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Cotton News

June 9, 2023

By June 15th, 2023No Comments

Welcome to the June 9, 2023 issue of Cotton News, a service provided by Plains Cotton Growers Inc. for the cotton industry in the Texas High Plains and beyond.

Pictured: a stand in Meadow, Texas, on May 30.

Texas High Plains Crop Conditions Report

“It’s amazing how things can change in a couple of weeks,” PCG Director of Field Services Mark Brown remarked at the Plains Cotton Advisory Group meeting June 9.

Brown said Gaines County is estimated to have received the least amount of rain this year in the PCG service area, while counties in the northern Panhandle have been flooded with precipitation.

Umbarger, Texas, in Randall County, has received 16.74 inches of rain year-to-date, according to the West Texas Mesonet. Nearly 13 of those inches were received in May.

“I’ve seen really uniform stand emergence this year, but it’s been through some weather these last couple of weeks and some of it has experienced some damage,” Brown added.

Emergence in northern Gaines County near Four Way Gin.

Weed Pressure

Brown also noted that with the recent rains has come some weed pressure. Trent Murphree with BASF agreed and said pigweed is becoming aggressive and producers may need to start applying chemical to keep it at bay. “Some producers applied chemical in March and you can definitely tell — those fields are cleaner,” he added. “And where producers may not have done as much, there’s a solid carpet of pigweed. And you have fields that have Kochia and Russian Thistle as well so be on the lookout for those. Residuals are going to be key this year.”

Field with a stand near the New Mexico state line. True leaves have formed but do show signs of wet weather blight.

Insect Pressure

Suhas Vyavhare, Ph.D., Texas A&M University Extension Service entomologist, said insect pressure remains light for the most part with good looking cotton in Hockley County this week. “If you go north of US 70, you see quite a bit of thrips injury, which is where we normally see higher thrips pressure. Usually, in the South Plains the threat from thrips to seedling cotton subsides substantially by mid-June.”

However, Vyavhare went on to say that due to the amount of “baby cotton” still present in the area and just emerging, his scouting window for thrips would be much wider this season than normal since we’ve had cooler weather and planting delays.

Heat Units 

PCG CEO Kody Bessent likened emerging cotton to a newborn baby, stating, “Baby cotton needs to incubate and get warmed up, and so far, it has not been warm enough.”

However, looking into next week, temperatures are projected to be in the 90s with low chances of rain in the forecast.

10-day forecast for Lubbock, Texas.

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Panhandle Planting Status

Given the deluge of rain the Panhandle experienced in May, some cotton acres will shift to other crops.

Severe flooding in Hereford, Deaf Smith County, Texas, over Memorial Day weekend.

“We probably had about 70% of our booked cottonseed planted,” said Steven Birkenfeld, gin manager for Top of Texas Gin in Deaf Smith County. “But 70% of that will be failed out.”

Leland Gabel, producer in Carson County, struggled to meet the May 31st planting deadline due to the excess moisture.

“I will never complain about the rain and I hope no one else does, either,” he added. “We needed this moisture bad and at least it gives us options to still grow a crop, even if it’s not cotton.”

Quentin Shieldknight, producer in Hansford County, filed for Prevent Plant insurance on all of his irrigated acres; lost 600 dryland acres to hail and flooding; and is struggling with root rot hitting some varieties he did get planted.

Hansford County received 10 to 12 inches of rain in May, according to Shieldknight. He plans to plant cover crops at the end of June on his prevent plant acres. Many producers in the area are planting milo and corn, he said.

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