Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on May 29, 1998. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Cotton Off To Good Start Across State
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's cotton crop is off to a good start this year with boll weevil treatments set to begin in early June.
Dr. Blake Layton, entomologist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said cotton pin-head square applications should begin the first week of June in some places, but most of the crop will be treated the following week.
"The treatment is scheduled for about the seventh true leaf stage," Layton said. "The objective is to apply treatments before any one-third grown squares are present in the field because boll weevils can lay eggs in squares once they reach this size."
In Mississippi's hill section which is involved in the boll weevil eradication program, trapping more than two boll weevils per 40-acre field will trigger the first application.
"Traps will continue to be run after the first treatment, and a second treatment will be applied if one or more boll weevils are trapped in the same field within a seven day period," Layton said.
Boll weevil trap captures are unusually high in non-eradication areas of the state, Layton said, but do not indicate true boll weevil numbers. Dry weather through May kept many boll weevils from emerging from over-wintering.
"The recent rainfall will likely create a flush of weevil numbers in those areas," Layton said.
The goal in non-boll weevil eradication areas is the same as in the rest of the state.
"We need to get the first pin-head square application before any squares are one-third grown," Layton said. "It's very important to get this application on time."
In years with low boll weevil populations, often one treatment is all that is needed. This year's large population will probably require a second treatment.
"If weevil populations continue to emerge, we will need a second application about five to seven days following the first treatment," Layton said.
Dr. Will McCarty, Extension cotton specialist, said despite boll weevil considerations, this year's cotton crop looks good across most of the state.
"We're off to one of our better, more uniform starts to cotton than we've had in the last four to five years," McCarty said. "The biggest concern recently was that cotton planted on heavy clay fields would run out of moisture before a good stand was established, but rain across most of the growing area at the end of May supplied much of the needed moisture."
The lack of rain early in the growing season led to weed problems in some fields where water-activated pre-emergence herbicides were not activated.
Contributing to the excellent start cotton has gotten across the state was the above normal accumulation of heat units. The crop has almost 250 more heat units than did last year's crop at this time, McCarty said.