By Amanda Free, Cotton Research Verification/Sustainability Program Coordinator and Bill Robertson, Extension cotton agronomist
We are at a critical time for this cotton crop in terms of preserving yield potential. The hot and dry weather is making its mark on our crop. Some fields continue to produce nodes close to that expected. However, many fields of all ages across the state are exhibiting a big slowdown in node production. We should be expecting a new node every three days. Every day beyond this three days represents a lost day that we may not be able to regain. In addition to lost days, we will suddenly realize that as we approach first flower our target of 9 to 10 nodes above white flower (NAWF) at first flower is closer to 6 or 7. Management becomes even more critical to finish the year in a positive fashion with only 6 to 7 NAWF at first flower as the plant is often destined to premature cutout. There is some young cotton this week experiencing drought that could possibly have only 5 NAWF at first flower. Experience has shown that no amount of money can turn around a cotton crop in Arkansas when the plant is basically cutout (NAWF=5) at first flower. It is critical that we address our current moisture situation in a timely fashion in order to help preserve our yield potential.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Crop Progress and Condition Report for the week ending June 10 (last week) reported cotton squaring at 38% which was ahead of the five-year average of 15%. Crop progress should continue to be well ahead of the five-year averages long as favorable conditions for growth exist . They also reported that 84% of the cotton was in good (50%) to excellent (34%) condition with only 15% being fair, 1% poor, and none rated very poor.
View the linked pdf for field-specific information: 2018 Arkansas CRVSP Update June 15