Texas and Oklahoma Cotton Catching Up

With warmer, sunny weather, Rolling Plains and Southwest Oklahoma improving.

Published on: Jul 23, 2007

Mid-July marked the first time - in a long time - that the Rolling Plains of Texas actually went an entire week without rain, and had sunny, more seasonably warm days.

"The cotton crop is looking good at this time, with adequate moisture in the ground," reports Galen D. Chandler, district administrator, Texas Cooperative Extension, Vernon.

Chris Sansone, Texas A&M Extension entomologist, San Angelo, says cotton is making good progress across the Rolling Plains. He says growing conditions continue to improve. The crop varies widely in growth stage.

"Cotton ranges from three to four true leaves, to 10 days away from bloom, with most of the cotton entering the squaring stage," Sansone observes. "Most of the crop is looking much better after a week of partly cloudy weather and limited rainfall."

The early season flooding probably only caused a 5% loss of cotton acreage on the Rolling Plains, he notes. But farmers now are working rapidly to catch up with weed control and fertilizer applications.

Sansone says insect problems have been minor in cotton.

"Producers have been spraying for stink bugs and headworms in grain sorghum," Sansone reports. "Cotton survived the thrip populations in good shape, and cotton fleahoppers are beginning to migrate into the squaring cotton."

Nevertheless, Texas A&M Extension Agronomist Todd Baughman, Vernon, says the cotton crop remains behind in growth stage and height-to-node ratio. Some cotton is showing signs of nitrogen deficiency due to saturated soils. Baughman says producers are watching for fleahoppers because of the delayed crop.

Oklahoma State University cotton specialist J.C. Banks at Altus says cotton in that region is growing rapidly with warmer weather.

"All mid-May planted cotton should be producing some blooms," Banks says.

Jerry Goodson of the OSU entomology department says there have been some aphids in Oklahoma cotton, but beneficial insects are helping control them. There has been some early damage to cotton from fleahoppers.