By Clint Thompson
Georgia cotton growers are busy planting this year’s crop. According to Phillip Roberts, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension cotton entomologist, the state’s farmers have already had to overcome various challenges from Mother Nature.
“If we think back, we had some pretty significant rainfall events (in April). That really created some problems for us, just trying to get a stand,” Roberts said. “There’s probably going to have be replanting on some of that cotton. That’s one challenge we’ve had.”
Roberts said that the challenge now is the complete opposite. Instead of having too much rain, some fields desperately need rainfall. As of Wednesday morning, a storm front was moving through South Georgia. Also, cotton that was already in the ground in early May was impacted by cooler temperatures.
“Currently, we’re about to start facing challenges of not having enough moisture in our dryland fields. We’re about to that point. We could use some rain in some areas,” Roberts said. “The other thing I would say, the stands we do have up, I mean (two weeks ago) with these cooler temperatures, the cotton just hasn’t been growing much.
“There’s going to be challenges each and every year and everybody has a challenge somewhere. I think we’re making progress and heading into the right direction.”
Roberts said producers planted a significant amount of acreage (last week). The dry weather conditions provided a good week for planting. He estimated between 35 to 40% was already planted by last weekend.
Be Ready for Stink Bugs
One pest that cotton farmers need to already be wary of are stink bugs. In a previous story, Auburn University Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist Katelyn Kesheimer confirmed that the southern green stink bugs and stink bug nymphs have already been observed in corn fields in southern Alabama.
The stink bugs are out and about at a time when corn is especially vulnerable and could move to cotton as the growing season progresses.
“It’s something we’ll have to scout for,” Roberts said. “Stink bugs are going to be an annual pest for us. We’re just going to have to scout and be ready to treat if we have to.”