By Clint Thompson
The Georgia Cotton Commission (GCC) reminds producers the cleanup steps they need to implement following any damage from Hurricane Ian this week.
Taylor Sills, executive director of the GCC, discussed the importance of growers being in contact with their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office.
“Cotton is particularly vulnerable to these tropical systems that have become more and more frequent this time of year, not only from the rainfall but from the wind as well. There’s a chance that every acre of cotton could be affected by this hurricane,” Sills said. “We want to point out a few things that the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers in the immediate aftermath of these types of situations. That’s the Emergency Conservation Program which can help producers in the immediate cleanup from a storm. For that, you need to contact your local USDA Service Center and your FSA office. It is important that if you have damage to crops, do not clean up or repair until you’ve established some kind of contact with FSA, so they can certify whatever needs to be done.
“On the other end, for all commodities, be in touch with your commodity groups, cotton producers, gins and other agribusinesses that are directly engaged in cotton. Please send us pictures before and after to our general email line, firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can compile that information with the work that the UGA Cotton Team is doing so we can accurately tell the story to policymakers in Washington should the worst happen.”
UGA Specialist: Cotton Defoliation Should Wait
By Clint Thompson
Camp Hand, UGA Extension cotton agronomist, discusses defoliation and the management tactic producers should take this week.
“What I’m telling people is if you have not defoliated your crop, don’t do it this week. Wait until next week. If you have let’s get it picked as soon as you’re comfortable,” Hand said. “I don’t think this is going to be Hurricane Michael 2.0., I hope not. There’s still a lot of uncertainty in the forecast. But the good thing for us is that it’s real early in harvests. It’s not like Michael was in terms of most of our crop was defoliated and it was just sitting out waiting. That plays into our favor a little bit.
“I think you just hold off defoliating until this storm passes and we get going again. I don’t know what the potential losses could be, but we’re going to try to do the best we can to try to figure that out.”
Defoliation is the process by which the plant’s leaves are removed before the cotton can be harvested. This helps speed up the plant’s maturity. Producers make a chemical application and, approximately two weeks later, the crop is ready for harvest.