Planting activity has picked up on a wide basis since our last report, thanks to drier and somewhat warmer conditions. More heat is needed after lows into the 40s through a wide swath of the Midsouth. A small amount of cotton in Louisiana is now at 5 leaves.
Thrips pressure is picking up in Louisiana. Cutworms are still a factor in places but have eased up in some areas where they inflicted early damage.
Spot planting and/or replanting are underway where heavy rains and prolonged wet conditions took out plants, prevented adequate emergence or allowed farmers to only plant parts of fields.
David Kerns, Entomologist, Louisiana State University, Macon Ridge Research Station: "A lot of thrips are turning up in cotton, and people are treating. We're seeing kind of a mix but are picking up more western flower thrips (WFT) than we did last year. Tobacco thrips are still the predominate species but WFT make up 20% to 25% of the population right now. The weather warmed up today (5/10), which will help cotton grow and move past thrips being a factor. But we've just had a week of unusually cool conditions, so cotton stopped growing. That set up plants for thrips injury."
Travis Vallee, CenLa Ag Services, Pineville, Louisiana: "Cotton planting should finish in the next 2 to 3 days (from 5/10), weather permitting. It looks like our cotton acres will be up 5% to maybe even 10%. Our oldest cotton has 5 leaves on it. "Thrips pressure has really blown up in the last 10 to 12 days, and we're currently battling them. This pressure is well above average for us. I haven't had a field so far that didn't require an application. If anything, they've gotten worse in the last few days. Cutworms were an issue in April but aren't now."
Dan Fromme, Louisiana Extension Cotton And Corn Specialist: "We're rolling fast and a lot of diesel is being burned getting cotton planted. In places, people have been running hard for a good week. Temperatures are warming and we have moisture, so everything being planted now should be out of the ground in 5 days. If we miss rain later this week, a big portion of the cotton can be planted. "Some cotton planted in April went through too much rain and soils crusted over, so we've had replants in those cases. Also, I've gotten several reports of cutworms. Thrips are evident in some fields, too. Other than that, it's mostly good news this week."