Dr. Lowell Zelinski
Hooton Crop Care, Inc.
I have had a long, pleasurable career in the cotton industry. It has taken me all around the world. For four years, I even lived in the Mississippi Delta, which profoundly impacted my career. There, I discovered Mississippi author, William Faulkner, who wrote in a “stream of consciousness” style, which took me a while to understand and appreciate. The rest of this article is written in that style and describes most of my thoughts when checking a cotton field in late May – early June.
Ok. Field 17w – only eight more to go. Upwind is a drying wheat field. Will this influence the thrips population? Maybe some, but not too bad. I have seen worse, but still some damage to the new leaves. I will give it a “moderate” on the damage scale. Called “slight” in the South, but this is California. Did we use acephate on our seed treatment in this field? Don’t remember – check when I am done. Sure doesn’t look like it.
Ok. That was 15 steps. What is the row spacing in this field? It must be 30 inches. Steps are short. Sure seems to be a lot of dead seedlings – looks like Rhizoc – hard to know, but does it matter? When was this field planted anyway? I only see four true leaves – 250 degree days after planting should be about right. Still more thrips damage and seedling disease than I would like to see! Four true leaves = might be close to first square next week. What did I do with my sweep net? I will need that soon. We had a lot of rain last winter. Lygus (plant bugs) could be a problem. What weeds do we have around this field? Was that a safflower field about a mile to the north? This might be a problem; I hope not.
Was that 10 rows? Maybe 12? Doesn’t really matter. Ok, turn, walk down this row 15 more steps – DON’T FORGET TO LOOK AROUND! That sure looks like nutsedge over there. Is this a RR field? Yes, I think so. We better get on those weeds, and I guess I am seeing more Johnsongrass and pigweed seedlings than I like to. How about a banded spray – are the middles clean enough? Yes, think so. We need to do at least one more cultivation pass to set up the furrow for irrigation. Banded, it is.
Ok. Fifteen steps, turn right, I guess 135 degrees. Go across 15 rows this time. A lot of red spots seem to be on the lower leaves. Mites? Cold weather? Where is my hand lens? Don’t see any mites. Maybe the thrips took care of them. Or was it starch accumulation due to those cool nights last week? Remember to check for mites next week! DON’T FORGET TO LOOK AROUND! You’re looking down too much. Twenty-five steps to the end of the field. Am I comfortable with this stop? What did I miss? There might be squares next week. Not big ones, but Lygus love that size. Did MiteFax say anything about Lygus here? Bring sweep net next week.
Pix decisions soon. First irrigation is coming up. What about sidedressing N and K? Do we wait for petiole results? With K, maybe; N, let’s put on 75 pounds now and think about more later.
Done = which is the next field?
Click here to ask Dr. Lowell Zelinski a question or submit a comment about this month’s Cotton Consultant’s Corner.
• Ph.D in Soil Plant Water Relations – UC Davis, 1995. Studied
the interaction between nitrogen and water stress on cotton
growth and development.
• UC Extension farm advisor in Fresno County, 1980-1988
• Private consultant specializing in all aspects of cotton
production in the San Juaquin Valley, 1988-1995
• Director of Agronomic Service for Delta and Pine Land Co.,
• VP Cotton Production, California Planting Cotton Seed
• Owner of Precision Ag Consulting. Also, a private consultant,
specializing in cotton, precision farming and premium wine
grape production on the central coast of California
• Married to wife, Becky, who owns a winery named First Crush
• Four children – three married, one close. One granddaughter.
Stream Of Consciousness
1. Zelinski describes checking a California cotton field in late May to early June using a “stream of consciousness” writing style.
2. A drying wheat field upwind may influence the thrips population, which appears to have moderately damaged new cotton leaves.
3. Lygus (plant bugs) could be a problem because of abundant rainfall last winter.
4. A banded spray is needed to take care of Johnsongrass and pigweed seedlings.
5. Mites are not present, so red spots on lower leaves appear to have been caused by starch accumulation during recent cool nights.
6. When cotton begins to square, sweep the field for Lygus.