What is in this article?:
- Southeast crop stands showing great variability
- Must stretch water supplies
• According to the U.S. Drought Monitor’s mid-July report, soil moisture conditions were improving in places, with scattered showers and thunderstorms pelting the Southeast, and substantial showers falling on parts of the Carolinas, southern Georgia, most of Florida, and on portions of southeastern Louisiana and southern sections of Mississippi and Alabama.
Must stretch water supplies
If you’ve got irrigation water, particularly if you’ve got a limited water supply, you must be very judicious in how you apply that water, he says.
“We want to wait until the peanuts start pegging well,” says Beasley. “If we start putting on too much water on the vegetative stage and don’t hold off until fruiting is occurring, then we’ve got problems, and we’re going to run out of water. Peanuts need water critically during the heavy pegging, early podleaf stage.”
When the peg of the peanut plant starts swelling, he says, it needs a minimum of 1.5 inch of water and a maximum of 2 inches. “Make sure you’re saving water for that time frame,” says Beasley.
According to the Georgia Agricultural Statistics Service, mid-July topsoil moisture for the state stood at 18 percent very short, 43 percent short, 38 percent adequate and only 1 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture was 24 percent very short, 44 percent short, 32 percent adequate and none of the state’s subsoil was rated as surplus.
County Extension agents in Georgia were reporting that scattered showers were enough to finally get most crops up to a stand, but that dryland cotton and peanuts were suffering from continued drought and sweltering temperatures.
Thirty-four percent of the state’s corn was rated in very poor to poor condition in mid-July and 42 percent of the cotton was very poor to poor, as was about 30 percent of the peanut crop.
In June, temperatures across Georgia were above normal for the fifth straight month.
In Alabama, crop conditions were showing improvement by the middle part of July as some areas were receiving regular afternoon showers.
Thirty-three percent of the state’s corn crop was rated very poor to poor, 35 percent of the cotton was in the very poor to poor category, and 34 percent of Alabama’s cotton was in very poor to poor condition. Soybeans were faring better, with 79 percent of the crop rated at fair to good.
Fifty-two percent of Alabama’s topsoil moisture was rated as very short to short in mid-July, while 48 percent was rated as adequate.
In north Alabama’s Tennessee Valley, Auburn University Extension agronomist Charlie Burmester said regular scattered showers in the afternoon had the cotton crop in his region looking “pretty good.”
“We’ve had problems with early plant bugs, and we lost some lower squares, so a lot of our cotton is fruiting higher than normal. We’ve got a big plant, but there’s not much lower fruit,” he said in mid-July.
Cotton maturity is later than normal, says Burmester, due to heavy rainfall and tornadoes during early spring.
“We seem to be getting our plant bugs under control. We’re starting to put out our PGR, and more will go out once these showers pass through. This crop will probably push into late September as far as maturity goes. We have some nice plants and some cotton is blooming well, so we have the potential for a pretty good crop,” he says.
So far, cotton producers have done a good job of using residual herbicides for controlling gylphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth pigweed, says Burmester. “The main thing is to keep at it and don’t let it go to seed. I expect we’ll be doing quite a bit of hand pulling before it’s over,” he says.