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Growers lament: 'What could have been'

“It’s yet to be seen what impact Isidore will have on the Delta cotton crop. It will take a toll, it’s just too early to tell how much of a toll at this point,” says Charles Snipes, Extension cotton specialist at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville.

Snipes says he initially worried about storm-related fiber quality discounts when the rains began Wednesday, but, as the storm continues to hang on over the Delta and much of the rest of Mississippi, the odds increase for yield losses.

“I’m much more disappointed now than I was a week ago when everything looked good,” says Snipes. “Growers are likely going to realize some discounts or deductions in grade, because the cotton is going to have a little grayer color than it did prior to the rain.

“There’s no way of predicting yield losses, but the more wind and rain we get, the more it’s going to start stringing out on us a little bit and some will probably fall on the ground.”

Snipes said the sustained winds that accompanied the storm, as it moved up through Mississippi will do much of the damage. “That’s what’s to blow the cotton out on the ground,” he notes. “Once it gets on the ground we’ve lost it, until then we’ve still got a chance at it.”

Once Isidore passes through the area, and growers can get back in the fields to harvest what’s left of their cotton crops, they’re likely to face plant re-growth problems.

On cotton that was defoliated prior to the tropical storm, growers’ options vary depending on the amount, and size, of the cotton plant re-growth. If the re-growth leaves are at least as large as the palm of your hand, Snipes recommends a treatment of Def or Folex.

For smaller sized re-growth, Snipes says he’s seen good results with Ginstar, or paraquat plus chlorate. “Smaller re-growth is more problematic, and it’s difficult the first few days after a rain period to get the stuff off. The herbicide Aim may be an option for taking off small stuff, but it does not inhibit re-growth,” he says.

Growers dealing with juvenile growth on cotton that has not yet been defoliated have several options. Snipes recommends an application of Ginstar, or a tank mix treatment of Def or Folex plus Dropp, provided the temperature is high enough for Dropp activity.

Otherwise, he suggests a tank mix of Def or Folex plus paraquat, or Def or Folex plus Aim.

“Growers will typically lose a little grade if nothing else from Isidore,” he said. “It’s still to be seen what impact this storm has on yield, because it’s not over yet,” Snipes says.

For more on Isidore, see earlier story: Farmers brace for storm damage.


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