Drought Brings on Slower Boll Opening and Leaf Drop in Oklahoma Cotton CropMon, 24 Oct 2022 11:47:09 CDT
KC Sheperd, Farm Director, is catching up with Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Cotton Agronomist Dr. Seth Byrd as he gives a cotton overview and crop update.
“If you look at the USDA’s latest report on the harvest progress, we are just getting started, you know, we are still in the single digits in terms of acres harvested,” Byrd said. “Our crop maturity from at least a boll development and opening standpoint, you know, most of the crop probably at this point has had a harvest aid application applied, or it is going to be one of those crops you wait on until it freezes.”
This year’s cotton crop, Byrd said, has taken a little longer to get to the point where a harvest aid application has been applied.
“Some of the remaining bolls are starting to be a little bit slow to open now that we are starting to cool off our nighttime temperatures, especially,” Byrd said.
The biggest hurdle cotton farmers have had, Byrd said, is getting their cotton to drop leaves.
“What would normally take, you know, in a normal good year with a decent crop condition five to ten days, has taken us, 15 plus days, and we are just not seeing a lot of movement or very slow movement on our defoliation front,” Byrd said.
The first “cold snap” came a little later, Byrd said, and that is usually what will naturally jump-start the senescence process.
“Boll opening and leaf drop are kind of related as in they are both hormonal processes and they both occur naturally, but we will see boll opening really move fast when we have warm dry conditions,” Byrd said. “A lot of times with senescence- leaf drop- we almost need a cold snap, and that will kind of jump start the leaf drop, and we are really just now seeing that.”
The drought-hardened leaves, Byrd said, have been very resilient in standing up to many harvest aid mixes. Many fields in Oklahoma, Byrd added, are not going to have a cotton harvest, and half of what was planted this year will probably not be harvested.
“Hopefully we can bounce back next year,” Byrd said.
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