Cool, wet conditions early in the season set West Texas cotton up for unusually heavy seedling disease pressure, but the overall crop may make decent yields.
“We still could see some seedling disease,” says Texas AgriLife Extension plant pathologist Jason Woodward, who works out of the Texas A&M Research and Extension Center in Lubbock.
“It’s been one of the worst seasons for seedling diseases I’ve seen in the eight years I’ve been here,” he adds.
“We’ve also seen some of the less prominent diseases, rhizoctonia and pythium,” he says.
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Most of the early infestations have cleared up and cotton is “growing out of” early setbacks,” he says, but recent rainfall may provide new disease challenges.
Overall, the High Plains cotton “is a mixed bag,” Woodward says. “In some places, it looks as good as I’ve seen it since I’ve been here. But some fields that received heavy rains are struggling.”
He says areas north and east of Lubbock were set back by heavy rainfall around the Memorial Day weekend. “Those fields need warm weather.”
Cotton field trials at Halfway, north of Lubbock, look rough and “beat up. It’s not shiny at all.” Cotton near Lamesa, south of Lubbock, where soils are lighter, “looks like one of the best crops I’ve seen. Most of the dryland cotton there looks good.” He says that area has received less rainfall than sites to the north, but the rainfall was timely.
Woodward says the rain has caused some disease and lateness issues but that moisture is much better than it has been for the past three years. “Overall, I’m pleased with what I see in the field. We need some warm weather.” And a few timely rains would not hurt.