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Owen Taylor, Editor
Here is this week's issue of AgFax Midsouth Cotton.
Our thanks to SePRO – maker of Brake herbicide – for once again sponsoring our coverage.
Chewing up acres. Cotton planting is mostly going at full throttle this week. Exceptions are areas that caught more rain since the start of the month and/or in bottoms. Otherwise, planters are running. Our contacts tell us that more of their farmers have finished planting or could hit that point before next week.
Speedy germination. A hot-weather trend has set in, so soils aren’t lacking for warmth and cotton is quickly germinating and emerging.
Too dry to plant? Soils are getting dry in places. But we haven’t heard of any cases in the Midsouth where growers completely stopped planting cotton due to lack of soil moisture. In the Southeast, several of our contacts reported this week that dryland cotton planting was on hold until it rained again or farmers were planting shallow and hoping for a rain.
David Skinner, Agronomist, CPS, Macon, Mississippi:
“We started planting cotton last week. It is getting dry but growers can still put seed into moisture, so planting continues (as of 5/7).
“I don’t expect a big shift in our cotton acres, maybe up 5% to 10%. When the market hits 80 cents, people are eager to plant more cotton, so we would expect an even bigger increase. But in this area, we don’t have the harvest capacity to plant much more than we usually expect, and that will cap whatever our final cotton acreage turns out to be. Corn planting took place between showers but it’s up and looks good.”
Larry Walker, Walker Cotton Technical Services, Flintville, Tennessee:
“It finally looks like we’ll have a cotton crop. We suddenly went from very poor planting conditions to ideal conditions, and people started last week around May 1. It got into the 80s six days ago and it’s remained like that (as of 5/7). Cotton planting has broken loose, for certain.
“It rained a half-inch to an inch over the weekend (5/5-6) and in the last weekend in April it rained about 2 inches across a wide area. So, we have moisture and good temperatures, and half the cotton could be planted by this coming weekend. Cotton planted last Tuesday is emerging today.
“Our cotton acreage will be up slightly. It’s amazing to be going into planting with cotton at 80 cents.”
Blake Foust, Consultant, Southern Heritage Cotton, LLC, Forrest City, Arkansas:
“Our cotton is probably 80% planted and some people will be through this weekend. We’re dry, really dry, and need a rain.
“A couple hundred acres of cotton were planted on April 22 and that’s up. It went in just in front of a cool snap but actually looks pretty good. Some more cotton was up to a stand today (5/8). More than anything else right now, we’re evaluating stands. So far, nothing I’ve looked at would require replanting.
“We’re finished planting corn except for quite a bit of replanting. Seed were caught by rain and steady wind, which sealed up the soil. It’s been a tough year to get a stand of corn. Soybeans planted in March are up to the second trifoliate and look pretty good.”
Trent LaMastus, Consultant, Cleveland, Mississippi:
“Several guys started planting last week in what had to be perfect conditions, and some of that cotton came up in 3 days. We had a pretty general rain on Friday (5/4) and that will help everything that’s up and allow people to restart planting this week.
“Where cotton has been out of the ground for 36 to 48 hours, I already can find some thrips on it, although I can’t tell yet if they’re hurting anything.
“Cotton acres in my area will be about the same. My acres may be up just a bit. Soybeans planted from April 1 have emerged, but some took a long time coming up to a good stand. No replanting has been necessary in soybeans so far. We detected some brown stink bug issues in corn last week and we’ll be spraying in those cases. Corn was really slow to grow off and 50 or 60 acres had to be replanted.”
Lee Rogers, Rogers Entomological Service, Steele, Missouri:
“How much our cotton acreage increases will depend partly on how much the weather cooperates. It might be up as much as 10% to even 20% more if conditions remain good.
“We all know about times when a farmer plants all the cotton he intended, then looks at the market again and adds another 400 acres. That could be how things play out here with some farmers this year. When cotton gets to 80 cents, good things happen.
“It’s still wet in places (5/7), so people have held back on planting in those areas, and the forecast does have a chance of rain by mid-week. But if we miss that, people will have enough time to finish what they expect to have.
“The old timers have said that you often make your best cotton when it’s planted in about a May 10-20 window, so we should be okay. Not a lot of early beans have been planted due to the cold, wet weather this spring. Most growers really didn’t start much until last week.”
Bill Robertson, Arkansas Extension Cotton Specialist:
“Progress with cotton planting is mixed. Some guys are just starting and a ton of people are through planting cotton or are near that point.
“Farmers have made significant progress in our southern and central counties, and in those parts of the state maybe 80% of the cotton has been planted. But north Arkansas received a few more rains and only 50% of the cotton has been planted in much of that area. Statewide, we’re probably two-thirds finished.
“Cotton is coming up fast, emerging in 5 to 6 days after planting. Where any was planted in the last few days in April, it’s moving quickly. Overall, we’re getting off to a really good start and just hope we can maintain this pace.”
Tyson Raper, Cotton And Small Grain Specialist, University of Tennessee:
“We’re making tremendous progress with cotton planting. Just about everyone is running and the momentum to finish is very strong. It’s still too wet (as of 5/8) to run in some of the Mississippi River bottoms. Otherwise, people are putting seed in the ground.
“I’m thinking that we’ve planted 30% of the intended acres by now. If this week’s pattern holds, we’ll be cutting into that remaining 70% with every minute that passes. A few people were worried about a front coming through last weekend and did hesitate to plant in front of it, but we have a good window now.
“It did rain over the weekend, from 0.4 to over an inch in places. That kept planters out of the field on Sunday (5/6) and into Monday, but the sun came out Sunday and we had good drying conditions on Monday. Except in some bottoms, people are running this afternoon.”
Sebe Brown, Northeast Louisiana Region Extension Entomologist:
“A lot of guys are rolling hard with cotton planting. We’ve had really good drying weather and it’s been unseasonably hot, too. We at least broke 90 today (5/8), which seems to be on the early side for hitting 90 here. The highest temperature I saw was 93 where the thermometer was in the sun. I don’t know how accurate it was, but we are into the first taste of summer.
“The bulk of our soybeans have been planted. In certain areas, guys are watering corn for the first or even second time. It did rain in places over the weekend, from 0.3 to 1.5 inches. With this heat, soil temperatures are into the mid 70s and it’s taking cotton as little as 4 days to emerge.
“With this hotter weather, plants should be actively growing and escape thrips injury if the seed treatments are adequate. I’m getting calls about slugs in cover crops, more so in soybeans. The injury looks bad at first glance but it appears to be mostly superficial and I don’t see where it would lead to stand loss.”
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Cotton: With Strong Market And Texas Weather, Full Agenda For Teleconference 5-8
Arkansas Field Reports: Good Week for Rapid Planting 5-7
Mississippi Field Reports: Drier Weather Sees Flurry of Field Activity 5-7
Dicamba Drift Prevention – Can You Trust Those Apps, Websites? 5-9
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