Cotton Links


Tricky Call
Consider Specific Factors In Making
Replant Decisions

By Carroll Smith
Senior Writer

Potential replant situations in cotton often are the result of rushing to plant before conditions are right, according to Arkansas Extension cotton specialist Tom Barber.

“Cool conditions, extreme wet conditions or a forecast that calls for a lot of rain are all favorable conditions for disease, crusting and other events, such as a hailstorm, that can lead to an inadequate stand,” Barber says. “Seed quality really has not been a problem for us.”

If you do end up with a field of skippy cotton for whatever reason, a replant decision will be called for, and deciding whether to replant is one of the trickiest calls anyone has to make during the production season. Factors to take into consideration include the uniformity and health of the existing stand, potential yield compared to a replanted field, the odds of getting a successful stand the second time and the calendar date.

Look At Three-Foot Skips

The first step in the decision-making process is to count the viable seedlings. One plant per row-foot is the minimum stand that you would want to keep, according to Louisiana Extension cotton specialist Sandy Stewart. The next consideration is noting how evenly dispersed the plants are.

“The critical skip length to take into account is the three-foot skip,” Stewart says. “We’ve found that you can tolerate about 13 three-foot skips per 80 feet of row in late May without having to replant.”

Barber notes that if there are a lot of skips over three feet in length, then yield loss becomes an issue.

“The trick (to not replanting) is to have an even stand,” he says.

Stewart says another consideration is having some kind of assurance that you will gain a stand the second time. If this is questionable, then it’s better to work with the skippy stand.

“The only thing more expensive than replanting cotton twice is replanting it three times,” Stewart says.

Barber says it’s also important to consider how much moisture there is in the ground.

“If it’s a dry year, and we don’t have any moisture, it’s not a good idea to replant because we don’t know when we are going to get a rain.”

Consider The Planting Window

Calendar date is also a factor in the replant decision-making process.

“When it’s late in the planting window – late May and early June – replanted cotton yields will be progressively lower and lower,” Stewart says. “Generally speaking, the later it is in the planting window, the less likely you want to go with a replant.”

Barber agrees.

“We have data showing that if we plant cotton past May 20, we start seeing a yield decline in Arkansas,” he says. “If whether to replant a field is a real tough decision to make, we advise producers just to manage the stand they already have.”

Contact Carroll Smith at (901) 767-4020 or csmith@onegrower.com.

Four Replanting Tips

1. On the second time around, plant an early maturing variety.

2. If it’s real late in the planting window, consider planting another crop, such as soybeans.

3. Spot planting is usually not a good idea; you will be managing two different maturity crops.

4. Check with your seed company to see if a replant program is offered.


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