As the 2013 cotton production season drew near, the main topics of conversation across the Belt centered on challenging weather conditions, and, in certain areas, water availability.
Missouri cotton specialist Mike Milam reports on page 10, “Cool, wet soils and danger of frost during our normal earlier planting dates have really slowed things down.” Last month, he also notes, “The March 1-April 15 average temperatures were running at 62.6 degrees. In 2013, for the same dates, our average was 47.9.”
Much of Mississippi experienced frequent rainfall this spring, as did north Louisiana. Mississippi cotton specialist Darrin Dodds says in the May issue, “At the time of this writing, we are awaiting another one to two inches of predicted rainfall this evening and a greater than 50 percent chance of additional rainfall early next week.”
Louisiana crop consultant James Clower, who is featured in Cotton Consultant’s Corner on page 9, says, “So far, 2013 has certainly been a year of extremes in northeast Louisiana. Since making timely January and February burndown applications, cold, wet weather delayed cotton planting by a month or more. This delay allowed residual herbicides to break down and new flushes of weeds to emerge, forcing another costly burndown just prior to planting.”
He also points out, “Due to weather-related weed issues, I am sure [spider mites and plant bugs] will be major players this year and should be dealt with early. With plant bugs, an early application kills nymphs and has some ovicidal activity. When the females are subjected to an early application, they lay significantly fewer eggs, and there is a dramatic reduction in the viability of those eggs.”
As 24 percent of the Web Poll respondents indicated, water availability also is an issue that is affecting some areas, especially Texas.
Texas cotton specialist Gaylon Morgan says on page 11, “Much of the Rolling Plains has received some precipitation, typically less than one inch, but remains in an extreme-to-excessive drought. Additional rain will be needed to establish and maintain any dryland crop.”
Mark Kelley, who is also a Texas cotton specialist, says on page 12, “We have not received much widespread precipitation to aid in stand establishment at this time. Furthermore, high winds, like those experienced over the weekend in Lubbock, makes keeping the seed zone moisture in place for germination more difficult.”
Following are some comments from respondents who voted in the May Web Poll:
• “Drought conditions in southern New Mexico are continuing for the third year. It is likely to be catastrophic for many farmers.”
• “We are still replanting after the wet, cold weather in early May. Usually, cotton should be squaring to almost blooming already.”
• “Without water, all of the other issues are non-starters.”
This month, we are polling our readers to see if they believe that conservation compliance will remain linked with crop insurance premium assistance in the 2013 Farm Bill. On May 21, 34 organizations – including the National Cotton Council – sent a letter to all of the U.S. senators. These groups stated that they are committed to opposing “amendments on the Senate floor that might weaken the crop insurance program or amendments that might not link conservation compliance with crop insurance premium assistance.”
Go to cottonfarming.com to cast your vote and share your comments as to whether you think this “link” will remain in the final version of the bill. Be sure to check out the results of the June Web Poll in the July issue of Cotton Farming.
Web Poll Results
In your opinion, which one of the following will most affect your planting and/or early season cotton crop management?
• Winter/spring weather conditions – 72 %
• Water availability – 24 %
• Insect pressure/nematodes – 2 %
• Weed pressure – 2 %
June Web Poll Question
Do you believe that conservation compliance will remain linked with crop insurance premium assistance when the 2013 Farm Bill is completed?
(3) It depends.
Register your vote and comments at www.cottonfarming.com.