Cotton Planting Rolls On in South and High Plains

As cotton planting  in the  High Plains and Oklahoma moves into full swing, fields further south are past squaring stage and producers are actively scouting and treating some insect pests.

Most cotton fields in southern and eastern Texas are faring well and recent rains have improved soil moisture indexes in portions of West Texas and the Panhandle in time for planting, says Dr. Gaylon Morgan, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service cotton specialist, in a recent crop report.

He expects Texas cotton acreage to be slightly lower than 2014, but nearly double South and East Texas planted acres in 2015.

“The 2016 crop has had its challenges with excessive rain, but nothing compared to the prolonged wet weather observed in 2015,” he says.

In Oklahoma, rainfall has been spotty, according to the latest Cotton Comments crop report from Extension cotton specialists at Altus.

“We are now entering our historical prime cotton planting window for irrigated acreage,” says Randy Boman, research director and cotton Extension program leader. “Areas where rainfall was not as plentiful are still waiting for better moisture s in the upper profile.”

Morgan says some spring rain in South Texas and up into the northern and southern Blacklands have been detrimental. Some Blacklands farmers will have to replant, he says.

Recent rain events in West Texas and the Rolling Plains improved the moisture index in time for planting, but Morgan said another timely rain in mid-to-late May would help establish good cotton stands.

West Texas acreage is estimated to top 4.5 million acres.

Danielle Sekula-Ortiz, AgriLife Extension integrated pest management agent in Weslaco, said cotton planted in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, where cotton typically is planted earliest, was up and squaring nicely in early May, with some older fields showing blooms.

Source: Ron Smith, Southwest Farm Press

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