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A Dry Start print email

Walter Myers
Agricultural Management Services, Inc.
Clayton, La.

 
The seafood producers of Louisiana are not the only farming industry in peril at this time. The lack of rain in our area, which includes Catahoula, Concordia, Avoyelles and Tensas Parishes has cotton farmers wondering if this will be another unfavorable cotton production year like the last. The 2009 season proved to be a difficult one for cotton producers in this area. One of our clients described the season as “difficult from the first seed planted to the last boll picked.”

Several factors have impeded the process of planting for cotton farmers this year. The problem for farmers not being able to plant began at the end of the 2009 season when continual rain forced producers to harvest crops in saturated fields creating deep ruts. To prepare the fields for the 2010 crop, farmers had to remove the ruts by disking and rowing up. This process left the field with inadequate moisture. While other parts of the country have experienced record rainfall, parts of northeast and central Louisiana have had below average rainfall. In fact, according to the Louisiana Office of State Climatology, four of the five months in the current year have had below average rainfall. Producers are now faced with the dilemma of waiting for rain or dry planting.

On a positive note, cotton planted on stale seedbeds seems to be doing well at this time. This constitutes about 50 percent of the acreage farmed by our clients. Inadequate moisture has slowed growth somewhat, but cotton plants are healthy and still growing. Thus far, insect pressure is light, and herbicide tank mixtures have allowed good control of unwanted vegetation. The Bible tells us that God sends “rain on the just and on the unjust,” and since we all fit into one of these categories, sooner or later rain will come.

Late planting necessitates best management practices (BMPs). Producers must not yield to short cut temptations such as planting without adding seed treatments, cutting fertilizer recommendations drastically and delaying herbicide and insecticide applications. Although cotton planting has been delayed, we can take heart by remembering that cotton is a forgiving crop. The 2009 growing season’s outlook was bleak during June and the beginning of July. By the end of the season, producers picked a much more favorable yield than the half bale that was predicted. With timely rains, good growing conditions and BMPs, the 2010 harvest could become the profitable crop we need.

 
Click here to ask Walter Myers a question or submit a comment about this month’s Cotton Consultant’s Corner.

• M. Ed. from Northeast Louisiana University
• Member of Louisiana Agricultural Consultants
  Association (LACA)
• Member of the NAICC
• Licensed consultant for 19 years
• Worked with agricultural consulting firms for 18 years
  prior to becoming a consultant
• Married to Jackie for 40 years. Three children: Tish;
  Matt and wife, Leanne; and Nancy and husband,
  Jonathan.
• Three grandchildren: Jacob, Will and Anna
• Enjoys family, mission work and hunting

Recap: Here We Go Again In 2010
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