By Clint Thompson
The Georgia Cotton Commission and University of Georgia Extension Cotton Team remind growers about the importance of keeping their crop watered this time of year. Especially amid the current hot and dry conditions, cotton plants are susceptible to drying out, leading to stress on the plant.
Wes Porter, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension precision agriculture and irrigation specialist, discusses the impact of cotton plants not receiving enough moisture.
“If we don’t get adequate moisture down there, we’re going to dry that deep profile out very rapidly, and we’re not going to be able to replenish it. We’re going to put it in a state of stress. When you’re talking about flowering, we’re trying to develop bolls, so we’re not going to have full boll development,” Porter said. “You may see some boll shading, you may just see some smaller bolls. You may not be able to add as many bolls as you normally would because that plant’s under stress now instead of being in an optimal scenario.”
Abnormally dry conditions have worsened to moderately dry. In some instances, conditions are severely dry in areas across Georgia, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The entire state is at least abnormally dry.
Cotton is in its third month of production. Most is planted during May. Water is essential to the crop producing a substantial crop.
“For cotton that’s going to be peak bloom. Flowering probably started two to three weeks ago. Now you’re getting into the middle of that. That’s going to push our water requirement to the top of that curve,” Porter added.