Lowndes – Echols Ag News

Cotton Losses From Hurricane Michael

Published on 10/31/18

UGA economists estimate up to $600 million in cotton damage from Hurricane Michael

By Clint Thompson for CAES News

University of Georgia agricultural economists believe that Georgia cotton farmers in the path of Hurricane Michael have only begun to feel the impact of the storm that took 90 or 100 percent of many area growers’ crops.

This week, Yangxuan Liu, assistant professor of agricultural and applied economics in the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), and UGA Cooperative Extension agricultural economist Amanda Smith released preliminary cost estimates of Hurricane Michael’s damage to Georgia’s cotton industry.

Their initial estimates of farm gate value loss range from $550 million to $600 million. This includes losses related to cotton lint, cottonseed and reductions in fiber quality.

UGA’s estimated loss value for cotton is still preliminary. Updates will be provided as more data is collected, Liu said.

“We took into consideration yield loss variation across the state and adjusted our estimates accordingly,” she said.

“We are still in the process of gathering more data from cotton farmers and county agents.”

Because heavy rains and winds occurred when the bulk of Georgia’s cotton crop was at risk, Liu cautions farmers that quality issues may be a problem.

“Some harvested cotton modules in the field were damaged by wind and rain, which might degrade quality. The cotton harvested after the hurricane might face quality discounts as well, because more mature bolls of possibly higher quality were lost,” she said.

Liu cited U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that only 12 percent of Georgia’s cotton crop had been harvested prior to the storm’s arrival. Eighty-eight percent of cotton bolls were open and susceptible to the hurricane’s destructive winds.

Hurricane Michael’s path up through southwest Georgia significantly impacted the region that is responsible for some of the top cotton production in Georgia. Southwestern Georgia counties Colquitt, Crisp, Decatur, Dooly, Early, Mitchell and Worth were hit hard by the hurricane — and make up seven of the top-10 cotton-producing counties in the state, according to the USDA’s figures for 2017.

Cotton is the largest row crop in Georgia. According to the USDA, the farm gate value for Georgia-grown cotton and cottonseed in 2017 was $867 million with more than 1.2 million harvested acres.

Producers should contact their local UGA Extension agents to report any losses or for more information about estimating storm damage.

“The impact of Hurricane Michael will extend beyond the farm gate level. Cotton gins, local communities and the entire Georgia economy are likely to experience the ripple effect of Hurricane Michael for years to come,” said Jeff Dorfman, a professor of agricultural and applied economics at CAES.

For up-to-date information on Georgia’s cotton crop, see www.ugacotton.com.

Clint Thompson is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences based in Tifton.

Cotton Outlook 2018

Download the PDF version of this newsletter.

In 2018, Georgia’s farmers planted 1.43 million acres of cotton, up 150,000 acres from 2017. The average cotton yield is forecast at 946 pounds per acre. Production is forecast at 2.8 million bales, which would be the second highest on record. There are two major contributing factors to the increase in cotton acres in Georgia. First, the relatively high cotton price in 2018, especially during planting season, makes cotton more competitive with other row crops. Second, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 authorized seed cotton as a covered commodity and eliminated generic base and thus the eligibility for payments when planting other covered commodities on farms with generic base.

U.S. cotton planted acreage is 14.04 million, up 1.43 million from 2017, which is the highest planted acres since in 2011. The 2018 U.S. upland cotton is forecasted at 18.9 million bales, down 1.31 million bales from 2017. The reduction in production is largely due to the severe drought conditions in Texas. Even though Texas planting acres increased by 12 percent, the production level reduced by 30 percent from 2017. The forecasted production number might be further negatively impacted by Hurricane Florence on North and South Carolina.

World cotton use or demand has improved significantly in recent years and currently forecast at a record level. Even though U.S. cotton faces an additional 25 percent increase in tariffs on cotton exports to China due to the on-going trade dispute between U.S. and China, U.S. cotton exports are doing very well and are expected to continue to be strong for the 2018-2019 crop year. Exports are currently forecasted to be 15.7 million bales for the 2018 – 2019 crop year, which would be the second highest on record.

The U.S. ending stocks for the 2018 – 2019 crop year are expected to increase to 4.7 million bales. The U.S. cotton industry has benefited from the growth in mill use in other countries. If U.S. sales of cotton into China decline as a result of a Chinese tariff, it is possible that sales to mills in other countries could increase to offset part of the decline in China. A Chinese tariff on U.S. raw cotton could continue to stimulate Chinese imports of duty-free yarn from Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Indian subcontinent. The demand for higher-quality U.S. cotton in those markets could continue to expand. Thus, the impact of a bilateral Chinese tariff on U.S. cotton may lead to a reshuffling or rerouting of, rather than a reduction in, U.S. cotton exports.

China is the world’s largest user of cotton but now the world’s third-largest cotton importer behind Bangladesh and Vietnam. Starting in 2011, the Chinese price support policy had resulted in buildup of ending stocks. In 2014, the Chinese cotton policy shifted from price supports and building government reserves to paying growers with direct cash payments in order to reduce the government cotton reserve. China’s ending stocks for the 2018 – 2019 will continue to decrease and are forecasted to total 29.9 million bales. For 2018, China has approved 800,000 tonnes of additional cotton import quota, which is in addition to the annual 894,000 tonnes of low tariff rate quota that China issues as part of its commitments to the World Trade Organization. This is the first time that China has issued any additional quota since 2013.

Futures prices (Dec 18) for the 2018 crop are currently at or around 82 cents per pound. We have been seeing favorable cotton prices this year, the cash prices for the current calendar year of 2018 ranges from low of 74.60 to high of 94.21 cents per pound. USDA is forecasting the marketing year average price for the 2018 – 2019 crop year to range from 70 to 80 cents per pound, compared to the 2017 – 2018 crop year average of 68 cents per pound.

Good luck and let us know if we can help,

Yangxuan Liu and Don Shurley

Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics

University of Georgia

Whitefly Pressure in Late Planted Cotton

Whitefly pressure a concern for cotton growers with late planted crop

By Clint Thompson

Georgia cotton farmers who planted their crop late this year need to be mindful of potential whitefly pressure, according to Phillip Roberts, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension entomologist.

Because whiteflies prefer green, lush cotton over cotton that is near maturity, most of the cotton that was planted early in April and May avoided whitefly problems. However, Roberts has observed whiteflies on late-planted cotton, or cotton planted in June.

“Over time, whiteflies have adapted to infest plants which will remain green or be a suitable host for the insects to complete a generation,” Roberts said. “It takes between 15 to 20 days for a whitefly to complete development on a cotton plant once an egg has been laid. Also, the nutritional value may be higher on late-planted cotton.”

Scouting remains the best course of action against whiteflies, sucking insects that feed on the underside of leaves and excrete a sugary substance called “honeydew” that serves as a host for sooty mold fungus. The accumulation of honeydew and sooty mold leads to quality problems on open cotton bolls. When uncontrolled, whiteflies can reduce cotton yields and affect cotton quality.

“(Immature whiteflies) are on the underside of the leaves and excrete honeydew, which is a sticky, sugary solution. This can be a serious issue in terms of fiber quality or the spinnability of fibers at mills,” Roberts said.

Growers need to be timely with their insecticide applications to avoid an outbreak. However, UGA Extension encourages growers to conserve beneficial insects, only applying insecticides when infestations are observed.

According to Roberts, approximately 30 percent of Georgia’s cotton crop, or about 435,000 acres, were planted in June this year.

Late-planted cotton still has a couple of months left in the field before harvest. Whiteflies remain a potential threat to cotton until all the leaves have dropped from the plant, Roberts said.

“From a yield standpoint, cotton becomes less susceptible to yield loss the more mature it is and much of the cotton planted in April and early May has reached that stage. June-planted cotton remains susceptible to yield loss,” he said.

Compared to the 2017 cotton crop, whiteflies had been largely undetected for most of the summer. However, during late August and early September, numbers have increased to the point where producers need to be on alert during the final months of the growing season.

“Only a small percentage of cotton in Georgia has required treatment to date, but we still have a long way to go with the lateness of this crop. Most acres that have required treatment so far were planted in June,” Roberts said. “We learned a lot of hard lessons with whiteflies in 2017, and it is imperative that control measures are applied in a timely manner.

Once established, whitefly populations are very difficult to control and can easily reach outbreak levels in a field. Control costs are higher if farmers are late with initial control measures.

For more information about Georgia’s cotton crop, see www.ugacotton.com.

Clint Thompson is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences based in Tifton.

UGA Cotton Team Newsletter September, 2018

Cotton Defoliation Considerations for 2018 (Freeman and Whitaker)

Most of our early planted cotton is quickly approaching (and has approached in some areas) time for defoliation. Cotton defoliation tends to be one of the most important aspects of cotton production each year. Timing and product selection are two of the more critical components regarding defoliation and confusion occurs not only by the thousands of tank mix concoctions but also the differences in personalities of growers with some wanting to pull the trigger too early and some wanting to wait on the very last boll to crack.

Timing of cotton defoliant application can be determined in many ways. However, the methods which we feel are most beneficial involve monitoring boll opening.  The cotton plant has bolls of different ages and those bolls will typically open in the order in which they were set on the plant (such that bolls on the bottom of the plant will open before those on the top of the plant).  Research in Georgia has clearly shown defoliation application should be made when 60 to 75% of the bolls on the plant are open.  Whether one should lean towards 60 or 75% depends upon how uniform the crop is, as a plant that grown under optimum conditions can often be defoliated earlier than one that has gone through periods of stress.  In any situation, it is almost always most profitable to defoliate the crop when the crop reaches 75% open boll.

The process of actually determining open boll percentages can be quite time consuming considering that multiple plants in each field should be assessed (and averaged) and this process should be conducted for each field separately.  Therefore, there is another method to determine proper defoliation timing which is much quicker and easier.  This process involves counting the number of main-stem nodes between the uppermost first position cracked boll and the uppermost first position boll we want to harvest (in some cases there are late set bolls which will not have time to mature that are set in the top of the canopy).  With this method in Georgia we consider it is most profitable to defoliate the crop when it reaches 3 to 4 nodes above cracked boll (NACB).

Another method, which can be used in conjunction with determining open boll % and counting NACB is the “sharp knife technique.”  This method involves using a knife to cut the bolls in half so that you can see the cross section. A harvestable boll should have lint that strings out as you cut it and the cotton seed should have a darkened seed coat with developed cotelydons.  When we say “harvestable” we mean that the boll should be able to be opened with the use of an ethephon product.  In some cases, we use this method to determine the uppermost harvestable boll when figuring NACB.

In general, the best way to determine proper defoliation timing is to employ a combination of these methods.  A proper timing of defoliation is the first step to a successful harvest.  We should point out that most producers could defoliate their crop earlier than they typically do.  In Georgia, we have always had to balance peanut digging in with cotton harvest and cotton is typically much more forgiving than peanut when it comes to harvest timing.   However, we should make an effort to defoliate the crop when it is ready, as delays in defoliation applications can turn into lost profit.  Specifically, delays in defoliation relate into delays in harvest and those delays often turn into lost yield and fiber quality.

Defoliation of a cotton plant can impact it in four ways.  We consider those four functions to be (1) removal of mature leaves, (2) removal of juvenile leaves and plant tissue, (3) preventing regrowth of new leaves after defoliant application and prior to harvest, and (4) opening bolls.  A particular cotton crop may need a defoliant application to impact one or more, typically all four, of these functions.  Since one product is not effective on all of these functions, tank mixtures of products are applied to enhance the overall effect of the application.    Product selection and application rates are determined by the condition of the crop (which functions need to happen) and condition of the environment (temperature, rainfall forecast, soil fertility, etc.).

Additional Comments:

  • Application water volume and pressure greatly impact overall performance. Often, these two factors are as if not more important than choosing which products and what rates to utilize.  One should apply at least 15 GPA when using ground rigs (the more the better, 20 GPA is better than 15 and 25 is better than 20, etc.) and as much water volume as possible with aerial applications.  Aerial applications can be extremely effective when products are applied such that spray is blown into the canopy.
  • Follow product labels concerning the addition of additives. Additives may aid in uptake of some hormonal defoliants but may also increase the chances of leaf desiccation when combined with others especially with high temperatures. In general, when tribufos (Def) is used in the mixture, additives are not needed to improve efficacy.
  • Rainfastness is always a concern with all products however thidiazuron requires a 24 hour rainfree period. However, when thidiazuron is used with other products (especially when mixed with tribufos) the actual rain-free period is reduced. If rainfall occurs before the rain-free period is reached, we suggest that you wait about 7 days and evaluate effectiveness and then make decisions on follow-up applications.

A few comments on cotton defoliation in 2018 with a limited supply of Thidiazuron

Many around the state are concerned about the limited availability of thidiazuron and how that will affect cotton defoliation in 2018. Thidiazuron (TDZ) is a key component of many cotton defoliation tank mix and is excellent at preventing regrowth after defoliation. Below are our thoughts and suggestions on the issue.

  • First, go ahead and make plans with regards TDZ for this growing season. In general we vary rates of TDZ based on weather, potential for regrowth and amount of juvenile tissue present at defoliation.    If one were to use the three-way on their entire crop, they could budget around 2.5 to 3.0 oz of TDZ per acre of cotton and vary rates in particular situations.  With a significant portion of the state’s crop being planted after June 1, a lot of our cotton will be defoliated when conditions are cool enough where regrowth will be less of an issue.
  • Logistics – Be timely when defoliating and harvesting. Try to defoliate only what you will be able to harvest quickly and try not to leave cotton in the field for extended periods of time which will allow for regrowth to occur. Without TDZ, regrowth will certainly be much more of an issue in some cases and harvesting quicker after defoliation can limit the impact of regrowth and cotton quality.
  • Use proper rate for conditions – since TDZ does not cause leaf desiccation, producers can use higher rates in some places compared to others and get more out of the TDZ we have. Typically, we would suggest using more early during the defoliation season and where more green tissue is present (3 to 4 oz/A on the high end and 1.5 to 2.5 on the low end).  When temperatures drop into the lower 60’s at night for several consecutive days the overall effectiveness of TDZ is limited and we could drop it out of the three-way mix.
  • Calibrating equipment and use proper GPAs – Make sure your equipment calibration is correct. You may be applying more product than you think. Be sure to use as much water and pressure as possible to get more out of the TDZ that you apply. Defoliants are typically not mobile in the plant and to prevent regrowth TDZ should actually hit the part of the plant where regrowth occurs.
  • The three-way is our typical standard for cotton defoliation in Georgia. If TDZ becomes unavailable, the next most effective option is usually ethephon and “Ginstar” (a pre-mix of thidiazuron + diuron).  This application can be an extremely comparable option in most situations.
  • Lower rates for lower regrowth potential – If all else fails and you cannot get the full rates of needed product, you should evaluate individual fields for their potential for regrowth. There are many factors that contribute to juvenile regrowth after defoliation but fields that are at the highest risk would be high fertility fields that experienced a premature cutout due to drought stress followed by good soil moisture and warm weather at the time of defoliation and after. These crops still have some “horsepower” left and will likely need a full rate. Fields that are at the lowest risk for regrowth are fields that have a heavy boll load, used all of its available nitrogen, and have begun naturally senescing leaves. These are fields that may only require a reduced rate of TDZ.
  • So, in general our suggestions are:
    • Use the TDZ you have wisely, if regrowth potential is low then consider rates between 1.5 to 2.0 oz/A, if regrowth is expected and there is a lot of juvenile tissue is present consider higher rates between 3.0 to 4.0 oz/A
    • If no TDZ is available, mixtures of ethephon + Ginstar (TDZ + diuron) can be very effective at removing juvenile tissue and preventing regrowth. An 8 oz/A rate of the Ginstar products has 2.0 oz of TDZ (a 4 lb ai/A TDZ product) and 1.0 oz of diuron (4 lb ai/A diuron product)
    • If TDZ isn’t available and Ginstar products are not used, be aware that regrowth can be more troublesome and harvest as timely as possible.
    • If no TDZ is available and regrowth potential is lower, then the mixture of ethephon + tribufos (Folex) can be very effective.
    • Mixtures of ethephon + PPO herbicides (ET, Aim, Display, etc.) can also  be effective.  However, these mixtures are sometimes less consistent than mixtures of ethephon + tribufos (Folex) and in general are more consistent later in the defoliation window.

Terminating Insecticide Applications (Phillip Roberts)

 The decision to terminate insect controls can be challenging in some fields but a few basic considerations will assist in that decision.  When evaluating a field a grower must first identify the last boll population which will significantly contribute to yield (bolls which you plan to harvest).  In some situations the last population of bolls which you will harvest is easy to see (i.e. cotton which is loaded and cutout).  In others, such as late planted cotton, the last population of bolls you will harvest will be determined by weather factors (the last bloom you expect to open and harvest based on heat unit accumulation).  Once the last boll population is determined the boll development or approximate boll age should be estimated.  Depending on the insect pest, bolls are relatively safe from attack at varying stages of boll development.

Cooler temperatures will slow plant development and subsequent boll age values may increase in such environments.  It is assumed that the field is relatively insect pest free when the decision to terminate insecticide applications for a pest is made.

Late Season Management Considerations for Diseases and Nematodes (Bob Kemerait)

Though not over yet, it will not be too much longer until pickers are in the field and modules and round-bales fill the gin yards.  Diseases and nematodes have been much more of a problem in 2018 than in any other year that I can remember.  This was and continues to be, in large part, due to the frequent rain events and wet weather throughout much of the season.  Spread of fungal and bacterial diseases are favored by such.

There are seven significant disease/nematode conditions present in Georgia’s cotton fields now and while there is not much growers can do or need to do about it now, still they should pay attention so as to make the best management decisions in 2019.

  1. Stemphylium leaf spot is present in many fields and is identified as small-to-moderate sized lesions, often encircled by a dark, purple ring, on leaves showing signs of nutrient (potassium) deficiency.  Stemphylium only occurs in conjunction with a potassium deficiency in the plant and can lead to rapid defoliation and significant yield loss.  Stemphylium leaf spot is a very important problem in the state and is likely overlooked as growers have either become too familiar with it or do not think that there is much that can be done.  Stemphylium leaf spot typically occurs in the same areas of a field year after year- sandier areas, sometimes infected with nematodes.  Grower should take special steps to manage soil fertility (and nematodes) to reduce losses to this disease.
  2. Target spot has been especially widespread this season because of extended periods of wet weather. As I have often said, use of fungicides is not always profitable if the level of target spot is low because of hot and dry conditions.  However, I believe most growers who protected their cotton crop with fungicides in 2018 will see some benefit in doing do.  We should have some interesting data to share with the growers during the winter meeting season.
  3. Areolate mildew has been problematic again for the second year in a row across a large section of the cotton production region of Georgia. I am not really sure why that is, but suspect that the fungus successfully survived in crop debris from last year and was brought on again by the rainy season.  I am hoping that this disease does not become an every-year occurrence and problem for our cotton producers.  We should have some data to share on control and yield after use of fungicides in the upcoming winter meeting season.
  4. Bacterial blight became established in some fields very early in the season and I had expected it to be a major problem. Statewide, bacterial blight has been a very minor issue in 2018, demonstrating that the development and spread of a disease can be difficult to predict.  Growers are reminded to be careful in their selection of varieties for 2019 as resistant varieties are THE most important measure for managing this disease.
  5. Fungal boll rots are likely to be quite severe in the 2018 season, especially in fields with excessive, rank growth. In some situations, limited defoliation from leaf diseases could actually be a good thing by opening up the canopy and allowing airflow to reduce humidity and dry the bolls.  Fungicides are not an effective management tool for control of boll rot.
  6. Fusarium wilt is becoming an increasing problem in Georgia’s cotton fields. I don’t know if this is because the problem is spreading or simply because growers are paying greater attention to it.  Nonetheless, at this point Fusarium wilt can ONLY be managed in our fields by managing the parasitic nematodes associated with it, often by treating the field with a nematicide.  Again, we should have some excellent data to share after this field season.
  7. Nematodes in general (root-knot, reniform, sting and lance) are a significant problem in our cotton fields. Growers are encouraged to take the time after harvest and before cold weather hits to take soil samples from areas of poor growth in order to determine if nematodes are indeed a problem.

Taking stock of disease and nematode issues at the end of the 2018 season should help growers to make effective management decisions for 2019.

Gin Talk (Kane Stains)

 As summer winds down, the advent of fall, Dawgs football, and harvest-time rapidly approaches.  In just a few short days or weeks, rural Georgia roads will be inundated with cotton pickers, module trucks, and various other harvest-related machinery.  Before we know it, all of the blood, sweat, and tears that were poured into this year’s cotton crop will culminate in a string of 500 lb. bales.  Throughout the growing season, farmers and managers have labored over their crop, weighing every management decision against the ultimate bottom line.  After all, farming and especially cotton farming is the ultimate game of dollars and cents; some would argue that it’s more cents than dollars.  One of the final management decisions that one can make is to ensure that once the cotton is defoliated and ready for harvest, it arrives at the gin free of any contamination.

As most are aware, global cotton buyers frown upon receiving contaminated cotton; as they should.  Most often, one’s mind immediately gravitates to plastic products when discussing cotton contamination.  Of the leading contaminants plastic certainly shows up most often, but cotton contamination is technically any substance in the bale other than ginned cotton lint.  Items such as oil, grease, red shop rags, wrenches, chains, cotton string or rope, or the occasional extension ladder have all found their way into harvested seed cotton and some even making it as far as the bale press.  Most frequently, yellow module wrap and black horticultural plastic take the “wrap” (no pun intended) for cotton contamination.  However, the occurrence of plastic shopping bags found in post-harvest seed cotton is most certainly on the rise.

The problem with plastic contamination is exponentially magnified once the contaminated cotton enters the gin plant.  As the seed cotton flows through the system, plastic and other contaminants may become lodged in various nooks and crannies of the machines.  Once the contamination reaches the gin stand, thousands of sharp saw teeth grind it into miniscule pieces, thus rendering it nearly impossible to remove at the gin level.  This scenario usually creates a two-fold problem because the plastic can remain lodged until a later time, during which another grower’s (potentially contamination-free) cotton is being ginned and thus becomes contaminated.  With the use of Bale ID Tags, contaminated cotton can be traced back to the individual farm that produced it.  Unfortunately, someone could potentially pay the price for another’s negligence.  As a side note, your local cotton gins are doing everything in their power to detect and remove contamination as soon as the module arrives on their yard but they need the help of growers, managers, consultants, and farm staff to ensure that the problem is minimized.

The moral of the story is that Georgia has developed a reputation for producing, ginning, and shipping extremely high levels of superior quality and contamination-free cotton.  As you’re riding the farm roads and scouting your crops, or as you’re spending those countless hours aboard a cotton picker, I encourage you to take the time to stop and remove any items that may have found themselves in a cotton field.  Whether it’s yours or your neighbor’s, taking the time to remove that “dollar-store” bag from the turn rows will pay dividends in the long run for us as an industry.  If Smoky Bear were to advocate for cotton, he’d say “Only You Can Prevent Cotton Contamination.”  Safe harvest to all!

 Important Dates:

 Field Days:

Tifton – Cotton and Peanut Field Day – September 5th

For more information on any of the discussed topics please contact your local UGA Extension Agent

Row Crop Disease Update August 27

Dr. Bob  Kemerait gives a row crop disease update

  1. Soybeans: Asian soybean rust is still lightly scattered from Decatur County to Appling County, but has only been found so far in KUDZU.  Soybean rust is certainly not a major problem at the moment; however it could become so.  Management options are to protect the crop with a fungicide sometime between the R1 (early bloom) and R3 (early pod set) stages.  Such timings may correspond well with other disease and insect control measures.  Some “Cercospora leaf blight” is being reported; this disease causes much of the upper foliage to take on a “bronzed” cast and then leaves drop prematurely leaving the “bony” petioles like skeleton fingers to the sky.  Cercospora leaf blight also causes purple seed stain.  Fungicide applications at pod set (R3) can help manage this disease.
  2. Late-planted corn: Southern corn rust is now commonly observed on older corn across the Coastal Plain, corn that is too late for it to matter.  However, southern corn rust does pose a threat to younger corn and preventative protection with a fungicide is something to consider, especially as the crop approaches the tassel growth stage.  Also, I am receiving numerous reports of young corn affected by northern corn leaf spot (Bipolaris zeicola) which produces numerous, small-to-medium sized red/brown spots, sometimes with appearance of concentric rings.  Typically, corn is most severely affected by northern corn leaf spot early in the season and then grows out of it; however I cannot be sure that this will always be the case.  I have no data on fungicides for management of northern corn leaf spot, but as it is closely related to northern and southern corn leaf blights, I am confident that mixed mode of action products we already use will be helpful for the “spot” disease.  If a grower does spray, applications as early as V6-V8 would be appropriate. But again, I just don’t know if it matters.
  3. Cotton: I hear you.  And I feel your frustration.  We have three diseases of significant importance in the field right now.    Boll rot.  The rain and heavy vegetative growth we have seen this year has created perfect conditions for fungal boll rot.  We are seeing a lot of it.  We are not seeing a lot of bacterial boll rot, though some is certainly there.  Fungal boll rot is most severe in lower bolls deep in the canopy or where insect damage also occurs.  Fungicides are not an effective treatment; only opening the canopy up to increase airflow and reduce humidity can help reduce boll rot.  2.  Areolate Mildew.  First, Andrew S. and others, I didn’t make the name up.  Second, I know that there is great concern and I have heard growers complaining that there fungicide applications did not stop the disease.  Here are some thoughts.  For the second year in a row, Areolate mildew is early and widespread.  Areolate mildew can cause significant premature defoliation.  I do know that fungicides like Headline and Quadris and certainly Priaxor can slow the spread of the disease, though not necessarily stop it, especially when it is well established in a field.  It is not clear how much yield is at risk or that can be protected; but it is believed that significant premature defoliation is not a good thing, unless one is trying to open the canopy up to slow boll rot.  Here are my recommendations, though they have not been proven with any hard data.  If a grower is within 4 weeks of defoliating the crop anyway, save the money and don’t spray.  If the grower is more than 4 weeks of defoliating and the areolate mildew is not too severe (i.e. already causing significant leaf drop) then there may be a benefit to treating with a fungicide.  This may not stop the disease but will slow its development.  3.  Target Spot.  Target spot has been severe and widespread in this rainy season.  I believe well-timed fungicides have been helpful this year.  I don’t believe there is any benefit to a fungicide application after the 6th week of bloom.  Either there is too much disease already to stop it or there is not enough time for disease to develop.  In this season, a second fungicide application 2-3 weeks after the first application is something to consider.
  4. PEANUTS: Getting lots of questions these days about late-season peanut disease problems.  Just a few thoughts.    Three weeks to go until you dig the peanuts and little-or-no disease in the field?  I wouldn’t put out any more fungicides unless there is threat of a hurricane or tropical storm.  If three of more weeks out and on your last spray and you are seeing some leaf spot develop, applying a pint of chlorothalonil tank-mixed with 7.2 fl oz of  tebuconazole or 5.5 fl oz of Alto or 5 fl oz of Topsin or 2.5 fl oz of Domark.  If time for your last spray and very little leaf spot is present, then 1.5 pints of chlorothalonil may be all you need.

If white mold is popping up in your field late in the season and is confined to individual plants scattered across the field, then you may want to mix tebuconazole with your last leaf spot spray.  If the disease is more severe, or you are really worried about it, then you might consider using 16  fl oz or Convoy rather than tebuconazole.

It is generally advisable to wait to dig the peanuts until they are “ready” based upon the hull-scrape test.  This is true even if there is significant tomato spotted wilt in the field or some white mold.  HOWEVER:  if there is significant defoliation from leaf spot or significant white mold in the field, it often best to dig the peanuts earlier than planned to avoid excessive digging losses.

UGA Cotton and Peanut Research Field Day

Cotton & Peanut Folks,

 

On Wednesday September 5th 2018 in Tifton, GA the UGA Cotton and Peanut Teams will be hosting 2018’s UGA Cotton & Peanut Research Field Day.  This annual event provides an excellent opportunity for anyone who is interested in learning more about our two most widely planted row crops here in Georgia.

 

We have planned a day which we hope will be both interesting and informative while allowing plenty of opportunities for the fellowship and fun we come to expect at a UGA Field Day in Tifton.

 

There is no cost to attend, we only ask that you RSVP if you plan to attend (just for a lunch headcount – call Mrs. Jeannie Evans at 229-386-3006 or email her at jevans12@uga.edu ).  The Georgia Cotton Commission and the Georgia Peanut Commission have graciously sponsored the field day’s lunch, in addition to continually providing the funding needed to support UGA’s research and education efforts.

 

For more details on speakers, locations and specific times be sure to take a look at the agenda (see attached).  The agenda, as well as maps for traveling to and from the research farms we’ll visit, can also be found at www.ugacotton.com .

 

In summary, the field day will start at the Tifton Campus Conference Center (TCCC) in the North Parking Lot at 8 AM.  After a brief welcome, the trams will leave for the RDC Pivot at 8:15 AM.  After four stops around the RDC Pivot, we will drive to the UGA Ponder Farm to tour several trials and hear from more of our speakers.  We will finish up the outdoor program prior to lunch (which will be at the TCCC) and hear from our economists inside as well as representatives of UGA’s administration and the Georgia Cotton & Peanut Commissions.

 

We look forward to seeing you there.  Please feel free to share this email and invite anyone who may enjoy learning more about cotton and peanut production in Georgia.

 

See you Wednesday, September 5th in Tifton!

 

Jared Whitaker & Scott Monfort

(UGA Extension Cotton & Peanut Agronomists, respectively)

 

 

 

Jared Whitaker, Ph.D.

The University of Georgia

Cotton Extension Agronomist
2360 Rainwater Rd.

Tifton, GA 31793

 

229-938-2448

jared@uga.edu

 

August Cotton Newsletter

Cotton Management Considerations for the Remainder of 2018 (Mark Freeman)

 

The 2018 Georgia cotton crop is extremely variable in maturity. Much of the state has had cotton blooming and setting fruit for weeks where as other parts of the state still has a large portion of the crop yet to bloom. There is no one size fits all approach to management of this crop and decisions should be made accordingly.

 

With much of our crop planted late due to the rainfall in late May and June, we must remember that the window for blooms to become harvestable bolls is compressed compared to a full season crop. It is important during that early bloom period to minimize stress to the crop in order to retain as much lower node fruit as possible as the cotton does not have time to compensate for losses early on. Remember that the best way to manage vegetative growth is by having high early season fruit retention. This limits the amount of available carbohydrates that the plant can use towards vegetative growth later in the season. PGRs should also be used to limit vegetative growth and enhance lower node retention.

 

When should we terminate our PGR applications? Research conducted at UGA and other parts of the country suggest that PGR applications should cease when cotton reaches 5 nodes above white flower. In theory a late season mepiquat application could stop further vegetative growth and divert carbohydrates and resources to boll production, but research has shown that there is no benefit to cotton yields, plant heights, fiber quality, or regrowth potential after defoliation.

 

One more note on PGRs, with the widespread rain across the state, the issue of rainfastness has been a concern when applying mepiquat. The rain free period after mepiquat chloride application is 8 hours. Although tank mixtures with an adjuvant are not necessary, their use may aid in plant uptake and help shorten that rain free window. Another option is Pentia (mepiquat pentaborate). Pentia requires a rain free period of two hours after application and that can be reduced to one hour when Pentia is tank mixed with an adjuvant.

 

If irrigation water is available, all steps should be taken to ensure that the crop does not encounter drought stress when adequate rainfall has not occurred. This is especially true for the first six weeks following first bloom as this is the period of peak water demand. Irrigation scheduling has been a topic of conversation and research for the past few years and several quality cotton irrigation scheduling methods exist which use soil moisture sensor technology. However, if a grower does not intend to utilize one of these methods they are encouraged to follow the UGA Checkbook irrigation schedule which can be found on page 132 of the 2018 UGA Cotton Production Guide. One thing to note when using this method is that rainfall or irrigation amounts do not “carry over” to the next week. For example, if water demand for a particular week was 2’’/week and you receive 3”, that extra inch does not affect the amount of water required for the following week.

 

 

Insects (Phillip Roberts)

 

Silverleaf whitefly (SLWF) adults have been observed in low numbers in cotton in some areas during the past week to ten days.  To date very few immature whiteflies have been observed in cotton.  We are not aware of any field which has exceeded threshold for SLWF.  Most reports include observations of individuals or a few adults when searching plants for corn earworm.  However, the presence of SLWF in a field is worth noting and management of all insect pests must consider the presence of SLWF.  All efforts should be made to minimize the need to treat SLWF with insecticide.

Management Considerations:

  1. Scout for the presence of SLWF adults.  It is important to know if SLWF is present!
  2. Conserve beneficial insects, do not apply insecticides for any pests unless thresholds are exceeded (beneficial insects will also suppress corn earworm).
  3. If SLWF is present in a field, avoid use of insecticides for other pests which are prone to flare SLWF.
  4. Scout fields frequently for adults and immatures once fields are infested with SLWF.
  5. Be timely with SLWF insecticides when thresholds are exceeded (many learned in 2017 that it is difficult to play catchup with SLWF).
  6. Be very aware of SLWF infestations in hairy leaf varieties and late planted cotton, these are high risk fields.

There is no question that agents, scouts, consultants, and growers are looking more closely for SLWF this year based on the problems we had in 2017.  Historically if we see SLWF in cotton during the month of July we should anticipate problems with SLWF, especially on late planted fields, and manage appropriately.  Infestations do not come close to where we were a year ago.  In 2017 treatable populations first occurred during the last week of June and many acres were treated in July; so we are in a much better situation this year compared to last.  It will be important that all fields are monitored closely for SLWF and hopefully proper proactive management can minimize damage and the need for SLWF insecticides.  Your County Agent has additional information on management and scouting of SLWF in cotton.

Scout All Cotton For Corn Earworm

Bt cotton technologies have allowed cotton growers to significantly reduce insecticide inputs for caterpillar pests.  However Bt cotton is not and has never been immune to corn earworm (CEW).  Since commercialization of Bt cotton, a percentage of Bt cotton grown in Georgia has required supplemental treatment of CEW with foliar insecticide in most years.  Introduction of 2-gene Bt cottons significantly reduced the need for CEW sprays compared with the original single gene Bt cotton.  The industry is beginning to transition to 3-gene Bt cottons which will improve efficacy against CEW compared with 2-gene Bt cottons.

In recent years susceptibility of CEW to Bt cotton has significantly declined in parts of the US (especially in the Midsouth and North Carolina).  Only a small percentage of 2-gene Bt cotton has required supplemental treatment for CEW in Georgia during recent years so we have not observed this decline in efficacy in the field (or have we?); this is due in part to low corn earworm infestations in cotton.  However we did see a slight increase in CEW insecticide applications during 2017.

UGA researchers have seen reduced field efficacy in Bt corn in Georgia.  We have also seen reduced efficacy of the original Bt toxin in bioassays for CEW collected in Georgia.  Basically what is happening is CEW is/has developed resistance to the Cry1Ac gene.  If the original Bt gene is no longer providing control of CEW, our 2-gene Bt cottons (Bollgard 2, WideStrike, and TwinLink) will be relying on a single gene and overall efficacy will be reduced.  There is variability in performance of Bt cotton technologies.  The chart to the right illustrates relative efficacy of commercially available Bt technologies.  Note that all Bt technologies continue to provide excellent control of tobacco budworm!

 

Bottom line is that all Bt cotton must be scouted on a regular basis and growers must be prepared to act accordingly if thresholds are exceeded.  When scouting pay close attention to blooms, bolls with stuck bloom tags, and small bolls.  When corn earworm escapes occur in Bt cotton they are usually observed near or just below the uppermost white bloom.  The threshold for CEW in Bt cotton is when 8 larvae ¼ inch or greater are found per 100 plants.  We recommend scouts search the top 12 inches of plants and one bloom, one bloom tagged boll, and one small boll per plant.  Remember that larvae must hatch and feed on the plant to ingest the Bt.  However if larvae reach ¼ inch in length survival is likely.  React in a timely manner with supplemental foliar sprays if thresholds are exceeded.  Coverage and penetration of the canopy with insecticides will be important as escaped CEW will be down in the canopy. Only spray other pests (i.e. stink bugs) based on thorough scouting and appropriate thresholds.  Conservation of beneficial insects such as bigeyed bugs will reduce the risk of CEW issues.

 

Diseases (Bob Kemerait)

 

August is a Critical Month for This Year’s Target Spot Control and Next Year’s Nematode, Fusarium Wilt and Bacterial Blight Control

One of the most important components of disease and nematode control in the cotton crop is “timeliness”.  “Timeliness” means deploying the best management tactic to fight diseases and nematodes before these foes become well-established or before the opportunity to use a tactic has passed.  August is a very important time in the cotton season to both be timely for possible fungicide applications this season and for preparation for next season.

Foliar Diseases.  As of the fist of August, there are four foliar diseases active in some, but certainly not all, cotton fields in Georgia.  These include bacterial blight, caused by Xanthomonas citri pv. malvacearum, Stemphylium leaf spot, caused by the fungus Stemphylium solani, target spot, caused by the fungus Corynespora cassiicola, and areolate mildew, caused by the fungus Ramularia spp.

There is little that can be done to manage bacterial blight at this time in the season, other than to note if it has occurred in your fields and which varieties have been affected.  Because of weather during the summer of 2018, even varieties which have shown some level of resistance to bacterial blight in the past have been affected this year.  However, now is the time that growers should note the level of bacterial blight in their crop and begin to make decisions as to variety selection for 2019.  Growers have an increasing number of “bacterial blight resistant” varieties from which to choose.

 

Photo Greg Slaughter

Stemphylium leaf spot is characterized by numerous small spots with dark purple/brown margins and often times gray, papery centers.  This disease occurs when the cotton plant is deficient in potassium; potassium deficiencies may exist because of poor soil fertility, perhaps from leaching, or during periods of drought where potassium is not taken up into the plant.  Stempylium leaf spot is managed by insuring proper levels of potassium in the plant; fungicides are not an effective management tool.

Photo Jason Brock

 

Target spot became evident in southwestern Georgia in the latter part of July and is likely present in many fields across the Coastal Plain of the state.  Target spot can develop quickly and is most common in good-growing cotton with high yield potential.  Extended periods of leaf wetness, where the foliage in the interior of the canopy remains wet well into the later morning hours, create perfect conditions for rapid development of target spot and premature defoliation from it.  Fungicides are an important management tool for target spot, though use does not always result in increased yields.  From our research, effective use of fungicides should be considered between the first and sixth week of bloom where the third week of bloom is typically the most critical time of management.  Scouting before use of fungicides to determine if the disease is present help to ensure that an application is warranted.  Priaxor is currently the most effective fungicide for control of target spot, though Headline, Quadris and others are also effective.

Areolate mildew was especially severe in 2017 and there are reports that the disease is back in 2018 if a few fields.  Areolate mildew has historically been confined to southeastern Georgia east of I-75; however it can be found elsewhere as well.  Typically arriving too late in the season to cause any damage (in fact, late-season defoliation may be a benefit), use of fungicides had often not been warranted.  However, in severe cases, the same fungicides used to control target spot are also effective in the management of areolate mildew.  Growers within three weeks of defoliating their cotton need not worry about managing areolate mildew.  Where areolate mildew occurs in a crop with anticipated defoliation a month or more away, and weather is favorable for continued development and spread of the disease, then use of a fungicide may be beneficial to protect yield.  Unfortunately, we have very little data at this point with which to refine our recommendations for management of areolate mildew.

 

It is too late to protect our 2018 cotton crop from plant-parasitic nematodes of Fusarium wilt; however now is the time that symptoms become very evident in the field.  Where stunting, poor growth and even dying plants are found in areas of a field, growers should take measures to determine 1) is it caused by nematodes?, 2) if so, what kind of nematodes, and 3) is Fusarium wilt also involved.  Detection and identification now will help growers to make best variety selection and possible use of nematicides in 2019.

 

Important Dates:

 

Field Days:

 

Midville – Southeast Research and Education Center – August 15th

Tifton – Cotton and Peanut Field Day – September 5th

 

For more information on any of the discussed topics please contact your local UGA Extension Agent.

Reductions in Grass Control in 2018? (Prostko)

Getting plenty of calls about perceived reductions in grass control after applications of ACC-ase inhibiting herbicides, such as Select (clethodim) or Poast (sethoxydim), have been applied.  Some folks first reaction to this “lack” of control is that we suddenly have widespread ACC-ase resistance.  When its comes to the issue of resistance, I will never say never.  But, before traveling down that bumpy road, I would like for you and your growers to consider the following:

1) Currently, only 2 grass species have been “officially” confirmed to have evolved ACC-ase resistance in Georgia including large crabgrass and Italian ryegrass. Scientific confirmation of herbicide resistance takes lots of time, manpower, and greenhouse space.

2) Labeled heights for optimum control of various common grasses with Select, including crabgrass, Texas panicum crowfootgrass, and goosegrass, are 2″- 6″.  

3) The following is some data illustrating the effect of Select rate and timing on the control of goosegrass.  Please note that goosegrass control was reduced by 16-23%, depending upon rate, when applied at the 4-6 tiller stage of growth.

Figure 1.  Goosegrass control with Select applied at different rates and timings.

4) If Cadre (imazapic) was applied prior to the grass herbicide application, it is very likely that grass control will be reduced.   Research has shown that Cadre can reduce the photosynthetic rate of goosegrass which then reduces the sensitivity of the ACC-ase enzyme to clethodim (Burke and Wilcut.  2003.  Physiological basis for antagonism of clethodim by imazapic on goosegrass.  Pesticide Biochemistry & Physiology) 

5) At this time of the year, peanut plants are kinda tall (> 12″).  Thus, any grass plants peaking out of the top of the peanut canopy are not likely to be adequately controlled due to size and coverage issues.

6) Before dropping the R-bomb, please double-check use rates, stages of growth, adjuvants, rain-free periods, and field history.  The threat of herbicide resistance is definitely real but it does not happen in one night.

Row Crop Disease Update August 10, 2018

Dr. Bob Kemerait gives row crop disease update:

DISEASES of PEANUT:  White mold and leaf spot aren’t breaking lose in every peanut field in Georgia, BUT hot temperatures, high humidity and frequent rains have created near-perfect conditions for the development, spread and, sometimes, explosion of these diseases.  Growers need to stay on a good fungicide program, tightening spray intervals where disease is becoming problematic and/or where there is concern if the crops have received enough drying time after a fungicide was applied.

FOUR COTTON DISEASES:  Target spot, areolate mildew, Stemphylium leaf spot, and bacterial blight.

What a season it has become when target spot and areolate mildew are causing greater angst than bacterial blight.

 

EASY STUFF:

 

  1.  Bacterial blight is present and is affecting yield in some fields.  Susceptible varieties will get this disease and losses may occur.  THERE IS NOTHING TO BE DONE ABOUT IT NOW. However, growers should note the varieties where they find it and determine at the end of the season if the disease became severe enough to avoid planting those varieties again.
  2. Stemphylium leaf spot is present as well.  Stemphylium leaf spot is caused by a deficiency in potassium in the plant.  Dr. Glen Harris is our soil fertility expert; I believe he would agree that excessive rains could have leached potassium this year.  Fungicides ARE NOT a solution for Stemphylium leaf spot; Dr. Harris has the best information about managing potassium.

 

HARD STUFF:

 

  1.  Target spot and areolate mildew are present in a number of fields this year.
  2. At times, target spot and areaolate mildew appear late enough in the season that the defoliation resulting from these diseases does not affect yield and use of fungicides is not needed.
  3. The question for both diseases is not, “Can we protect the cotton in this field with a fungicides?” but rather, “Should we protect the cotton in this field with a fungicide?”
  4. We have very very little data on areolate mildew, but from what I do have, I am confident that we can easily control this disease using strobilurin products like Headline or Quadris, or mixed products like Priaxor or Elatus.  Proline may work as well but I don’t have data.
  5. Though we can control areaolate mildew, does it make us any more yield than if we didn’t control it?  When conditions are favorable, areolate mildew can rapidly defoliate a cotton crop.  If a grower is withing 3-to-4 weeks of defoliating anyway, I would NOT use a fungicide.  If the crop still had 4 or more weeks to go, I would consider weather, yield potential, how much disease is in the field and then decide to spray or not.
  6. If areolate mildew, or target spot, is already well-established in the field (i.e. causing significant defoliation, then there is little hope that a fungicide will help.
  7. Target spot is a significant concern this year and is widespread.  Not every cotton grower in the state needed to spray a fungicide for target spot, but I encourage growers to carefully consider their options.
  8. Target spot is of particular concern this year because a) the wet and warm conditions are perfect for an explosion of the disease, b) the disease has been found early in many fields, and c) the price of cotton makes protection 100-250 lbs lint/acre attractive.
  9. I believe the best window of opportunity for managing target spot is from the first week of bloom to the sixth week of bloom.
  10. A little target spot in a crop (meaning scattered spots on lower leaves and no defoliation) during the first week of bloom and favorable weather IS a concern, as it would be at the third week as well.  A “little target spot” at the 4th-6th week of bloom is much less of a concern.
  11. When a fungicide program begins as early as the first week of bloom because of the disease situation; a second application may be beneficial two-to three weeks later.  I don’t envision an application, follow-up or otherwise, after the 6th week.
  12. It will be quite difficult to control (impossible?) target spot if there is already significant defoliation in the field before an application is made.  If 25-30% of the leaves are already gone, a fungicide likely won’t work.
  13. THE  THREE MOST IMPORTANT POINTS TO MANAGE TARGET SPOT, in order of importance, are 1.  TIMING  2.  COVERAGE  3.  SELECTION of FUNGICIDE.

UGA Cotton Team Newsletter July, 2018

Considerations for Cotton PGR Programs (Mark Freeman)

 

Due to the extended rainfall that most of the state saw during the planting window, Georgia’s cotton crop is extremely variable. Within close proximity or adjacent fields we can find blooming cotton next to 1 and 2 leaf cotton. Because of this variability, making any “one size fits all” PGR recommendation is impossible and any PGR decisions must be made on a field by field basis.

 

So what do PGRs do? Contrary to what many may think, mepiquat does not cause the plant to produce more flowers or bolls. What is can do is limit the amount of vegetative growth which may enhance fruit retention in lower nodes. This early node fruit retention will help with “earliness” or a quicker maturation of the crop, which tends to benefit later planted cotton more so than early planted cotton. Excessive vegetative growth can also decrease harvest efficiency, decrease coverage of insecticides and fungicides below the canopy, decrease below canopy airflow (which may increase risk of foliar diseases and boll rot), and excessive shading of the lower canopy which can impact the fiber quality of bolls of the lower portion of the plant.

 

When making decisions on a PGR management program careful consideration should be made on several key factors. The first and most important factor is current crop condition. Is the crop growing rapidly or is the crop stressed in any way (usually drought stress)? One way to determine the crop’s growing condition and growth potential is to look at the top five nodes and internodes of the plant. This is the region of the plant were current growth is happening, and any application of mepiquat will have an effect on. If internode lengths between the 4th and 5th nodes from the terminal are longer than 3” then this is a sign that the plant is growing vigorously and a mepiquat application is likely required.

 

Other factors that should be considered are current soil moisture and future rainfall predictions (mepiquat should not be applied to cotton under any drought stress), a particular field’s history for producing cotton with rank growth, fertility program and available nutrients in the field, and cotton variety. As we know, not all cotton varieties are the same. Some varieties may exhibit strong vegetative growth potential where as others may not need aggressive PGR programs. UGA Extension Agronomists work each year to classify new varieties based on their growth potential and how they respond to PGRs. This classification chart can be used as a guide for growers who may not have experience with a particular variety and how to manage it correctly. The 2018 version of this chart can be found on the ugacotton.com webpage here: http://www.ugacotton.com/2018/01/relative-plant-growth-regulator-requirements-for-cotton-varieties-updated-for-2018/

Rate and Timings:

The rate of mepiquat needed is directly related to plant size and rate of growth. If pre-bloom applications are needed (usually only with an aggressive variety and under optimal conditions for vegetative growth) rates should most likely be between 4-8oz/ac. Early-bloom application rates may range from as low as 8 oz/ac up to 24 oz/ac if rapid plant growth is occurring and internode lengths are exceeding 3”.  One often over looked aspect of the PGR program is the timing of the sequential application following the early-bloom application. It is important to continue to monitor the growth of the plant after application and initiate the follow-up application around 14 days after early-bloom.

 

Remember that there is no “one size fits all” program and that these recommendations should only be used as a guideline. Every field has a unique variable and growers must look at the “whole program” and all of the “other factors” to determine what PGR program is best for their crop.

 

 

Fertility (Glen Harris)

 

Sidedressing N (and K?) and  Boron

 

What is the best source of nitrogen to sidedress cotton with? And are liquids better than solids?  I get these questions all the time and there is not a real clear answer.  It reminds me of cotton varieties, i.e. we have a lot of good ones but overall some may be better than others. Also, what works the best in one area or operation may not work the best in another.  If you are using solid or granular N sidedress fertilizer your choice is basically between ammonium nitrate or urea. Neither of these contain sulfur so ammonium sulfate is often blended with them.  Ammonium nitrate is less concentrated and usually more expensive. However, in research trial it out yielded urea and was the more consistent performer. Ammonium nitrate also has more burn potential than urea.  Urea plus ammonium sulfate blends don’t always spread evenly and can “streak up” a cotton field.  A relatively new fertilizer material, called Amidas (by Yara) is urea and ammonium sulfate homogenized and spreads very evenly. It is a 40-0-0-5.5(S) and is a little more expensive than the blend but performs very well.

 

I have heard that some folks think that solids are not as good as liquids because they have to dissolve first. I don’t think this is true. However, there are some advantages to liquids over solids, namely that you can dribble them by the row and reduce the burn potential compared to spreading a solid over the top.  One of the disadvantages of liquids is that you cannot cover as many acres as quickly as you can with solids.  The two most common liquids are 28-0-0-5(S) and 18-0-0-3(S).  Both outperformed their counterparts with no sulfur (32% and 19 %) in recent field trials.

 

Cotton Yield (lb lint/a)            4 “Site Year” Average (2013-2014)

 

What about sidedressing with Potassium? If the full amount of potassium as recommended by soil testing is applied preplant or even soon after planting, then sidedressing K with N should not be necessary.  With the heavy rains in late May and on deep sandy soils you may consider replacing some K that may have leached.  Even then, it is difficult to sidedress with liquid forms of K in order to get enough. There are some liquid K formulations being recommended to add to liquid N sidedress but you are only getting very low amounts of K, in the neighborhood of 3 lb K2O per acre.  Instead, on fields where you may have lost some K due to leaching I would recommend waiting until the cotton starts blooming and foliar feeding K with something like potassium nitrate.

 

Boron – Our official UGA recommendation is to apply 0.5 lb B/a as foliar between first square and first bloom (the same window for sidedressing N). There are a number of products that recommend a lot less boron than this. For example, 6 oz/a of a 5 % B material only gives you 0.025 lb B/a.  This would be fine if it was 10 or 20 times better than other products. But it is not. In recent field trials it’s effectiveness is very close to the untreated check.  There are also many things added to boron fertilizers with claims they make the B get in the plant faster.  Actually this may be true in some cases. However, boron by itself gets into the plant very well on its own, thank you.

Economics (Serinna Liu)

 

Generic Base/Seed Cotton Program Timeline

By Yangxuan Liu, Don Shurley and Adam N. Rabinowitz

 

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 authorized Seed Cotton as a covered commodity under Title 1 of the 2014 farm bill and created eligibility for ARC/PLC effective with the 2018 crop year. The legislation provides owners of a farm with generic base a one-time opportunity to convert the generic base to seed cotton base (option 1-A or 1-B) or base of seed cotton and other covered commodities (option 2) based on the 2009-2012 planting history[1].  Landowners also have a one-time opportunity to update the payment yield used for seed cotton PLC.  Producers on the farm must also select the ARC or PLC program for seed cotton.  A lack of action to select the conversion option for the generic base by the appropriate deadline will result in default selections of option 1-A or 1-B, depending on which one results in a higher seed cotton base. Additionally, PLC is the default selection if no decision is made to select ARC/PLC. On April 18, USDA-FSA released Notice ARCPLC-50.  This Notice provided the approximate timeline for the generic base allocation (conversion), yield updates, and ARC or PLC program election and enrollment.  The table below summarizes the timeline.

 

May 2018 All owners and operators receive their Notification of Covered Commodity Acreage History letter that includes all farms in all counties. Owners and operators are provided an opportunity to correct acreage history for years 2008 through 2016.
Late Summer 2018 Owners make final base allocation and yield update decision for the farm.
Late Summer 2018 Official 2018 Notice of Base Acre, Yield, and Election report mailed to all owners and operators on the farm, with appeal rights.
Fall 2018 All owners and operators on the farm make

PLC, ARC-CO, or ARC-IC program election for the farm.

Ends September 2018 Annual enrollment into PLC, ARC-CO, or ARC-IC program for seed cotton base acre farms.

 

 

 

 

 

China’s Potential Cotton Tariffs and U.S. Cotton Exports

By Yangxuan Liu, John R. C. Robinson, and Don Shurley

 

On April 4th, 2018, China announced a potential 25 percent increase on import tariffs on major U.S. origin agricultural commodities in retaliation to a series of tariffs proposed by the United States. United States upland cotton is one of the commodities affected by this proposed increase in import tariffs. The export market is an important source of demand for the U.S. cotton industry. The United States is the largest cotton exporting country with around 71.3% of cotton produced in the U.S. exported last year. China is the second largest trading partner with the U.S. for cotton in 2017 and buys 16.7% of the U.S. cotton exports. The total value of cotton exported to China was worth approximately $976 million last year, which is the second highest value among all the other row crops after soybean.

 

If Chinese tariffs are imposed on U.S. cotton, global cotton suppliers like India, Australia, and Brazil may experience a near-term opportunity to supply more cotton to China. In the short run, the market disruption could be a shock to the U.S. cotton futures market, particularly if hedge fund speculators sell off their long positions. However, the longer-term situation could see more U.S. exports rerouted to other cotton importing countries. This recent history of the change in China’s internal cotton policy suggests a similar reshuffling effect from a bilateral Chinese tariff on imported U.S. cotton. Chinese raw cotton import tariffs would continue to stimulate imports of duty-free yarn from Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Indian subcontinent.

 

Diseases (Bob Kemerait)

 

There was a time not too long ago when the most important disease we expected to find in Georgia’s cotton fields was “soreshin” or Rhizoctonia seedling blight.  That disease is still important and we had a significant amount of it this year with the very wet conditions at planting.  However, there are a number of other important diseases that cotton growers must deal with and NOW is the time that there diseases will become apparent.  Weather conditions remain perfect for development and spread of disease; excessive wet weather in some areas, and our cotton crop is developing to a point where the foliage of the inner canopy is remaining wetter longer with high humidity, rainfall and irrigation.  Also, as the crop begins to flower and as bolls develop, we are likely to find spread of diseases as well.  Below are four of the most important diseases cotton growers in the state should be prepared for now.  Unfortunately, there is little-to-nothing that can be done for three of the four.  But recognizing damage and loss this season can help growers to make improved management decisions (variety selection, crop rotation, use of in-furrow nematicides, etc.) next season.

 

Disease watch:  STEMPHYLIUM LEAF SPOT on cotton is associated with a potassium deficiency in the cotton crop and CANNOT be controlled with a fungicide.  I expect to see more Stemphylium leaf spot this year (characterized by red-yellow foliage and numerous spots with papery/gray centers with premature defoliation) because of leaching of fertilizer with heavy rains.  My experience is that once symptoms begin to appear in the field, there is no opportunity for correcting the problem by foliar-feeding potassium, but this is a question better answered by Dr. Glen Harris.  Stemphylium leaf spot typically occurs in the same fields and sandier fields on a regular basis.

 

Disease watch:  TARGET SPOT in cotton is expected because the season is shaping up to be perfect conditions with extended periods of high humidity with wet foliage and good growing conditions.  Growers should begin scouting their cotton prior to first bloom and to consider fungicide applications as early as sometime between 1st and 3rd weeks of bloom if disease is detected or has been a chronic problem in the past.  The disease is difficult to control because coverage is problematic in the interior of the canopy where the disease is first found.  However, fungicide applications early in the development of the disease are critical if there is any hope to slow its progress where occurs.  Not every cotton grower needs to treat for target spot; however every grower should be aware of the opportunity to protect their crop.  The earlier target spot occurs in a cotton crop, the more likely significant yield loss will occur.

 

Disease watch:  Bacterial blight appeared early in 2018 and continues to be an issue; however reports are slowing of new finds.  I expect with recent rains we will see a resurgence of this disease in the field.  There is nothing to be done now to control it, but if bacterial blight is an issue in your cotton fields then you should consider other varieties in the future.

 

Disease watch:  Fusarium wilt of cotton is affecting younger and younger plants and seems to be spreading in the state, or at least our growers are becoming more aware of it.  Fusarium wilt is characterized by smaller stunted plants showing foliage with clear striping and interveinal chlorosis.  The vascular tissue of the plants is stained brown or dark.  This disease is a “one-two” punch brought on by the Fusarium fungus and parasitic nematodes.  Once the seed is planted, there is nothing to be done’ however recognizing the disease this season can help tp make aggressive, effective management decisions for next year.

As a final comment, “vigilance” and “timeliness” are critical components for disease and nematode management in our cotton fields.  Be observant and prepared to make aggressive decisions, either now or in the next season.

 

Important Dates:

Field Days:

Watkinsville – Cotton Field Day – J Phil Campbell Research and Education Center – July 19th

Midville – Southeast Research and Education Center – August 15th

Tifton – Cotton and Peanut Field Day – September 5th

Scout Schools:

Northwest Georgia Crop Scout School – Cartersville, Ga – July 25th – Contact Paul Pugliese for more information: 770-387-5142

 

For more information on any of the discussed topics please contact your local UGA Extension Agent.

[1] For more information about the conversion options for generic base, please refer to the factsheet Ag Policy Update within the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, available on UGA Georgia Agricultural Policy webpage.