by AgFax Media LLC, AgFax.com
Cotton picking has started, mostly on a limited basis. A little harvest is now underway into the upper Midsouth.
More defoliation has cranked up. Several days of rain are in the forecast, starting later this week. Some growers will push ahead with defoliation and hope that wet weather moves out quickly. Others may hold off to minimize the chance for further hard locking or boll rot.
Juvenile growth, spurred on by late rainfall, has taken off in parts of the Midsouth.
The crop has moved fast and is finishing early in many locations. In certain cases cotton may be further along than the plants might initially indicate.
LOUISIANA CROP REPORTS
Gary Wolfe, La-Ark Agricultural Consulting, Ida, Louisiana: "One of my growers started picking cotton this week. No word on yields. The weather really got us. We had 7 weeks of drought, then it started raining in August, and farmers had high hopes. But then that prolonged period of rain set in, and we had 16 days of rain to some degree in an 18-day stretch, plus heavy dews. That took a toll on the cotton. Nobody knows how this will finally work out."
Dan Fromme, Louisiana Extension Cotton And Corn Specialist: "With all the rain earlier, harvest finally kicked into gear in the last 2 to 3 days. Some cotton has been defoliated for a while – 2 weeks or more in places – but things were too wet.
"We're now having a hard time with all the new juvenile growth that the rain triggered, and we're having to go back a second or even a third time to remove it. Rain is supposed to return on Thursday, with chances every day through Monday. Some people are applying defoliants ahead of the rain, while others are waiting. Where people are applying defoliants ahead of the rain, they're thinking that it's already getting late and they don't want to add further delays.
"But I also think that some people are starting defoliation now simply out of disgust for what happened to this crop. They want to close the books on it as soon as it's practical to do so. We had a fairly good crop before all the rain started in August, and now our cotton has sustained a good deal of boll rot, hard lock and some seed sprouting.
"It was a season with some big swings, too. Through much of the summer it was dry, and we were kind of depressed about yield potential. Then at the end of July it started raining, and cotton looked good all of a sudden. And then the big rains came later and things fell apart. On top of that, growers had to spray for bollworms and high plant bug numbers in places. Again, plenty of growers just want to get it over with."
Richard Griffing, Griffing Consulting, LLC, Monterey, Louisiana: "A little cotton has been picked, about 500 acres. It maybe averaged 1,250 lbs/acre. Within 2 days (from 9/13) we'll have all of our second defoliant shot out. With all the rain in August, we found a lot of boll rot and also lost some top fruit to target spot, so the crop went from excellent to fair during the month of August."