Larry Stalcup, AgFax Southwest Editor
Debra L Ferguson, AgFax Managing Editor
Special thanks to PhytoGen, the exclusive sponsor of AgFax Southwest Cotton.
“We’re going to be buried in cotton.” – Rex Friesen, Kansas.
“I have the cleanest fields I’ve ever had.” – Paul Pilsner, Texas Coastal Bend
Gins damaged by Hurricane Harvey are booking it this year. – Stephen Biles, Texas Upper Coast
Late season weed control – take ‘em out now – waterhemp, pigweed and morning glory.
Scroll down for AgFax News Links PLUS Events in Oklahoma and Texas.
Josh McGinty, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agronomist, Corpus Christi: “We’re 95% picked from Victoria south. We’re up against boll weevil stalk destruction dates, so a few growers may get extensions to finish their harvest.
“As far as yields, most is in the 700 to 800 pounds per acre range. Parts of western San Patricio County may get less than a one bale average after the rough year they’ve seen. But we've had some spots go 2 bales, mainly in late planted cotton that benefitted from the late rains. The overall average will probably be 1.5 bales.
“Grades are looking pretty good - no bad leaf grades. Mic and staple length are good also. It turned out to be a decent year. Given how awful our grain was, we’re glad cotton made something.
“However, the Upper Gulf Coast still has a lot of cotton to be picked and there are significant chances for rain in the foreseeable future.”
Alan Seitz, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Wilcox, Arizona: “We’ve cooled off a little in southeastern Arizona. It will be in the 80s and low 90s this week. We had a big rain over the Sulphur Springs Valley this past weekend, as much as 4 inches in some areas.
“Some Pix is being applied to shut some of this stuff down after the rains. We’ve tapered off in problems with southwestern cotton rust, but there is still a little stink bug pressure.
“The crop looks pretty good. I’m excited about it. We had an unusual amount of heat for us, along with the added rainfall. I would hope we have a lot of 3.5 to 4-bale stuff. That’s if we get a good fall.”
Stephen Biles, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Victoria, Calhoun & Refugio Counties: “Most of the cotton has been harvested, but a few fields remain. The only thing holding us up is a rain shower here and there.
“Yields are surprisingly average to above average. Some are as high as 3.5 bales per acre. It is dryland, but I call that ‘rain-fed’ cotton, because it’s not the same dryland cotton I used to see in West Texas. Many farmers have average yields that are 2 to 2.5 bales across all of their cotton.
“The good yields are the result of timely rains we received in June after a dry spring. That really made the crop. Gins are running, even those that were heavily damaged by Hurricane Harvey this time last year.
“Corn had an average to below average yield, about 70 to 85 bushels per acre. Sorghum yields are pretty good at 5,000 to 5,500 pounds per acre. Soybeans yielded 30 to 40 bushels per acre.”
Paul Pilsner, Pilsner Consulting, Wharton, Texas: “The crop is much better than expected. I had mostly early maturing varieties and my clients are about 80% harvested. Some of the latest varieties have quite a bit left before harvest, so we’re pretty happy right now.
“The crop wasn’t as pretty as we’d like in the tops, but it’s picking more than it looks. When the gin reports came back, we had better yields and quality. Yields on the dryland are 2 to 3 bales pretty much everywhere. Cotton-on-cotton is 2 bales. Areas under a good rotation are yielding 3 bales. I have one early field under irrigation that I expect to go 3 bales or higher if the weather cooperates. We have rain predicted for much of the next week to 10 days.
“Weed control was very good. I have the cleanest fields I’ve ever had. Most of my varieties are Enlist. The area’s Xtend stuff also looks decent. It’s a no brainer that when you have lots of weed pressure you have to carefully use these products. We have Roundup resistant waterhemp in nearly every field. In fields where there is still some waterhemp, we couldn’t spray Enlist because neighboring fields didn’t have the same technology. In those cases, you couldn’t put on enough Liberty to control the weeds.
“We’re looking forward to a wet winter, and as many or more cotton acres next year. I’d like to see more of a grain rotation, but grain prices are too low. That’s too bad because I had some 60-bushel dryland soybeans that looked great.”
Rex Friesen, Southern Kansas Cotton Growers Co-op, Winfield: "We received some good late season rain. It helped a lot of good looking fields where leaves were drooping. It’s the icing on the cake for cotton. Most growers were in a position to benefit from it.
“Lots of fields have large bolls at the top. We expect to see a fair amount of cotton being stripped by the end of the month. Some growers should make Prep applications in a week or two. I think a lot of dryland cotton will yield 1,000 pounds per acre. We could still see some really good yields.
“Overall quality should be good to very good, but potassium deficiency is showing up in a few fields. It could cause premature defoliation that could drop the quality like we saw last year. Many growers responded to last year’s deficiency and put on a lot more potassium this year. That should reduce the problem.
“We’ve had a lot of worm issues. A number of people have sprayed bollworms in 2-gene cotton. We’ve also been spraying for stink bugs. Two different consultants said we’ve sprayed more for stink bugs than ever before.
“Weed control has also been expensive. You don't see fields that are super clean as in the past. We’ve had scattered escapes of pigweed. It’s just getting tougher to control weeds.
"Still, this looks like a tremendous crop. There will be challenges to get it all harvested and ginned timely. We’re going to be buried in cotton.
“We’re in the process of making major renovations to boost the capacities of our co-op gins in Anthony and Winfield. If the continued changes in weather patterns are due to climate change, we're cashing in big on it. It’s very welcomed.”
Kerry Siders, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Hockley, Cochran & Lamb Counties: “We had a little rain Saturday (9/1) and Sunday. The eastern half of my area had over 1 inch. A lot of guys would like to have that amount to know they’re done irrigating. We have open cotton in some early fields. I have cotton at Ropesville that’s 10% open. It will probably be 10 days before we see the first cracked bolls.
“Insects are mostly behind us. There are a few spots with cotton aphids, but the numbers are on a serious decline. Physiology of the plant is changing too fast. Bollworm problems are behind us now on cotton. Sorghum is pulling off some of the worm pressure. We could see our first harvest aid applications go out after September 15. We’ll probably start stripping the first week of October.
“It was really a rough year with the dryland we lost. But we have some really good irrigated cotton. Chalk it up to accumulated heat units and getting the most out of limited irrigation. We could be pleasantly surprised with some of these yields.
“There are a few last minute flushes of pigweed and other weeds. Most of it is just a nuisance thing. Some morning glory will need to be treated, even at harvest aid time. PPO products do a good job of controlling them. We don't want morning glory to go to seed.”
Seth Byrd, Oklahoma State University Extension Cotton Specialist, Stillwater/Altus: “Rain and cooler temperatures are in the forecast this week everywhere we have cotton. There could be some big accumulations and it could get interesting. Some irrigated in the southwest corner could still capitalize on it because there are no cracked bolls yet. A lot of dryland in the I-40 region has matured out. It’s not ready to defoliate but has bloomed its last node or two. Hopefully that cotton doesn't see a lot of regrowth from the rainfall.
“The best-case scenario is we lose some heat units and get moisture we need to finish out the crop before we get back to warmer temperatures next week. We won't know for sure until a month from now how this week’s rain will impact the crop.
“There could be some weed flushes, depending on when the last residual herbicide was put out. This time of year it’s critical to get flushes under wraps so they don't interfere with harvest.
“I’m hearing about bollworms in 2-gene cotton. Nobody ever wants to see worms, but the key thing is to scout fields to know if worms are at threshold and whether the crop is at cutout in order to determine if a treatment is justified from a financial standpoint.
“The general rule of thumb is – if the crop is at cutout and has accumulated 350 to 450 heat units since cutout – then it’s unlikely that significant losses from bollworms will occur. If it’s earlier in the season and there’s a chance to make more cotton, then this is an easier call to make and a treatment may be justified.
“We could see a big push toward 3-gene Bt traits in areas that see worm pressure this year.”
Ed Bynum, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Entomologist, Amarillo: “As cotton is moving along, we're probably running out of a lot of insects to be concerned with. After it has reached cutout, the potential for damage is mostly over. But some small bolls might still be damaged by bollworms or fall armyworms. Also, we need to watch for some late season stink bugs.
“In sorghum, there are some issues with headworms and sugarcane aphid. Some sorghum that was planted late is just finishing flowering and approaching the soft dough stage. Sugarcane aphids could be a problem for it. Sorghum in the grain development stage could be affected by headworms.
“There may be some lady beetles and other predators to help hold down sugarcane aphid populations. But when sorghum is in flowering and early milk stages, the aphids could build up faster than what predators can control. There could be some yield loss.
“Some guys are planting wheat or are close to it. They need to watch for volunteer wheat and possible movement of aphids and wheat curl mites.”
Wayne Keeling, Texas A&M AgriLife Research Weed Specialist, Lubbock: “If cotton is a good ways from defoliation and the canopy is not too big, growers may need to make a hooded sprayer application to take out any late-season pigweeds. Also, fallowed ground that may see weeds go to seed might need some late-season herbicide applications.
“Growers have done a good job with weed control this year. They have been successful in using the new technologies in their herbicide programs. They are doing the right thing. There have been few problems with off-target applications. They need to take stock of what they did that was successful this year – what worked and what didn't work – and develop a plan for next year. Hopefully the new technologies will continue to be available to them.”
Emi Kimura, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Area Agronomist, Vernon: "There is little dryland cotton remaining in Stonewall and Kent counties. Cotton around Vernon is similar. Many producers have given up and plowed the land under to plant wheat. There is some irrigated cotton still hanging in there but it is below average.
“Even though it is raining hard this afternoon (9/4), it is far too late. The irrigated received little help from rain during the key part of the growing season. We haven't defoliated anything yet. Producers are just waiting for bolls to open.”
Gary Beverage, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Artesia, New Mexico/Southwest Texas: “We’re getting to the end. We had an end-of-season stink bug run near Carlsbad. Other than that, the pest situation has been quiet.
“We’re running at cutout and overall the crop looks very good. Heat units are way up compared to last year. Our early and mid-maturing varieties are pretty much done. I think we're at above average yields. We’ll see some 3-plus bale cotton.
“Overall weed control was good. But we still have some refuge issues with pigweed.”
Beneficial friends looking for lunch.
©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography
AgFax.com News Links
Rose on Cotton: The Option Pit is Still Your Friend 8-31
Cleveland On Cotton: Demand Exists In A Huge Way, Despite Mills’ Rhetoric 8-31
U.S. Drought Monitor Monthly – September 8-31
Texas: Gill Appointed Interim Associate Dean, Texas A&M 9-3
Weekly Cotton Market Review – USDA 8-31
Drought Monitor Weekly: Mostly Cooler, Wetter; Texas Still Getting Scorched 8-30
Events: Texas and Oklahoma
Texas: Spray Equipment Setup Webinar, Sept. 6
Texas: Swisher County Corn and Sorghum Tour, Tulia, Sept. 11
Texas: Concho Valley Wild Pig Management Workshop, San Angelo, Sept. 12
Texas: Rancher Roundtable – Partners in Prescribed Burning, San Angelo, Sept. 12-13
Texas: Prospective Wine-Grape Growers Workshop, Eddy, Sept. 14
Harvest Aid, Monday, September 10, 7 p.m., Minco Gin.
Harvest Aid, Tuesday, September 11, Burns Flat - Washita County Extension office, 580-832-3356.
Carnegie Cotton Fall Harvest Tour, Thursday, Sept. 13, 8:30 a.m.
Caddo Research Station Peanut and Cotton Tour, Sept. 13, 3 p.m., Fort Cobb. Call OSU Extension Cotton Specialist Seth Byrd, 336-244-4646 or 405-744-7865.
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