As the season comes to a close or at least slows down a bit, those of us in the agricultural world typically take time to reflect on the past year’s events in preparation for the upcoming one. In many respects, 2017 was an emotional roller coaster for cotton. In the Specialists Speaking section, our experts addressed what went right, what went wrong and what to consider in making adjustments for next year’s crop.
For example, challenging weather and herbicide applications were the buzz in many areas.
California cotton specialist Bob Hutmacher says irregular weather patterns affected planting timing and early growth rates in the San Joaquin Valley. Texas cotton specialist Gaylon Morgan says, “A final estimate on bales lost from Hurricane Harvey still has not been released, but the best guesstimate remains between 200,000 to 300,000.” And, “The ability to adequately steward the newly labeled auxin herbicides had a lot of people nervous this year and continues to be a major talking point.”
In the Southeast area of the Cotton Belt, Florida cotton specialist David Wright says, “Nematodes were as bad this year as we have ever had them, especially root-knot nematodes on sandy soils. If cotton is to be grown in these fields in 2018, farmers will have to consider planting nematode-resistant varieties or applying a proven nematicide.”
Although the cotton specialists addressed adversity, they did not dwell on it. Instead, they encouraged farmers to apply what they learned to help them make good decisions in 2018. And despite hurdles along the way, excellent yields and grades are being reported in many areas, such as Oklahoma, Arkansas and North Carolina.
Oklahoma cotton specialist Randy Boman says, “The new top performance varieties are producing high yields and high quality when given good production environments. Oklahoma’s crop quality is evaluated at the Abilene, Texas, USDA classing office, and results for the first 75,000 bales indicate various measures of fiber quality are good to excellent. … If we make the November National Agricultural Statistics Service estimate, we will harvest the second highest per-acre yield ever at 951 pounds per acre. The 1.1 million bale crop forecast will be the largest in the state since 1933, when 1.266 million bales were produced on 2.86 million harvested acres.”
So stay optimistic and take time to reflect, do your homework and enjoy friends and family.
If you have comments, please send them to: Cotton Farming Magazine, 7201 Eastern Ave., Germantown, TN, 38138. Contact Carroll Smith via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.