AgFax Cotton - Louisiana

By, AgFax Media LLC


Much of the 2018 Midsouth cotton crop has now been planted, based on this week's reports. We're hearing about planting winding down on a localized basis from Louisiana to Missouri.

While plenty of seed has gone in the ground, growers in parts of the region have mostly parked planters and are waiting for rain before trying to cover any more acres. After a couple of weeks of mostly dry weather and plenty of heat, soil moisture is either gone or it's too deep to be practical. In places, farmers have been running pivots to trigger emergence and/or gain a stand.

Lack of rain is complicating weed control where showers are needed to incorporate preemerge herbicides.


Hank Jones, C&J Ag Consulting, Pioneer, Louisiana:

"My guys are probably 85% done with cotton planting. In places, some worked up fields late but then lost moisture and are now waiting for rain. We'll definitely have some late-May cotton where we're waiting to finish planting. That said, most cotton came up like a dream, with 5 days from planting to emergence.

"At that point, you couldn't have asked for better conditions. But we also have not had a rain since preemerge herbicides went out, and we need a good general shower to activate the materials.  Of my acres, nearly 75% have emerged. In places where we haven't had rain in 10 days or so, most of those growers are knocking the tops off rows and are actually putting seed into perfect conditions. That soil is only dry on top.

"Except for fields inside the levee, we're 95% finished with soybean planting and everything planted is up. As with cotton, we're hoping for rain to activate preemerge herbicides. Beans range from just emerging to V3. Remarkably, no replants. We'll probably start seeing some blooms in 10 days. Most everyone is trying to water corn, and it's generally at V7 to V8. I don't know that there's a lot of need to water corn quite yet, but I guess you've got to start at some point."

Harold Lambert, Consultant, Innis, Louisiana:

"Our cotton is all planted and most of it is up to acceptable stands. It ranges from cotyledon to 2 true leaves. Over the last month the weather completely swapped – from cold and wet to hot and dry. Cotton is hardly moving and it's having a hard time finding moisture in mixed and heavy soils. And with all that, we're now dealing with thrips.

"In soybeans, a tremendous number of acres were planted in a 2-week period that started right at the end of April. But with this intense heat and lack of rain now, there's no soil moisture. The moisture left fast, too. Any soybeans planted in the last 4 to 5 days missed full germination and we have some partial stands now. 

"Our oldest beans are at R3 but may only be a foot tall. Eventually, we think some spot replanting will be needed. The forecast isn't showing any rain for a while. The longer that seed stays in the ground with this kind of heat, the less likely it will contribute anything to the crop."

Dan Fromme, Louisiana Extension Cotton and Corn Specialist:

"Since May 1, it's warmed up and dried out and cotton popped out of the ground. We're at least 70% planted but that may be more like 80% (as of 5/15). We would have been further along but soils dried up enough that growers pulled back on planting.

"What was planted in the last couple of days in April and early in May has shanked up nicely. In those cases where people jumped the gun and planted earlier in April, they've have had to replant. Hopefully, we're set up for a good cotton crop. We're overdue for one. 

"With this heat and lack of rain, the corn is suffering and people are irrigating where they can. Corn was planted late and it doesn't look good across the state."