Burke – Jenkins Ag News

Cotton Progress

The cotton crop has shown signs of life the past two weeks. The older cotton fields that I have visited are doing the best. However, any cotton planted after June 1st has a long way to go. Many people have asked for advice on how to handle this situation. This is unchartered territory for myself, as I have never witnessed a summer with this much excessive rainfall.

What do I need to do to my older cotton? If a grower has cotton that was planted prior to June 1st and applied side dress Nitrogen prior to or in between a major rainfall event,  more than likely has lost a portion of the nutrients. The first thing a grower needs to do in this situation is look at the overall health of the plant. If the cotton is being grown on sandy soils and appears to be light green and yellow re-fertilizing with 35 or 40 pounds of additional Nitrogen would help. If the cotton appears to be healthy and growing, a foliar application of Nitrogen and pot-ash would be appropriate.  We are observing this situation on cotton that is grown on more of our heavier or clay based soils.

What do I do with this young cotton that has been water logged? The cotton in this category is the hardest call to make. If the drier weather and sunshine the past few days has this cotton trying to grow, then an application of 55-60 pounds of Nitrogen is appropriate. I would only do this if the majority of the field is making a recovery. A sick plant can not take up the nutrients, either via the leaves or roots. If our fall weather is normal, we only have 40-45 days left of bloom, which is why I am recommending this amount. if we over fertilize; I am concerned about getting too much unnecessary vegetative growth later in the season.

cotton plant

Although the shoots of this plant appear to be healthy and green, the root system is abnormal. Instead of the strong tap root that is usually in place, a knotty root with lateral branches is present. This root system will not provide the integrity nor will it able to withstand drought later in the season.