By Clint Thompson
Alabama’s cotton crop is progressing with some ready for defoliation in a week or so, says Steve Brown, Alabama Extension cotton specialist.
The state of this year’s cotton crop varies throughout the state, though some places have been hurt by rain and humidity.
“The crop, overall, looks pretty good in places,” Brown said. “The last week or so of rain and humidity have hurt us in terms of Boll Rot and Hardlock. We still think we’ve got a decent crop over here, not spectacular.”
Prevailing overcast conditions with high humidity and rainfall and no sunshine to get in a real dense canopy leads to Boll Rot and Hardlock.
“What we’re hoping for is some sunshine. I would say the mid-to-late April planted cotton is moving pretty rapidly. Maybe in a week or so, by the middle of the month, we’re going to see some of it defoliated,” Brown said. “We normally see in the last half of September and all of October are our driest months. That’s what we’re hoping for,” Brown said.
Insect pressure also appears to not be an issue for early-planted cotton. That is not the case for late-planted cotton.
“I’m with an entomologist and they’re saying that cotton, except for the real late-planted stuff, the insect activity is winding down. Clearly on the late-planted stuff, I’d be very diligent on stink bugs. Thankfully, the whiteflies, except for the border of Florida and Alabama and right there on the edge of Southwest Georgia, for the most part the whiteflies, they’ve been over here but not causing any threat to our crop,” Brown said.
With the variation in how weather has impacted the different fields, Brown is unsure what yields will look like when growers begin harvesting their crop.
“I think the USDA August estimate was 981 pounds. It’s hard to say if we’re going to make that or not,” Brown said. “I think some places in the north, dry weather hurt them. Some of them had five weeks of no rain and that hurt.”