5
Bayer Seeks Positive Change – Monsanto Name to Disappear – DTN 6-5
South Carolina Field Reports: More Rains – Wheat Quality Concerns 6-5
Alabama Field Reports: Rains Benefit Crops – Not Much Field Work 6-5
Georgia Field Reports: More Rains – Wheat Harvest – Acreage Shifts 6-5
North Carolina Field Reports: Flash Floods, Saturated Fields 6-5
Cotton: Herbicide Resistance? Texas Researchers Find Cheap, Deadly Answer 6-5
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