By Don Molino, The Voice of Louisiana Agriculture Radio Network
According to LSU AgCenter Extension Service Cotton Specialist Dr. Dan Fromme at the Dean Lee Research Station just south of Alexandria, overall this year's crop is looking really good.
"There are some fields in parts of Louisiana that have the potential to set new (production) records," said Fromme. "We're looking at a crop I think is going to be a lot better than the 2016 and 2017 crops. So we're hopefully optimistic we'll see statewide yields as good as possibly 2013 and 2014, which would be good news for cotton."
The only downside, says Fromme, is some of the dryland acres not receiving timely rainfall. Currently, over 50% of the Louisiana cotton acres are irrigated "so fruit load is really looking good."
"Surprisingly," says Fromme, "plant bugs haven't been as severe as the last two years which is good news. We haven't had to put nearly as many insecticide applications on for plant bugs. Boll worm numbers still haven't been as bad either as compared to the last two years. There have been isolated pockets when boll worm numbers have been really high, but overall it really has been a low year as far as plant bugs and boll worms are concerned."
Fromme also reports this early part of August should see some scattered open bolls across the state and "start thinking about defoliation in mid to late August. Pickers should start showing up around Labor Day."