Nitrogen is required in large amounts by the cotton plant. Most of this demand is supplied by supplemental nitrogen fertilizer applied to the soil either as a preplant, or split application. The best way to avoid deficiency problems is to follow local recommendations as to rates and amounts. However, unlike some other nutrients, nitrogen may be lost from the soil under certain conditions and requires good management.
Early and midseason nitrogen deficiency symptoms are a yellowish green leaf color, which will appear on the older leaves first, and reduced size of younger leaves. Nitrogen is mobile in the plant; therefore, the plant will transfer nitrogen from the older leaves to feed younger, developing leaves. Plant height will be reduced, fruiting branches are short, and boll shed is increased. Late season deficiency may be characterized, on plants with a moderate boll load, by foliar symptoms appearing as reddening in the middle of the canopy with few bolls retained at late fruiting sites. Nitrogen deficiency can actually delay flowering by an increase in the time to first bloom and by increasing the time interval between flowering on the same fruiting branch.
After nitrogen deficiency symptoms are detected the problem can be addressed by applying additional nitrogen as a soil application or foliar feed. Making mid and late season applications of nitrogen requires a thorough understanding of the cotton crop and the situation at hand. Before an application is made, or a sequence of applications are begun, be sure you have professional advice. Mistakes dealing with nitrogen can have serious consequences. Be sure the situation is evaluated properly and the proper course of action taken. A shortage of nitrogen can reduce yields. Excessive or improperly late-applied nitrogen can delay maturity, reduce micronaire, reduce yields and/or make the crop more attractive to insects. The best way to manage nitrogen is through a sound soil fertility program.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Rain, cool weather, more rain and some wind have slowed cotton maturation, but since the crop was a little behind schedule, the damage may be less than if harvest were already underway.
Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said recent weather is causing some yield loss, but it is hard to estimate how much.
“Being late to a degree helped the crop because rain did not string out open cotton, but given that we are running out of heat, we may have been better off with an earlier crop that had been defoliated and was standing up when the rain came,” Dodds said.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Cotton will always have challenges, but few of them will ever compare to the boll weevils that thrived in Mississippi from 1904 until 2009.
“It is nearly impossible for this younger generation of consultants, scouts and growers to understand how hard boll weevils were to control and how much boll weevil control hurt beneficial insects and complicated cotton management,” said Will McCarty, who served as the Mississippi State University Extension Service cotton specialist during “the boll weevil wars.”
MACON, Miss. -- Farmers' independent natures make them strong, but when agricultural producers join forces, they can take success to the next level.
Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, commended Mississippi farmers for their efforts to unite in the battle to eradicate boll weevils from the state.
“Historically, boll weevils were the prime pest in cotton fields. To control them, it took numerous pesticide applications,” he said. “Those treatments were costly and ate into the growers’ profit margins.”
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi’s row crops have had enough rain, and most fields just need sunshine.
Erick Larson, grain crops specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said corn is mature and will gain no benefit from additional moisture. In the first couple of weeks of August, skies were overcast or rain was falling across most of the state.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Tropical Storm Cindy did not help the state's cotton crop that struggled with cool and wet weather all spring.
Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said in mid-June, cotton received about a week of the heat and sun it needs to thrive. Weather before that was not ideal, and rain remains in the forecast.