Oklahoma Cotton Producers Faced With a Basket Full of Challenges as Season Gets Off to a Slow Start Says OSU Cotton Specialist Seth ByrdMon, 11 May 2020 11:20:13 CDT
Oklahoma cotton producers are dealing with a basket full of issues this spring revolving around low prices, lack of moisture and variable temperatures. Thatís the early season assessment from OSU Extension Cotton Specialist Seth Byrd who talked with Radio Oklahoma Agriculture Associate Farm Director and Editor KC Sheperd during the recent OSU field day in Lahoma.
The biggest challenge overall is price, Byrd said. When margins are thin, it makes every decision difficult throughout the growing season.
Some cotton has been planted in the Panhandle that was planted in April, Byrd said. Itís in pretty good shape since it has emerged, but it is sitting there waiting on moisture.
Byrd is encouraging producers to scout their fields, checking now for insects such as thrips as the young plants will have a hard time growing out of the damage at this stage.
Another challenge Byrd said is seeding depth as producers must decide to plant the seed in marginal moisture at the inch to inch and half depth level, or plant in the shallower, drier soil.
Byrd said the producer must also select a variety that can handle the wide temperatures swings weíre seeing across the state now.
The OSU specialist said farmers, especially those in southwest Oklahoma, are faced with planting cotton into the failed wheat crop which was severely damaged by freezing April temperatures.
On these fields producers must deal with the increased biomass residue left behind by the old wheat stubble, Byrd said. Making the correct planting setting to deal with the residue will be important.
We still not really sure about how many acres farmers will plant, Byrd said.
Many of these failed wheat acres are on dryland where planting cotton can be a tricky situation, Byrd said.
Weíve got some areas in the state where dryland cotton yield potential is good, Byrd said, but picking the right variety is key.
Dryland cotton needs to be a cheap crop because there is a lot of money that goes into the seed already, Byrd said.
Another big challenge Byrd is seeing is the lack of available information on cotton seed varieties. This is especially difficult for farmers new to planting cotton.
There are no public varieties, Byrd said, as every variety is from a private company, so it is not like wheat where we see a lot of information in the OSU test plots.
There are a lot of big picture management questions that revolve around crop maturity.
Click on the listen bar below to hear more of KCís interview with Byrd.
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