AgFax Cotton - Louisiana

By, AgFax Media LLC


Too much rain or too little. That's the scenario across parts of our coverage area. A big portion of Louisiana remains in a drought. But in the upper Midsouth, rains have kept people out of the field for an extended stretch.

Planting has stopped in places where growers have either run out of moisture or are waiting for soils to dry out. How much later people will plant cotton remains an open question. Earlier in the week, December cotton eased past 90 cents, and that may encourage some growers to plant any remaining acres. Whether people have prevented planting coverage is a factor, as well.

Squaring has taken shape in parts of the lower Midsouth but more pinheads will be apparent next week.

Isolated aphids and plant bugs are appearing in Louisiana. Spider mite treatments have been necessary in parts of Arkansas and Louisiana.


Sebe Brown, Northeast Louisiana Region Extension Entomologist:

"Certain areas of the state desperately need moisture. Other areas did receive rain over the weekend (5/26-27) and are in good shape. But a lot more areas need moisture than actually got any.

"These are tough growing conditions. While we've had great degree day accumulations, we've rapidly lost soil moisture to evaporation, and plenty of cotton isn't growing fast. On seedling cotton, slow growth is exaggerating thrips damage.

"Multiple thrips applications have been made in some cases where cotton has stalled. In some cases, thrips have blown out terminals. One consultant said some of his 7-leaf cotton still has plenty of thrips. The cotton hasn't had rain in a month. It ran out of moisture and is not growing. Thrips reduced leaves to what one older farmer described as 'monkey paws,' meaning that leaves were drawn up like little clinched fists.

"Mites are still active, mainly in river parishes, and quite a bit of acreage is being sprayed. The vast majority of treatments are with higher use rates of abamectin. So far, I haven't heard of any failures. It's also hot and dry enough that we're seeing some cotton aphids. They don't seem to be widespread. 

"A limited amount of cotton is beginning to square and plant bugs are active. That's happening in a relatively small geographic area, mainly in central Louisiana."

Dan Fromme, Louisiana Extension Cotton and Corn Specialist:

"Cotton is getting into squaring in a few places but a lot of fields will really be into squaring next week. Cotton is mostly growing well.

"We're about 90% planted and 80%-plus of the crop is up to a good stand and growing. If there are any exceptions, it's where parts of fields flooded when it was raining so much. A little more cotton will be planted if we get a rain. But without rain in the next week or two, that acreage won't be in cotton this year. 

"The south half of the state is definitely dry. The north half is a little better off but only because of spotty, erratic showers. This is finishing up as one of the driest Mays in quite a few years. Nitrogen applications are going out. Corn started tasseling last week and people are irrigating where they can."

Steve Schutz, Ind. Consultant, Coushatta, Louisiana:

"We've now gone 6 or 7 weeks without rain (as of 5/28), plus highs are heading toward the 100-degree mark, so things aren't looking too positive. Cotton is in better shape than most of the other crops, although some didn't come up on heavy ground.

"We'll probably find some pinheads next week. We've had problems with thrips and had to spray some fields twice, although that was probably due to washoff soon after spraying. No rain is in the forecast. That tropical system (Alberto) isn't heading out way and we've just got those 10% to 20% chances of rain."