Ag Journal – The condition of cotton


LUBBOCK, Texas — The biggest thing cotton growers are concerned about right now is the hot, dry weather.

And, according to farmers, planting was late this season due to climatic weather during May and June which put growers a week to two weeks behind schedule.

Irrigated growers that have a good crop in the field are concerned as to when to shut water off as dry land growers are starting to see permanent wilt.

Permanent wilt is where the cotton plant is stressed, wilting all day long, and begins shedding all its fruit except for the bowls that are thumb size or bigger. 

The rest of the country producing cotton is fairly average with South Texas being above average and the Mid Atlantic doing a little bit better, according to the USDA.

The USDA reported that bales would be up this year, now South Plains cotton growers are hopeful they will come out with something that will show a little bit less than what the projected average is.

The last effective bloom date which varies from north to south, is the last bloom that can traditionally make it to a harvestable bowl based on a ten year average.

For the north, it’s the first to second week of August. For the south, the 18th to 20th of August.

“You want those three weeks after your last effective bloom date to make sure you’re not stressing that cotton plant,” said Tim Culpepper, agronomist for BASF. “You’re trying to help them out with the best science that you know. That’s a good guideline to really help these farmers determine when to quit spending money.”

“If the forecast looks favorable, temperatures are getting cooler, we’re seeing a few rains coming in and helping out then it’s probably time to shut off the water that first week of September,” Culpepper said. “But, if it is hot and dry, like it is right now, you play it by ear and keep going.”

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