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Be Ready For Changes In July

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Recap: Be Ready For
Changes In July


Joe Townsend
Townsend Ag Consulting, Inc.
Coahoma, Miss.

Mr. Pep Bennett was a long-time client and gentleman farmer who made 46 cotton crops in Coahoma County, Miss. At the time of his retirement, I asked him what he had learned about farming cotton. He said that there were no two years alike, and that he had 46 very different experiences with all of his 46 crops. His message was, “Be ready for changes.”

This year’s start has certainly been different and very challenging. On the 4th of July our cotton will range from the second week of blooming to just beginning to square (in some cases all in the same field).

So far, there have been advantages for cotton with fewer stink bugs and tarnished plant bugs on many farms. This is probably due to the fact that there have been so many sprays going out on corn for stink bugs and corn borers. The soybeans are holding very large populations of plant bugs now, but for the present, the critters seem very content to stay in the beans. WHEN they move into the cotton, we will have some significant plant bug problems.

Early Group IV soybeans sustained larger populations of bollworms, armyworms and cabbage loopers than we have seen in the last several years. This may or may not pose problems for cotton in July. Hopefully, we have had all our spider mites washed away and will not have a mite problem this year. Aphids made their presence known in mid- June and will more than likely not be a problem for us in cotton by mid-July.

Weed control has been more of a challenge this year than any I remember. Horseweed (mare’s tail) and rye grass have been especially challenging to control. Wind and rain have made timing of weed control very difficult, especially with conventional cotton and beans, wheat, rice or grain sorghum in the neighborhood.

Hindsight is telling us that off-season pre-emerge weed control or tillage will be needed in the future. We’ve seen more cotton plowed this year than in a long time. Close plowing with auto-steer has been especially impressive.

Be ready for the changes coming in July.



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