Farm Progress

Cotton acres increase in Kansas; crop so far showing early weather struggles but able to play catch-up.

Walt Davis 1, Editor

June 22, 2017

3 Min Read
DAMAGED COMPARED: You can tell early 2,4-D damage from thrips damage. On the left, the 2,4-D damage causes leaves to be stretched out, often with wavy leaf margins. On the right, thrips damage looks more like a closed fist.

In spite of "interesting" weather in May and June, Southern Kansas Cotton Growers Cooperative crop consultant Rex Friesen says nearly all of the intended cotton acres have been planted. He is encouraging all cotton farmers to call or text total acres and field locations to the gin.

More acres were planted early this year than last, Friesen says. "There was more planted in May rather than in June," he says. "But it appears that more has been replanted as well, but not as much as I might have expected given the weather.”

The earliest planting, he says, was May 8 and 9, with planting continuing right up to June 10, which Friesen says is his "internal cutoff date."

The condition of the crop by mid-June showed a significant weather impact, Friesen says, with intermittent cool spells and frequent rains making it hard for the crop to get started.

"Most of the fields I have seen are adequate, but the beautiful stands with beautiful, vigorous plants are much less common than the last two years. But cotton knows how to play catch-up and the later-planted fields may be doing better than most of the early ones.”

Now is also the right time for cotton growers in Kansas and Oklahoma to register their field locations on driftwatch.org. Having fields noted on the site helps co-ops and private applicators avoid drift issues, especially with 2,4-D, which is a very real drift threat.

Cotton acres are up this year, and there are a number of growers who are new to the crop. Any grower can create an account easily on driftwatch.org and register fields. The site utilizes a Google Maps format with satellite maps to locate fields.

Growers in Oklahoma need to register under Kansas. They can then scroll down and locate fields in Oklahoma.

Friesen says the only herbicide damage he has seen so far is evidence of Diuron damage. He says it is likely the plants will grow out of the yellow mottling on the cotyledons that come from Diuron damage. He says significant rains after application of the herbicide may have helped carry it into the root zone.

So far, Frisen says, he has seen no significant damage from thrips. They may have just blown in, he says, or it could be that the very warm weather the second week of June has allowed seedlings to outgrow feeding damage.

"Basically, just remember that you need to keep an eye on them until the plant growth stage is through five true leaves. If you spot damage in the growth point in the terminal, where leaves are just beginning to form, it is probably a good idea to treat," he says.

Friesen says he has gotten some reports of poor performance of the new dicamba products on pigweeds.

"Pigweed resistance to dicamba has already been found in populations in Arkansas and Tennessee," Friesen says. "One study in Tennessee reported only 50% kill with one application of Engenia. However, a second application in 14 days cleaned it up."

He says weed height is critical. Plants must be less than 4 inches high for Engenia to be effective, and there are some fields where even 3- and 4 inch-tall weeds survived.

"At a bare minimum, if you are using the new dicamba products, be prepared to follow up with Liberty if it is needed,” he says.

On a final dicamba note, Friesen says there have been reports of off-site dicamba drift damage in Arkansas. The article noted that an estimated 80% to 90% of the damage was from physical drift and not volatilization, and the primary victim is non-Extend soybeans.

"The problem is using the wrong nozzles, spraying at too high wind speed, disregarding buffer zones or spraying during temperature inversions," Friesen says. "Take heed. Remember to obey all of the label requisites."

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