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Owen Taylor, Editor


Here is this week's issue of AgFax Midsouth Cotton


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This week’s report wraps up our regular in-season coverage for 2018. Our thanks to:




A reminder: our cotton coverage doesn't stop in September. Every weeknight, we distribute AgFax Cotton After Hours, an update on that day’s cotton news, field reports, market activity and production recommendations.


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Defoliation applications and a small amount of picking have started up again in parts of the region after rains over the last week put things on hold. A drier trend is in the near-term forecast.




Tucker Miller, Ind. Consultant, Drew, Mississippi:

“We lined up a good bit of defoliation for the end of last week but didn’t go with it because of the rain. I’ve seen one field picked (as of 9/11) and that was south of Greenwood. None of mine has been picked yet but we’re close to starting on some.


“I’ve defoliated a little and have already made the second shot in places, but the pace will pick up as soon as this weather breaks and things are dry enough. A big portion of our defoliation will go out by ground, and we hope to start this Thursday or Friday.


“I’ve found a few seeds sprouting but haven’t seen much cotton on the ground. This last weather system didn’t have any kind of strong wind with it. Several people have talked about how the rain damaged soybeans in areas where 8 to 9 inches fell, but I haven’t seen anything like that.”


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

“We haven’t had any big rains but are receiving enough little rains to cause problems and it’s still in the forecast. A little dryland cotton has been picked but it was probably a bit too wet and the cotton didn’t pick well. After the stalks were shredded, the ground was kind of white with cotton that was left behind.


“Again, that was dryland cotton and it wasn’t going to be that good anyway. This was a case where a grower has a good deal of ground to cover and he had to start somewhere. With our dryland cotton, pest pressure has been light and we only had to spray a couple of times.


“We’re hoping that we can make some progress next week. The forecast has had a 50% to 60% chance of rain every day, but a drying trend is supposed to come into play next Tuesday. We’re seeing a little regrowth.


“The main change I expect for 2019 will be more cover crops. Where we had some this year, cotton held up better on droughty ground. This won’t be a huge, sudden change but the trend is shifting to more cover cropping.”


Phillip McKibben, McKibben Ag Services, Mathiston, Mississippi:

“We’re still looking at cotton every 3 or 4 days to make defoliation decisions. We’re trying to move on that as quickly as we can but without jumping the gun. We’ve already made recommendations on half of our cotton and growers are just waiting for the ground to dry up enough that they can proceed. So far, applications have been made on 200 to 300 acres.


“We’ve applied desiccants on 15% to 20% of our soybeans (as of 9/11) and have just started cutting.”


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

“We’re in the second week of defoliation and maybe 50% of the crop has received at least one shot. Some pickers started moving today (9/11). With a lot of cotton, we’ll make the second application this week.


“Rice harvest is moving full steam ahead and 30% to 40% of the crop has been cut. It’s doing really well. None of our beans have been cut yet. We may be in some of those fields 10 days from now. With this last weather system, it rained 2 to 4.5 inches on Saturday, so we’re wet in places.”


Dan Fromme, Louisiana Extension Cotton and Corn Specialist:

“Maybe 1% to 2% of the cotton has been picked and a lot of fields have been defoliated. But we’re kind of sitting here now (9/11) with wet and cloudy conditions, so things have shut down. We have some really good cotton if we can just get it out of the field.


“Most cotton is pretty well open. If it hadn’t been for rainy conditions, we would be hitting it pretty hard now. Usually, Louisiana gets pounded, but we haven’t had as much rain from these last systems as they’re reporting in other parts of the Midsouth. So far, I haven’t seen any sprouting, so we’ve been fortunate in that regard. With sunshine and dry weather, it shouldn’t take long to get back in the field.”


Bill Robertson, Arkansas Extension Cotton Specialist:

“We’re making a lot of progress now with defoliation. A good many acres have had their first shot and the second shot is going out now on more fields. I was told about one field near Monette in northeast Arkansas that had been picked.


“Before (tropical storm) Gordon, we considered defoliating some cotton at Marianna but those plants were still carrying too many large green bolls that would make money. That was dryland cotton and several people say that some of the early dryland fields could average 1,000 lbs/acre, maybe more.



“With all this wet weather, boll rot is moving up plants on a wide basis. Realistically, those very first bolls in the bottom of the plant tend to be small, so we can stand to lose a little of that and hold back from defoliation to make that top crop. But in some fields now, we’re trading bolls on the bottom for bolls on the top.


“We had a tremendous crop out there and still have plenty of potential. We just need dry weather and sunshine so pickers can begin running and harvest those money bolls before we lose them.”


Darrin Dodds, Mississippi Cotton Specialist:

“The biggest thing our cotton needs is for the rain to move out, the sun to come out and temperatures to heat up. Hard lock and boll rot aren’t horrible, overall, but are bad in places now (9/11). If we had 2 or 3 days of clear weather, that would really help. The bulk of the crop is ready for defoliation. Some has been picked but the rain put that on hold. It rained 3.5 inches Sunday night at my house.”


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

“A few pickers tried to run last week in some really early fields and a little more defoliation started last week, too. But wet weather held us back from making much progress. We started defoliating a little this week in areas where it’s dry enough. But between the effects of Hurricane Gordon and then that cold front, it rained 3 to 5.5 inches this past weekend.


“I’ve received a number of calls about boll rot and hard lock. It’s happening at a concerning level in parts of the crop and we’re trying to figure out what’s going on. Part of this may be due to poor pollination that left some locks with few if any seed, so those bolls aren’t opening like they should.


“All kinds of things can lead to poor pollination, and it’s hard right now to sort out all those factors. Reports are coming in about this in certain varieties but it’s difficult to say whether this is a variety-specific thing. I’m not seeing anything that would link this to insect activity.


“Hopefully, this is more of a localized situation. We definitely don’t need to lose any more bolls. I’ve walked some fields that have not had this issue. We’ll have to see what kind of effect this finally has on yields.”


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

“We’re defoliating cotton and are trying to get everything moved along as fast as we can. Nothing has been picked yet. That might start early next week. Half of our cotton has had its first defoliation shot. The rain put things on hold, plus guys are involved with other crops – trying to cut rice and get beans ready, plus some haven’t finished corn.”




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