Monday, September 10, 2018

Cut-out Is a Sign of Maturity for Cotton Plants In the Valley

Around cotton country, there are signs the harvest is just around the corner.

Fall is a little more than a week away. The fruit on the plants have reached maturity and new terminal growth has pretty much stopped. And many growers have put a stop on irrigation.
Cotton growers are ending irrigation for the season.

Field scout Damien Jelen says we can officially say cotton has reached cut-out – the final stage of plant growth before the bolls open.In fact, Damien did spot one field in which bolls were starting to crack open.

For cotton, cut-out takes place when plants are at three to five Nodes Above White Flower (NAWF). Cut-out means cotton bolls are mature and about 95 percent of the crop has been set. This is an important barometer for growers because cut-out provides a good indication about the cotton yield during harvest time.

“Growers were thinking we were going to have an early season. But the cool weather lately slowed things down,” Damien says, pointing to temperatures in the low 90s and high 80s at the end of August. “Cotton likes the heat.”

As a result, Damien says, cotton gins are preparing for a normal harvest season in October and early November in some cases.

Lygus bugs are no longer a threat to cotton.
Meanwhile on the pest front, lygus is no longer a threat. Normally, growers stop monitoring for lygus about 10 days after cut-out. Their attention now turns to aphids and whitefly, which can lead to sticky cotton.

So far, the good news is aphids and whitefly are under control. “The counts are all down,” Damien says about his pest findings during his sweeps in the cotton fields.
In alfalfa, growers have wrapped up another harvest and are irrigating their fields again. Many will continue cutting through October – with a few trying to squeeze in another harvest in November, depending on the weather.

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