By AgFax Media LLC, AgFax.com
A significant portion of the cotton crop has been planted in parts of the Midsouth, although in certain areas the seed are mostly still in the sack.
Seedling disease is obvious in areas that remained more wet than dry. Colder temperatures are moving into the region this week, which won't help matters.
Will last weekend's heavy rains and flooding in the upper Delta reduce the Midsouth's eventual 2017 cotton crop – especially with more rain moving into the region in the second half of the week? Rain means further delays. If a wet pattern continues, that could further delay cotton planting and perhaps nudge some intended cotton acres into soybeans. Our contacts this week mostly say it's too early to tell whether all the rain would appreciably swing late acres.
LOUISIANA CROP REPORTS
Steve Schutz, Ind. Consultant, Coushatta, Louisiana
"Cotton planting has been underway but nothing is beyond the seedling stage. My cotton acres are staying about the same. I understand that the local gin has picked up a few more growers for 2017. These were people outside of Red River Parish, although they've used the gin before. It pulls farmers from several parishes in this part of the state.
"Corn was off to an excellent start. We had some chemical application problems, but those plants outgrew any injury. Some soybeans already are at R2, although most beans we've planted are at first true leaf.
"We had to spray bollworms on 600 to 700 acres of beans out of about 10,000 acres. In the book it says soybeans can take 40% leaf damage at this point, but I'm going to treat well before we reach anything like that. Where worms developed, it's mostly on no-till ground. In another case the burndown went out late.
"The big story in our area has to do with the lack of chill hours for both peaches and wheat. In peach orchards the trees look dead – no blooms, no leaves. I've talked with specialists in both Georgia and Texas, and neither was quite sure how this would turn out. We need 800 chill hours for our varieties but only received 450.
"Lack of chilling also affected wheat. Some of it is downright crazy looking. A couple of weeks ago you could find it ranging from tillering to bloom, all in the same field. In places, it was covered with leaf rust. We treated earlier for striped rust. But with the way this crop looks, we decided not to put any more money in it where leaf rust has blown up."
Ashley Peters, Peters Crop Consulting, Crowville, Louisiana
"I started looking at cotton today (5/1), and at least 2,000 acres have been planted. I'm seeing a lot of seedling disease and spots with bad stands. I'm not sure if this is simply disease or a combination of seedling disease and the effects of crusting. Other people are reporting the same thing.
"Rain is in the forecast for Wednesday, plus cooler temperatures, and that sure won't make things any better. Some cotton is at first true leaf and in other places it's just coming up.
"My cotton acres are up 100% this year. Here in Richland Parish some guys have doubled or even tripled their cotton acres from last year. But as you move away from this area the increases aren't as dramatic. Some of our local increase may have to do with farmers pulling back from rice. Rice yields were off last year, and weak rice prices are a factor, as well. In that situation cotton looked somewhat better. In certain cases, farmers maybe had planted 3,000 acres of beans and decided they didn't want any more beans, so they shifted more acres to cotton.
"Most of my growers are 75% to 80% finished with soybean planting."