TALKIN' COTTON: Weather placing stress on cotton

Dry, hot weather is placing stress on all dryland cotton and some irrigated cotton, says J.C. Banks, Oklahoma State University Extension state cotton specialist at Altus.

“The stressed cotton is at the cutout stage in many areas, and yield potential will be further limited if rainfall is not received soon,” Banks said. “Cutout is officially determined when the top of the plant is within four to five nodes of the uppermost first position white bloom, but it can also be easily determined when we start observing blooms in the top of the plant.

“Producers refer to this as 'blooming in the top.' In healthy plants, the nodes above white flower should be seven or eight at first bloom, and decrease by approximately one node per week during blooming. We have not only been observing this in dryland cotton, but also in irrigated cotton when water is short or root growth has been inhibited,” Banks said.

“In some fields, we are observing what an Extension specialist in Louisiana refers to as suspended cutout. The nodes above white flower stay the same and the plant continues to fruit for several weeks.

Banks said growers may need to evaluate irrigation scheduling. “If the fields are getting plenty of water, the next thing to look for is nitrogen or other nutrient deficiency caused by a restricted root system. In these situations, a foliar nitrogen application could extend fruiting, allowing the plant to hold one or two more bolls.”

For dryland fields, Banks recommended farmers “hunker down” and wait for rain. “A rainfall soon will cause some small bolls to drop, but new growth will initiate and new squares and blooms will develop in the top of the plant. These new squares need to be on the plant by mid-August to produce a harvestable boll.”


A 20 minute, anonymous, online Natural Resource Survey of U.S. cotton producers helps the Cotton Research and Promotion Program Cotton Incorporated conducts on producers' behalf.

Questions about the survey, which is being extended to garner additional responses, can be found at [email protected].

Specifically, the survey will help identify strides producers have made in production efficiency and natural resource management. These are findings that can be used to develop U.S. cotton's environmental message to the global textile industry, brands, retailers and consumers.

Producers are asked to complete the questionnaire only once and only if they have production responsibility for a cotton farming operation. Following completion of the questionnaire, producers also may request a “Cotton Natural” t-shirt in appreciation for their effort.

TALKIN' COTTON is produced by NTOK Cotton, a cotton industry partnership which supports and encourages cotton production in North Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. For more information on the cotton scene, see and For questions and comments on Talkin' Cotton, contact [email protected].

TAGS: Cotton
Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.