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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.



Much of the 2018 Midsouth cotton crop has now been planted, based on this week’s reports. We’re hearing about planting winding down on a localized basis from Louisiana to Missouri.


While plenty of seed has gone in the ground, growers in parts of the region have mostly parked planters and are waiting for rain before trying to cover any more acres. After a couple of weeks of mostly dry weather and plenty of heat, soil moisture is either gone or it’s too deep to be practical. In places, farmers have been running pivots to trigger emergence and/or gain a stand.


Lack of rain is complicating weed control where showers are needed to incorporate preemerge herbicides.




Victor Roth, Roth Farm Service, Malden, Missouri:

“A few cotton fields were planted in April but the real push started in the first day or two of May. It came pretty fast and all of our cotton has been planted, at least as far as I know.


“We do need a rain to fill in or finish some of those gaps in sandier soils. But where cotton is up, it mostly looks good. Overall, it ranges from not emerged yet to some at the first to second true leaf.


“My cotton acres will be up, mainly due to my existing growers planting more. One grower started out with 500 acres last year and he’ll expand to 1,100 this year. Another planted 600 acres in 2017 and will plant 1,800 acres this year, plus he’ll have a new picker for harvesting it.


“Not all of our soybeans have been planted yet but we do have some that are already at the second trifoliate.”


Kyle Skinner, Skinner Ag, Starkville, Mississippi:

“We haven’t had nearly the problems getting cotton up that we did last year when it was raining so much. These have been ideal conditions.


“Pivots are about to start running over corn. In droughty spots the leaves are beginning to twist a little. Rain is in the forecast for Thursday – a 60% chance – but if that doesn’t happen, more pivots will be running, I think.


“With cotton, we’ll probably have 80% of our intended acres planted by the end of the day (5/14). Of what has been planted, probably 60% is up. Cotton generally has enough moisture. Growers watered maybe 3 fields to bring cotton up to a stand, just to be on the safe side. Some guys have been planting down to the second knuckle to find moisture.


“My cotton acres probably will be up a little. Some dryland acres shifted from corn to cotton.”


Hank Jones, C&J Ag Consulting, Pioneer, Louisiana:

“My guys are probably 85% done with cotton planting. In places, some worked up fields late but then lost moisture and are now waiting for rain. We’ll definitely have some late-May cotton where we’re waiting to finish planting. That said, most cotton came up like a dream, with 5 days from planting to emergence.



“At that point, you couldn’t have asked for better conditions. But we also have not had a rain since preemerge herbicides went out, and we need a good general shower to activate the materials.  Of my acres, nearly 75% have emerged. In places where we haven’t had rain in 10 days or so, most of those growers are knocking the tops off rows and are actually putting seed into perfect conditions. That soil is only dry on top.


“Except for fields inside the levee, we’re 95% finished with soybean planting and everything planted is up. As with cotton, we’re hoping for rain to activate preemerge herbicides. Beans range from just emerging to V3. Remarkably, no replants. We’ll probably start seeing some blooms in 10 days. Most everyone is trying to water corn, and it’s generally at V7 to V8. I don’t know that there’s a lot of need to water corn quite yet, but I guess you’ve got to start at some point.”


Tyler Hydrick, Hydrick’s Crop Consulting, Inc., Jonesboro, Arkansas:

“We’ve planted at least 95% of our cotton and 80% is up to a good stand and moving along. This has been one of the best cotton planting seasons anyone can remember. Up until this dry and super-hot weather developed, conditions have been perfect.


“At this point (5/14), we do have a lot of seed sitting in dry ground. Hopefully, we’ll get some rain or growers with pivots will start running them to get cotton up.


“We haven’t had to spray thrips yet. A few instances of cutworms turned up where in-furrow materials were left out. It wasn’t anything major or widespread, just a few fields here and there. Growers have been coming back with sprays.


“Blackbirds have been the worst pest this year in rice and corn. In corn, we’ve had to do both replanting and spot replanting. Some corn was planted and then we had to replant twice and finally switched to cotton because it had gotten too late to plant corn. Most of that stand loss was due to blackbirds with some other factors also in the mix.”


Harold Lambert, Consultant, Innis, Louisiana:

“Our cotton is all planted and most of it is up to acceptable stands. It ranges from cotyledon to 2 true leaves. Over the last month the weather completely swapped – from cold and wet to hot and dry. Cotton is hardly moving and it’s having a hard time finding moisture in mixed and heavy soils. And with all that, we’re now dealing with thrips.


“In soybeans, a tremendous number of acres were planted in a 2-week period that started right at the end of April. But with this intense heat and lack of rain now, there’s no soil moisture. The moisture left fast, too. Any soybeans planted in the last 4 to 5 days missed full germination and we have some partial stands now.


“Our oldest beans are at R3 but may only be a foot tall. Eventually, we think some spot replanting will be needed. The forecast isn’t showing any rain for a while. The longer that seed stays in the ground with this kind of heat, the less likely it will contribute anything to the crop.”


Tyler Sandlin, Extension Crop Specialist, North Alabama, Belle Mina:

“We’re nearing the end of cotton planting, I think, and it mostly happened in a hurry. We started with wet and cold weather, which held people back from planting a lot before early May. I won’t say that the crop was delayed. About the time we could start planting, we moved into that optimum window for planting.


“The weather did hold people back from planting corn and we were just finishing the last of the corn when anyone could start planting cotton. Our growers have been planting cotton just about nonstop for 2 weeks (as of 5/15). We can see light at the end of the tunnel.


“We do need rain now. We started with plentiful soil moisture and still have deep subsoil moisture. But temperatures increased and we haven’t had rain lately. Along with bringing up the later cotton, we need rain to activate herbicides. The forecast carries a chance of rain over the next 5 to 7 days. People are trying to get as much done ahead of that as possible.


“Overall, our wheat crop looks pretty good. A couple of weeks ago the temperatures were cooler, which was optimal for grain filling. Highs now are running 88 to 90 degrees, so wheat is turning in a hurry. At this rate, I would expect some harvest to start in the first week of June.”


Dan Fromme, Louisiana Extension Cotton and Corn Specialist:

“Since May 1, it’s warmed up and dried out and cotton popped out of the ground. We’re at least 70% planted but that may be more like 80% (as of 5/15). We would have been further along but soils dried up enough that growers pulled back on planting.


“What was planted in the last couple of days in April and early in May has shanked up nicely. In those cases where people jumped the gun and planted earlier in April, they’ve have had to replant. Hopefully, we’re set up for a good cotton crop. We’re overdue for one.


“With this heat and lack of rain, the corn is suffering and people are irrigating where they can. Corn was planted late and it doesn’t look good across the state.”


Bill Robertson, Arkansas Extension Cotton Specialist:

“We’ve got to be 90% planted by now (5/15) and by the end of this week we should essentially be finished. Growers have covered a lot of ground. It is getting dry and people are running Do-Alls and are having to go quite a bit down to get to moisture. Soil temperatures are still really good and cotton is coming up in 5 days in most cases.



“So far, I haven’t talked with anyone who has stopped planting because it’s too dry – with the exception of where they are planting behind dirt buggies and will need rain to bring the cotton up.”


Darrin Dodds, Mississippi Cotton Specialist:

“Since this time last week, growers have been racing as hard as they can to finish planting, and we’re probably 75% to 80% finished. It’s amazing how much acreage they’ve knocked out. Two weeks ago (from 5/15), it was still kind of cool and pretty wet in places, but now it’s hot and dry.


“Temperatures have been hitting 92 to 93 and soils have dried out to the point that some folks parked their planters because they don’t have adequate soil moisture. On the black prairie, some growers are planting 2 inches deep to try to reach moisture. We’re working with a grower in the north Delta on a trial and he’s backed away from planting, too, until it rains.


“Still, though, we’ve made a strong start. Most cotton I’m seeing is up to a good stand, with very few issues. I’ve only heard of a couple of situations with thrips and those are probably isolated cases.


“The thing that’s most concerning is that we haven’t received rains to activate a lot of herbicide applications and we’re seeing fields where pigweed and cotton are emerging together. What we need now is a good, slow inch of rain. After that dries up, we can wrap up planting in no time at all.”


Tyson Raper, Cotton and Small Grain Specialist, University of Tennessee:

“We’re very close to being done with cotton planting, with just a few scattered fields still left. It is getting dry and a few growers stopped chasing moisture and will wait for a rain. Our hill ground is really starting to dry out. Some popup showers fell yesterday and today (5/16).”




Tennessee: UT Weed Tour, Jackson , June 20   5-16


Tennessee Corn: Destroying a Poor Stand to Plant Soybean, Cotton   5-16


Tennessee Cotton, Soybeans: Scout Fresh Planted Fields for Pigweed   5-16


Cotton – Southwest: Tough Decisions; Blooming Expands – AgFax   5-16


Shurley on Cotton: Exports, Production Uncertainty Should Offer Price Support   5-15


Seed Cotton Provisions and the Farm Bill – Everything You Need to Know   5-15


Mississippi: 2 Crop Pest and Disease Control Trainings, June 5, 6   5-14



More Cotton News



AgFax Midsouth 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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