What should I do about hail damaged cotton stands?
Every year some fields are hit by hail. The replanting statements in Should I replant? apply to hail-damaged cotton as well. Deciding what to do with a field of cotton after a hail is often a difficult decision. When looking in a hail-damaged field, examine the plants to see what percent have a terminal, what percent do not have a terminal, and what percent are cut off below the cotyledon node. Those cut off below the cotyledon node will probably not recover. Those that do not have a terminal will probably recover but produce a crazy plant with many branches. These plants can produce cotton but will mature late and be subjected to the problems associated with late cotton, i.e., insects, weather, and increased production cost with low potential returns. In other words, the risks are great
Examine the stems of seedlings that survive. Stem damage may be severe enough to cause lodging later in the season. As the season progresses, additional considerations include the following: How "strong" is the soil? Where in the state is the field located, north or south? What is the variety in the field?
If the date is after the first of June and the number of plants that are damaged to a degree such as to make survival unlikely is go great that the plant population will be below 20,000 plants per acre with numerous skips, destroying the stand may be in order. If the survivable plant population is greater than 20,000 plants per acre, and the stand is uniform I would keep it. Plants with damaged terminal will produce vegetative branches which will set fruit. Maturity will be delayed and management must be adjusted for a late crop.
If the weather turns favorable after a hail storm event, plant recovery will be phenomenal. One of the reasons for this is that the root:shoot ratio has changed tremendously. The plant should have the same size root system after the hail storm event as it did before. However, the shoot, or leaf area, will be greatly reduced.
The fact that the leaf area is reduced and injured is one of the reasons why attempting to foliar feed hail damaged cotton has not been successful.
There are no miracle cures that can be sprayed on the fields to increase survival or yields. Make replant decisions carefully.
The very thing that makes cotton so complicated to manage, being an indeterminate perennial, gives cotton an advantage over other crops when hit by hail. Cotton can recover much better from hail damage than soybeans, and especially corn.
If there is a doubt, keep it. Cotton can really come back.
When examining a hail-damaged field examine the plants to see what percent have a terminal, what percent do not have a terminal and what percent are cut off below the cotyledon node. Those cut off below the cotyledon node will probably not recover. Those that do not have a terminal will probably recover but produce a crazy plant with many branches. These plants can produce cotton but will mature very late and thus be subjected to the problems associated with late cotton, i.e. insects and weather. Examine the stems of those seedlings which may survive. Stem damage may be severe enough to cause lodging later in the season.
After a hail, avoid going into the field for several days. Cotton will look terrible the day after hail event. Give the cotton some time to recover before herbicides are applied.
Hail damaged cotton will produce numerous vegetative branches. Hail damaged fields will also act like and need to be treated like "late cotton." The only plant growth regulator we have had much success with in late cotton is mepaquat chloride (PIX, ect). For this reason hail damaged cotton has a good potential to respond to PIX application. These applications should be made after the cotton has recovered and branching and setting fruit. If you have specific questions about manageing hail damaged cotton, call your local county agent.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Online preregistration for Mississippi’s premier row crop course is open.
Hosted by the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, the 2023 Row Crop Short course will be held on Dec. 4-6 at the Mill Conference Center in Starkville.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Cool temperatures and rainfall are two things most of Mississippi has not seen lately.
This winter, however, that could change and help farms that have taken a hit from extreme drought if anticipated El Nino conditions play out. But the rains will not arrive quickly enough to save this year’s crop for some growers.
The southwest quadrant of the state is currently in what the U.S. Drought Monitor report classifies as a D-4 (exceptional drought) zone, while other portions near or below Interstate 20 are in D-3 or D-2 zones.
High temperatures and drought since early July left some cotton acreage not worth harvesting, while others with irrigation may still make an excellent crop in Mississippi.
“Statewide, cotton yields are highly variable depending on where you’re standing,” said Brian Pieralisi, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Row crop growers interested in the latest updates in cotton variety research and testing are encouraged to attend the 2023 Mississippi State University Cotton Agronomy Field Day August 24.
The MSU Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station will host the event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the MAFES Veteran’s Memorial Rose Garden at 601 Highway 182 in Starkville.
Mississippi’s cotton crop was in the ground by the second week of June, although fewer acres were planted this year because of low prices and high production costs.
Brian Pieralisi, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said cotton planting was essentially complete by mid-June. Any unplanted fields intended for cotton were too wet to plant and will likely be switched to soybeans instead.