By Bill Robertson, Extension Cotton Agronomist; and Amanda Free, CRVSP Coordinator
Cotton Crop Update: Our crop is running well ahead of schedule. We missed some opportunities for rainfall in June that would have gone a long ways toward having our crop where we want to be at this time. The lack of rain is obvious now. Some cotton at first flower is running 6 or 7 nodes above white flower (NAWF). Our target is 9 to 10 at first flower. A lot of fields I looked at this last week were already at 5 or 6 NAWF and haven’t been blooming that long. The challenge now is to try to keep plants from cutting out prematurely. Ideally we would like to maintain NAWF values at current levels if at 5 to 6 NAWF for a couple of weeks before we cutout. We will be happy with the crop at harvest if we can follow through like that. We want to maintain enough moisture to keep plants in the reproductive phase for another couple of weeks, and staying on top of plant growth regulator applications is also important.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Crop Progress and Condition Report for the week ending July 1 reported cotton setting bolls at 35% which was ahead of the five-year average of 11%. Crop progress should continue to be well ahead of the five-year averages long as favorable conditions for growth exist. They also reported that 89% of the cotton was in good (43%) to excellent (46%) condition with only 10% being fair, 1% poor, and none rated very poor.
CRVSP Update: There are 12 Cotton Research Verification / Sustainability Program fields in 2018. Fruiting nodes across fields range from a low of 8.9 to a high of 11.3. All fields with the exception of the Mississippi County fields are blooming. A difference has been noted among all but one of the No-till vs. Farmer Standard fields, plants are taller in No-till fields with the exception of Manila Airport field. Plants in no-till with cover are often taller as plants are having to compete for light as it is shaded by cover crop during the first few weeks after planting.
Please see the linked pdf for CRVSP field-specific information: CRVSP Update – July 6, 2018