William Price III
Price A&E Consulting Services Inc.
Every growing season offers a new and often different set of challenges
to cotton in Mississippi and throughout the Cotton Belt. This year has been
no less challenging.
From early flooding and cold weather, to mid-season drought with
extreme daytime and nighttime temperatures, this crop has had a wide
spectrum of hurdles to overcome. Thrips, plants bugs, four-bract squares,
bacterial blight, bollworms and spider mites: You name it, and this crop
seems to have faced it. All things considered, this year’s cotton crop looks
very good, and if the weather is favorable from this point on, our growers
should be looking at a very profitable harvest.
Each year at this time consultants are asked two major questions by
growers: “When can I stop irrigating?” and “When can I terminate insecticide
applications?” While these are two different questions, acting on one
rarely goes without effect on the other.
Late-planted, irrigated cotton is usually the cotton that poses the most
difficult answer to these two questions. If we don’t continue to irrigate late
enough, we are cutting our crops short and not maximizing yield. If we
continue irrigating too deeply into the season, we are potentially diverting
plant resources into additional fruit, which may not have the time to
mature and be harvested.
Also, this added fruit might offer nothing more than to keep a field
attractive to late-season insect pests, which may cause the need for additional
insecticide applications. As the month of September arrives, we
consultants try as best as we can to determine where the last pickable
fruit site is located on our crop, and at what point it is safe to terminate
Two important tools that can help make these decisions are: 1)
Knowing the heat units (DD60s) acquired after Nodes Above White Flower
= 5 (NAWF = 5) and 2) Looking at the last possible cut-out dates in your
given area. Using DD60 accumulation combined with historical data for
the last possible cut-out date helps determine which fruit sites we believe
can be harvested. Once you decide on which fruit sites up the plant are
profitable to protect, it becomes easier to decide when irrigation should be
terminated. Likewise, knowing the DD60s accumulated after NAWF = 5 is
very helpful in deciding when these last harvestable bolls are safe from
Every growing season is different, and no one knows in any given year
what the exact date to terminate a crop may actually be. However, with
diligent scouting, experience and the use of these, as well as many other
tools, we can all help our growers to efficiently maximize their yields and
Click here to ask William Price III a question or submit a comment about this month’s Cotton Consultant’s Corner.
• B.S. in Agricultural Pest Management – Mississippi
• M.S. in Entomology – Mississippi State University
• Consultant for Price A&E Consulting Services Inc. for
nine years. Owner: Bill Price Jr. – 44 years experience
• Member of Mississippi Agricultural Consultants
• Served on MACA Scholarship Committee for three years
• Enjoys hunting, fishing, golf, boating, outdoor grilling
and spending time with family and loved ones
From Hurdles to Harvest
1. Despite experiencing early flooding and cold weather, mid-season drought, thrips, plant bugs, four-bract squares, bacterial blight, bollworms and spider mites, the 2011 Mississippi crop looks good.
2. It’s difficult to determine when to stop irrigation and when to terminate insecticide applications on late-planted, irrigated cotton.
3. If we don’t continue to irrigate late enough, we are not maximizing yield. If we irrigate too far into the season, we can potentially divert plant resources into additional fruit, which may not mature enough to be harvested.
4. Added fruit might make a field attractive to late-season insect pests, which may call for additional insecticide applications.
5. Two important decision-making tools are: 1) Knowing the heat units (DD60s) acquired after Nodes Above White Flower = 5 (NAWF = 5) and 2) Looking at the last possible cut-out dates in your
6. Determining which fruit sites up the plant are profitable to protect makes it easier to decide when to terminate irrigation. Knowing the DD60s accumulated after NAWF = 5 is helpful in deciding when these last harvestable bolls are safe from insect pests.