Robert L. Carter
Sideoats Ag Services
The roller coaster that is High Plains cotton farming rolls
on. After setting monthly precipitation records during the
winter and early spring, planting time brought unusually
low daytime temperatures, which delayed planting and
presented a challenge to early planted fields. Kudos to the
seed companies. The vigor of the new varieties never ceases
to amaze me! As the saying goes, “If it was easy, everybody
would be doing it.”
A full profile of soil moisture led to high optimism
regarding planting. Repeated 60 to 80 plus mph winds
have reminded us of where we live, but not dampened
that “farmer spirit” that drives us all. Conventional and
no-till operations are boasting excellent plant populations.
To capitalize on our good start and optimize plant vigor, essential early season practices are in full swing. Pre-plant herbicides are being complemented by over-the-top applications to clean the field early and avoid soil moisture loss,
difficult-to-kill mature weeds and host plants for insects. With the exception of marestail, the plague of glyphosateresistant weeds is minimal in our area. Efficacy of “available” herbicides on our high pH soils continues to be a problem, especially on specific species of morningglory.
Nitrogen stress can quickly negate other expenditures of
time and money. Farmers are busy side-dressing and
pumping fertilizer through sub-surface drip tape to meet
the demands of fruiting cotton plants. Not only are more
dryland fields being fertilized, but the fertilizer rate has
increased to reflect the yield potential that good, deep soil
The wheat harvest is peaking, and thrips are looking for
a new home. Quality seed and in-furrow treatments are
holding well, but late-planted fields are being overwhelmed.
Many have required insecticide applications. False chinch bugs have triggered treatment in some minimum-
till fields when the weed hosts are eliminated.
Fleahopper numbers are on the rise, and occasional fields
have reached threshold. Plant mapping and monitoring will be crucial to achieve maximum potential for this crop.
Plants are receiving much needed heat units and
responding with vigorous growth. Hail outs have been
fewer than in recent years, and enthusiasm for an excellent
crop remains high.
Click here to ask Robert Carter
a question or submit a comment about this month’s Cotton Consultant’s Corner.
• Independent crop consultant since 1991
• M.Ed. from Texas Tech University
• Member of High Plains Association of Crop
• Background in field ecology
• Married to Tina for 30 years
• Two daughters: Brandi and Shauna Beth
• Three grandchildren: Keegan, Campbell Marie and
• Enjoys family, teaching, hunting, fishing and tailgating
Recap: A ‘ Farmer Spirit’ Drives Us All