Monday, August 2, 2010

Effect of Heat and Drought on Cotton Crops

Last week's heat and drought was devastating to a high percent of our cotton crop in Alabama. Fields that had good moisture up until July 23 were shedding everything from stress by July 30. In my opinion this stress has cut about 4 weeks off of our cotton production season. Within a few more days the only fruit remaining on the plants will be bolls that are more than 20 days old. Plant bugs, bollworms, and budworms are likely a thing of the past for the 2010 cotton season. Even stink bugs will shortly find that the remaining fruit is too hard to penetrate internally. Growers may wish to watch the swag or greener areas of their fields. Insects may congregate in the lush areas for a while longer. We have plenty of time to recover and set more fruit but scattered thunderstorms will not provide the moisture to turn the cotton around.