Talkin' cotton

Wet weather kept producers out of the field last week, according to Dr. J. C. Banks, OSU Extension state cotton specialist. “Heavy rains normally cause a problem with crusting when they occur prior to emergence, but last week we had light showers almost daily, and soil temperatures stayed above 60 degrees,” he said.

“This allowed the cotton to germinate and emerge without having to push through a heavy soil crust. On Friday and Saturday, most of the cotton planted the prior week had emerged. We need warm and dry weather to continue planting in the longer season areas.

“If this week is warm, it is time to start planting dryland cotton. Moisture conditions are excellent and we need to take advantage of the good soil conditions and temperature. If tillage is needed prior to planting, it needs to be shallow and the seed needs to be placed into firm soil. If planting will be in or near small grains that are maturing, be aware that as soon as the plants dry down, thrips will move to the young, green cotton as soon as it emerges.

“In these areas, an in-furrow or seed treatment insecticide should be used. I have already noticed high numbers of thrips coming out of drying wheat. If not controlled, they can cause early season stress which will result in later fruiting and reduced yields”


Chris Sansone, Texas A&M Extension entomologist at San Angelo, and Todd Baughman, Texas Extension agronomist at Vernon, have similar reports on general growing conditions across the Texas Rolling Plains. “Wet weather has put cotton planting, all spring planting, on hold until the ground dries. Soil temperatures are adequate, so once it does dry all producers will be planting. Early planted cotton will have to be replanted due to soils sealing due to rainfall or fields going under water for a few days.

“Approximately 1,500 acres of wheat was damaged in the Southern Rolling Plains by hail, but severe weather missed most of the area. Corn and grain sorghum are making good progress in the Southern Rolling Plains, although wireworms have caused some problems in grain sorghum fields in isolated areas.”

Talkin’ Cotton is a feature of NTOK Cotton, a cotton industry partnership, which encourages increased cotton production in the Rolling Plains of North Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. For more information on the cotton scene, check out, and

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