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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.



Rain has fallen across a wide portion of the Midsouth, and up to 4 inches have accumulated in certain places since our last report. With a few exceptions, the rain was needed where it fell, but dry areas remain. Much of Louisiana and parts of south Arkansas missed showers. Rain is still in the forecast through the region. A tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico also could bring rain over the weekend.


A significant portion of the Midsouth crop has been planted. Dry conditions in Louisiana continue to stall progress. In parts of the region where heavier amounts of rain fell, growers also are on hold. At least a small amount of late planting appears to be in the cards, depending on how much it rains in the near term and where the rain develops. The price of soybeans also may influence how late growers are willing to go with the last of their cotton.


Spider mite treatments are going out on some seedling cotton in Louisiana, according to Sebe Brown, Louisiana Extension Entomologist. Thrips are being treated on what sounds like a scattered basis this week through parts of the region.




Phillip McKibben, McKibben Ag Services, Mathiston, Mississippi:

“Cotton is up to a stand on every acre we intended to plant. If we have any replanting, it’s maybe 10 acres. Most of the cotton is just approaching the first true leaf.


“We’re finding thrips in a few places. Where we put a pound of acephate in the furrow, it seems to be doing a good job. I wouldn’t call it stellar but the control is decent. Seed treatments are holding in some places, and we’re just treating on an as-needed basis. If thrips are borderline and we’re already going over the field for other reasons, that influences the decision.


“Corn is at V6, on average, with some at V7. Where we’re splitting the sidedress, the second round is going out. It’s mostly clean as far as weeds go. If corn isn’t laid by, the bulk will be by the end of this week. Soybeans range from emerging to approaching the third trifoliate. We replanted some beans where a pounding rain hit, although we’ll probably replant fewer acres than we have in the last 3 or 4 years.”


Dale Wells, Ind. Cotton Services, Inc., Leachville, Arkansas:

“Probably 98% of our cotton has been planted and about 80% is up. In places, cotton struggled to emerge due to dry conditions. If we hadn’t gotten this last rain, we would have tried to water up some fields. The forecast carried a 40% to 50% chance of rain starting on Thursday (5/17) and it’s rained somewhere every day since then. In places, it only totaled a half-inch but in other areas it ranged from 1.5 to 2 inches.


“So far, we’re seeing very few thrips.


“Probably 75% of our soybeans have been planted and the oldest are up to V3, with maybe a field or two at V4. It was so dry that preemerge herbicides didn’t work well and some pigweed came through, along with grass and a lot of morningglory. To try to clean that up, we’re now having to go over soybeans with some herbicides we don’t normally use.


“Corn ranges from V4 to V7. We had to replant in a few spots, either due to birds or in places where seedbeds were rough and corn didn’t come up that well. All of our peanuts are planted and emergence was great.”


Tucker Miller, Ind. Consultant, Drew, Mississippi:

“We finally got a rain on all of our cotton and everyone feels pretty good about that. Except for 300 acres, all of our cotton has been planted. It ranges from cotyledon to 4 true leaves, with 2 good true leaves on the majority of it. So, we’re off to a pretty decent start. We’ll replant about 200 acres at Vance where hail chewed up plants.



“Until today (5/21), we haven’t had any insect troubles but are starting to find thrips breaking through where growers went with a single imidacloprid seed treatment. But most of our seed were over-treated with acephate, and that seems to be working out.


“Most of our corn has been laid by. Our most advanced soybeans are at the third to fourth trifoliate. Except to plant a few acres where water stood on ends of fields, we’ve wrapped up soybean seeding. All of our peanuts are up to a stand.”


Gary Wolfe, La-Ark Agricultural Consulting, Ida, Louisiana:

“We’ve finished planting cotton. We had to replant some early-April cotton that was caught by a packing rain. Most cotton is up, although we still have some in dry dirt that’s waiting to come up. We’re getting desperate for a rain, and we’ll need to water up some of this if it doesn’t rain soon.


“By the end of this week we’ll have cotton beginning to square. Everything had a seed treatment. In places, growers are adding something for thrips when they go across with herbicides. A lot of this is a judgment call. In certain fields I would have addressed thrips but some farmers chose not to do so.


“Our cotton acres are up 20% to 25%. My acres jumped just within my established group of clients. Corn acres are down and I’ll only check about 300 acres of beans this year.”


Eddy Cates, Cates Agritech Inc., Marion, Arkansas:

“Our cotton is pretty much planted and everything that has been planted is either up or mostly emerging. Where cotton is up, it ranges from cotyledon to the 3-leaf stage. Some fields planted in dry dirt are trying to emerge.


“We got rain this past week, from 1.5 to 4 inches. We’ll probably lose a very small percentage of cotton where we got higher amounts of rain, so we’ll have to replant a few fields. Some bottom ends also were hurt a bit. Even with that, it was a much-needed rain.


“This week we’re pretty much into herbicides – trying to put some Liberty on pigweeds, plus contend with grass and morningglory. The rain came too late to help activate a lot of our herbicides. A good many applications had been laying there for at least 10 days, so they were probably past the point the rain would help. Where treatments went out within a week of the rain, we should see some benefit.


“Thrips pressure is very light.


“Our cotton acres will be up 7% to 10%, I think, and that increase came out of corn. We’ve just started seeing some first blooms in soybeans in fields planted around April 10. Our oldest corn is at the seventh collar leaf. A lot of polypipe has been laid and a good deal of this corn already has been watered once.”


Darrin Dodds, Mississippi Cotton Specialist:

“A lot of folks started wrapping up cotton planting last week, although some others parked their planters to wait for rain. That’s particularly the case on the north end of the Delta. They finally picked up a little rain on Thursday (5/17), enough to get them going again. On the other hand, growers in northeast Mississippi picked up too much. Areas around Corinth have been wet all year and then another 2 to 3 inches fell.


“Toward the coast, they’ve been waiting for rain and finally got some. The forecast now calls for another week of rain down there, so they’ve gone from one extreme to the other.


“Given that it’s already May 22, some intended cotton acres will shift to soybeans where people can’t finish planting next week. In isolated areas, these little popup storms brought damaging hail. All that said, things have still gone relatively smoothly. Many people are close enough to being finished that it will only take a couple of days to knock out what’s left once they can get in the field.”


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

“Over the last week we’ve gotten rain but it’s been extremely hit or miss. The vast majority of our cotton acres received at least a half-inch in the past week (from 5/22). But amounts varied – some areas picked up 3 to 4 inches and other areas got nothing and are still dry.


“This is a summer weather pattern. We seem to have skipped spring and jumped right into 90-degree weather. None of this rain has come from a strong line of storms, just afternoon showers.


“As a whole, I think we’re very close to finishing cotton planting, with just fields here and there where it’s not dry enough to plant at the moment. As it often happens, those also tend to be areas that continue to get rain. People reported hail over the weekend in concentrated spots. And some flooding has occurred in small areas where you expect parts of fields to go under water with heavy rains. All we need is less rain in some places and more rain in others.”


Dan Fromme, Louisiana Extension Cotton and Corn Specialist:

“This is really summer-like weather and it’s generating isolated pockets of rain for people who apparently are lucky. Over the weekend (5/19-20), it maybe rained 1.5 inches in 10 minutes but only in small areas. As I said, some people were lucky.


“Generally, it’s still dry across the state. Little if any cotton has been planted in the last week. We like to have cotton planting finished by May 15. With planting dates after that, yield potential declines. But soybeans this late aren’t too attractive in Louisiana, either.


“We always have some cotton planted in late May and early June, either because it’s too wet or too dry. For the moment, it’s too dry.



“Thrips have been pretty heavy, at least in central Louisiana. Natural hosts around the field are drying down, so they’re moving into cotton. We haven’t had enough moisture to activate seed treatments, so that’s another factor. On the plus side, a good deal of this cotton made a quick start and is growing well. It’s not sitting in waterlogged soils, which often happens in Louisiana. On the whole, cotton that’s up isn’t hurting. Corn is taking a lick from temperatures into the 90s and farmers are irrigating corn where they can.”


Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist:

“We haven’t had to do as much thrips spraying as we tend to expect. With this hot weather, cotton blew out of the ground, so it’s kind of outpacing thrips in places. Also, a lot of people went with an acephate seed treatment on top of their imidacloprid treatment. Spider mites did develop in a few pockets during that stretch of hot, dry weather. They’re not widespread and I haven’t heard of any treatments.”


Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee:

“A few cutworms have turned up here and there, so we need to watch for them. Most people have been so busy planting that they’ve just now started thinking about thrips. But the seed treatments seem to be holding up well. A lot of our cotton is early enough that it will be okay when thrips numbers peak. Cotton is growing off so well that it’s outracing thrips right now. In some untreated plots, thrips are killing plants, so imidacloprid is probably doing more good than you might think.


“We will have very little June cotton this year at the rate things are going.


“Bean leaf beetles are turning up in some early soybeans, plus we’re seeing some other little beetles ragging up leaves. All that draws attention but I don’t think they’re doing economic damage. We’re seeing 10% to 15% defoliation, and soybeans can take that.”


Bill Robertson, Arkansas Extension Cotton Specialist:

“We’re basically through with planting cotton for 2018. Everyone I’ve visited with on the east side of the state is done. It’s dry over in southwest Arkansas and a few guys over there are still waiting for moisture.


“Field conditions vary widely. It’s wet, wet, wet at Forrest City and at the Judd Hill research farm today (5/22). But I drove to southeast Arkansas and it was still wet south of Dumas but conditions were much drier the closer I got to the Louisiana line. That area needs rain. I saw people pumping water on corn.


“The oldest cotton I saw today was working on its fifth true leaf. In our variety tests it’s running 1 to 2 true leaves. I’ve been in fields with very uniform stands but also in fields where plants had 2 true leaves but 5 feet down the row plants were still cotyledons.


“I’m seeing a few thrips here and there but nothing I’d say needed treating. A few more calls have come in about seedling disease and I’m hearing about severe hail damage in places. None of that was really major, crop-wise, unless you happen to be the farmer whose cotton was hit.”




Tennessee Cotton: Thrips Populations Light but Picking Up   5-22


Tennessee Corn: Managing Large Palmer Amaranth in Large Crops   5-22


DTN Cotton Close: Mixed As July Ends Lower   5-23



More Cotton News



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