Missouri had one of its best harvest seasons in many years. It was dry, and the yields, in general, have been higher than expected. It was higher heat units that pushed the crop this year. Much of the Bootheel is still considered to be in moderate-to-severe drought. We should have some relief during the early spring due to the La Niña event that is following El Niño. The cooler Pacific Ocean temperatures usually result in more rainfall in our area.
According to Missouri climatologists, we had the third hottest summer (June, July and August) on record. Our 81.6 degrees average temperature was only surpassed by 1936 and 1934 with averages of 82 and 81.7 degrees, respectively. This was also the driest June through October period since 1953.
The good news from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is that we are expected to have a warmer December-February period than normal. Projections call for a 33 to 40 percent probability of higher temperatures.
Producers are planning for next year’s crop. With the higher prices, it makes sense to maintain or increase cotton acreage. Even with the higher prices, China needs more cotton to keep up with its demand. The biggest concern as we go forward is the resistant pigweed, and there will be plenty of opportunities this winter to learn strategies for better control.
A dry fall weather pattern made conditions quite favorable for cotton harvest in the Rolling Plains and Southern Rolling Plains. In the Southern Rolling Plains, harvest has progressed smoothly for most producers, and about 60 to 70 percent of the crop has been harvested. Yields across the entire region are average to a little above, but some areas are reporting good dryland cotton yielding more than 1.5 bales per acre.
Both dryland and irrigated yields in the Southern Rolling Plains were severely affected by cotton root rot this year with estimates of 20 percent infested acres, both dryland and irrigated. In the Northern Rolling Plains, slightly more than 50 percent of the irrigated cotton has been harvested with a wide range of yields from 2.5 to more than four bales per acre.
Some of the dryland cotton has been harvested, but a lot of farmers are waiting on natural defoliation from Mother Nature before making a big push to harvest. Overall, most producers are pleased with the yields thus far from both of these regions.
2010 was an unusual year in Florida. We had one of the best planting seasons that anyone could remember, in general, and the same can be said about harvest. There were only two to three days that producers had to stay out of the field due to small rain showers during September and October. However, we had three months during the growing season that were dry, but variable, depending on location.
Some areas had adequate rainfall throughout the year and ended up with very good yields while others missed the showers and made average or low yields. The best thing that happened during the growing season was the price increase, which has led to a lot of excitement going into 2011. Many peanut growers that have not done a good job with rotation are considering more cotton in 2011, which will pay dividends in higher yields in the future.
Cotton harvest is almost finished in southwest Georgia, with southeast Georgia trailing closely behind. Most producers are relatively pleased with their 2010 crops despite the drier conditions we had during the growing season. Harvest weather continues to be favorable as I write this on Nov. 12 with nearly 80 percent of the statewide crop already out of the field.
The frosts during the weekend of Nov. 6 stopped any additional boll development in the later crop. Therefore, few producers continued to wait on those upper bolls to open. The remaining cotton will likely be harvested rather quickly from this
As we wind down this season, many producers are already asking about variety performance so they can make their selections for next year. Variety performance has been erratic across the state this year, which can make these decisions more difficult. As we analyze the preliminary data that we have, farmers should gear their choices for particular soils and environments, realistic yield expectations and choice of insect or herbicide- resistant technology.
Cotton producers in Louisiana have finished picking their cotton, and the gins are once again quiet following their seasonal burst of activity. For the most part, producers were pleased with the results of this year’s cotton crop. They were particularly pleased to be blessed with a long, dry harvest season that allowed them to time their defoliation and picking schedules.
The rains have started back again, but they are needed for the winter ground recharge and for those who planted wheat. Post-harvest weed control is a hot topic this year, as many producers struggle to control Italian ryegrass that seems to be demonstrating resistance to glyphosate. Just as Palmer amaranth was declared glyphosate-resistant in one of our parishes this summer, Italian ryegrass found in Franklin Parish also earned the same dubious honor. It seems as though we are reaching the point where we will have to rely more on selective herbicides and other agronomic practices once thought of as “out-of-date.”
As another year is about to pass, reflecting upon the 2010 growing season conjures up vastly different images than those from several previous growing seasons. A stellar planting season was quickly followed by a hot, dry summer throughout much of Mississippi and surrounding states. In spite of challenging environmental conditions, many producers were pleasantly surprised with yields obtained this year. Making a good situation better, cotton prices have reached levels never before seen.
Heading into 2011, one of the key decisions to be made is variety selection. It is no secret that over the past several years we have seen cotton varieties come to market quicker than ever before. This situation makes obtaining multi-year variety testing information prior to commercial release of a given variety challenging, if not impossible. In addition, varieties that perform well tend to stay around for several years while those that do not exit almost as quickly as they appeared.
Here’s wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and continued success in 2011.
Fall is an excellent time to prepare fields for planting in the spring. This fall has been particularly dry in Arkansas, which has allowed many producers to work fields (rip and re-bed) and apply mixed fertilizer for next year’s crop. Fall is also an excellent time to take soil samples for nutrient levels and nematodes. The dry soil conditions this fall will affect the results of many soil tests.
We attempted to take soil samples in October and early November. The soil was compacted and hard due to the lack of moisture to the point where the soil probes would not go into the ground more than two inches. This presents a problem because in many cases soil samplers may take the easy road and sample more soil in the first one to three inches instead of the full six-inch depth needed for a normal soil sample. When this occurs, results of the soil test will be skewed to the point of being worthless.
Remember “garbage in is garbage out.” If you are unable to pull a sample from at least a six-inch depth, try again when the soil has a higher moisture content.
Nearly the entire crop is out of the field, and a good portion of it has been ginned and classed. Considering the bumpy spring weather experienced by much of Arizona, an excellent crop is being realized both in terms of yield and fiber quality. Cotton acreage was up sharply in 2010 to the level of approximately 200,000 total acres.
Strong prices in the market will likely drive acreage to even higher levels in 2011. Early indications are that fertilizer prices may also be climbing for the 2011 crop year. Take some time during the off-season to evaluate your fertilizer plan and begin to think about plans for the 2011 season.
Pre-season soil samples taken over the next couple of months to determine current nutrient levels will provide critical information in making informed decisions about your nutrient management plan. Detailed information on soil critical test levels can be found, along with information on other related topics, at http://cals.arizona.edu/crops.
On another note, the EPA recently issued new standards associated with the use of certain soil fumigants. New restrictions on their use, including buffer zones, handler precautions and restricted use status, along with many other changes, will be implemented for the 2011 cropping season.
As of this writing in early November, harvesting operations in the High Plains are moving at break-neck speed. We may be about 60 percent harvested across the region. With the exception of the crop losses and extreme misery dealt to producers in some counties associated with the Oct. 21 rain/hail event, harvest has proceeded relatively smooth in most counties thus far.
Yields have been somewhat lower than anticipated for many producers, and this was reflected in the November NASS report, which reduced bale production estimates in the High Plains by about 420,000 bales (down from 6.16 million in the October estimate to 5.74 million in November). For the first 1.5 million bales classed at Lubbock and Lamesa, cotton quality has been good to excellent. Color grades are still about 85 percent 11 and 21, and average leaf grades have been about 2.4.
Bark contamination is present in about 7.5 percent of the bales classed, which may trend up after the region obtains a killing freeze. Fiber length continues to increase over time as more modules from irrigated land get ginned.
One of the things I think is important to think about during the winter is trying to coordinate your planting plans with your desired harvest schedule. We all know that this is an imperfect process that can, and probably will, require some adaptations due to the crop’s response to localized rainfall differences. Many of our producers have fields that are spread out geographically. I think it is a good idea to divide your acres into something like three categories – early, mid and late desirable harvest timings.
The early group should be earlier varieties, which will not be ready to harvest earlier. They will be less likely to make that top crop that may tempt you to delay the initiation of defoliation and harvest. In this grouping, I would use my varieties that are rated with the lowest stormproof characteristics.
Varieties with low stormproof ratings tend to pick cleaner than those with higher rankings, but we don’t want to leave them in the field. On this part of my acreage, I would be more likely to use Pix and want to make sure I avoided excessive nitrogen to try to maximize earliness.