Picking on Valentine’s Day

Historically on Valentine’s day, growers across the Mid-South and Southeast would be thinking about planting corn.

But Terry Phillips of Soperton, GA, was thinking about picking cotton. Seriously, he was.

“I still have about 200 acres to pick,” he said. “Every time we think we’re going to be able to get back in the field and get the rest of it, it rains again. Since the first of October to the 31st of January, we had 30 inches of rain. My Daddy is 76-years-old and he said he’d never seen anything like this.”

Pam Knox, a meteorologist and assistant state climatologist at the University of Georgia school of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, said an El Niño weather pattern dominated Georgia in the winter of 2009/10 and brought cold, rainy weather to much of the state.

“Cold air from the arctic was tied up with the subtropical jet stream,” she explained. ”We had all the rain and flooding, and it was related to the tropics, but not to hurricanes or tropical storms.”

An El Niño is opposite on the east and west coasts. For example, while the east coast was seeing record snowfalls this winter, the Olympics in Vancouver was short on snow.

“We first noticed the El Niño was starting in late August and I think that contributed to the lack of tropical storms this year,” Knox said. “It developed over the course of the winter and became a strong one ― we don’t normally see them get that strong. But this has been the classic El Niño pattern, especially in south Georgia.”

El Niño weather patterns normally last for 12 months; occasionally slightly longer. But Knox says this El Niño, even though it was abnormally strong, is already showing signs of early weakening.

“We could actually go through a dry spell in the spring in the Southeast,” she explained. “It’s so wet now, it feels like we may never dry out. But as the pattern shifts – as the El Niño moves away – it won’t be concentrated over Georgia. I think that would be good for the farmers because they’re complaining. They can’t get in the field.”

Knox says that although it’s variable, the time between El Niños is usually three to five years. Normally a La Niña, which has the opposite effect of an El Niño, will come somewhere in between. El Niños have been known to follow El Niños, but rarely.

Despite the horrendous harvest conditions blamed on the El Niño, it could very well have played a part in the surprising yields south Georgia wound up with.

“The late rain we had in August and September helped our cotton fill out,” Phillips said. “It made our crop. The staple and mic were fine. The only thing it seemed to have affected was the color. I’ve been happy with the crop, I just wish I could have gotten through earlier.”
“Our (DP) 555 (BG/RR) picked anywhere from 1,000 to 1,300 pounds,” he said. “555 and (DP) 515 (BG/RR) are what I have left to pick, but they are holding up real well.”

Glyphosate-resistant palmer amaranth is no stranger to south Georgia and Phillips planted FiberMax 1845 LLB2 – a LibertyLink/Bollgard II variety that allowed him to use Ignite, a non-selective alternative to glyphosate – where it was a problem. “I was happy with it,” he said. “Under irrigation, it averaged 1,300 pounds. I was happy with the way the Ignite worked and I’ve already got seed ordered for this coming year.”

Phillips says for 2010 he intends to increase his cotton acreage by 20%, to 1,200 acres, keep his same 350 acres of peanuts and drop corn and soybeans.

At the B. C. T. Gin Co. in Quitman, GA, Steve Bullard agreed that although it was definitely a difficult year, yields and grades were a pleasant surprise.

“We had trouble getting it out, but our yields and grades held up very well,” he said. “We’d usually be through ginning between Christmas and the first of the year. So we were really only two to three weeks late.”

The difficulty for the gin, Bullard said, came when trying to pick up modules.

“We had to pick and choose how we routed our trucks,” he explained. “If modules were on the road or in the field, it made a difference. If they were out in the field, sometimes we had to let them sit for a while.” ■

Leave a Reply

Harvest Stories
Cotton Production

Bayer CropScience Honors 328 Growers at FiberMax One Ton Club

April 10, 2014

Bayer CropScience honored 328 FiberMax cotton growers who achieved one-ton yields during 2013 and membership into the FiberMax One Ton Club.

Harvest

Storms Shred Thousands of Cotton Acres in Arkansas

October 9, 2014

To date, Mother Nature has blessed the latter part of the cotton season – including early harvest – with favorable

Cotton Production

Updated Mid-South Defoliation Guide Now Available Online

September 16, 2014

With defoliation and harvest season nearing, the 2014 Mid-South Defoliation Guide has been updated and is ready for grower use.

Cotton Production

New Cotton Webcasts Focus on Using Yield Monitor Data for Precision Planning

September 10, 2014

Two new webcasts to help growers successfully capture and use data from yield monitors have been added to the Focus on Cotton online webcast resource, developed by Cotton Incorporated and the Plant Management Network.

Cotton Production

Terminate Cotton Irrigation at First Cracked Boll

August 26, 2014

Darrin Dodds, Mississippi State Extension cotton specialist, says that when growers see the first cracked boll in their cotton fields, it’s time to terminate their irrigation program.

Cotton Production

Cotton Harvest Looking Good in Lower Rio Grande Valley

August 15, 2014

As cotton harvest begins in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, growers are optimistic that this year’s crop will help erase the disappointments of the last few growing seasons.

Cotton Production

John Deere Updates Round Module Building Cotton Picker for 2015

August 7, 2014

For 2015, John Deere has updated its on-board round module building CP690 (previously known as 7760) Cotton Picker with increased power, performance and uptime.

Around The Gin
Product News

New 2015 CROPLAN Cotton Varieties Feature Bollgard II XtendFlex Technology

March 19, 2015

WinField is adding Monsanto’s new Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton trait to two new CROPLAN cotton varieties for 2015.

Precision Technology

New Features for TeeJet Aeros 9040 Field Computer

March 18, 2015

TeeJet has added new features to its Aeros 9040 Field Computer for 2015.

Precision Technology

TeeJet Launches New DynaJet Flex Nozzle Control System

March 17, 2015

The new DynaJet Flex 7120 nozzle control system from TeeJet Technologies helps growers manage spray quality across a variety of operating speeds and application rates.

Product News

New Cheminova Chemistry to Help Control Herbicide Resistant Weeds

February 23, 2015

Cheminova plans to register pethoxamid, a new herbicide active ingredient, to help growers manage herbicide-resistant weeds.

Product News

Brake Herbicide Receives Section 18 Approvals in Six States

February 18, 2015

Brake Herbicide has received Section 18 emergency use exemptions for control of glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth in six cotton producing states.

Precision Technology

TeeJet Matrix 430 Provides Simple, Easy-to-Use Guidance

February 18, 2015

TeeJet Technologies’ new Matrix 430 GNSS guidance system is ideal for a wide range of field applications.

Precision Technology

TeeJet Launches RX520 High-Precision GNSS Receiver

February 17, 2015

TeeJet Technologies has introduced the RX520 dual frequency GNSS receiver for precision farming operations.

Disease Control / Nematodes

Velum Total Approved for Cotton, Peanuts in 2015

February 12, 2015

Bayer CropScience has received registration for Velum Total, a new insecticide/nematicide for use in cotton and peanuts in 2015.

Latest News
Harvest

Storms Shred Thousands of Cotton Acres in Arkansas

October 9, 2014

To date, Mother Nature has blessed the latter part of the cotton season – including early harvest – with favorable

Cotton Production

Updated Mid-South Defoliation Guide Now Available Online

September 16, 2014

With defoliation and harvest season nearing, the 2014 Mid-South Defoliation Guide has been updated and is ready for grower use.

Cotton Production

Terminate Cotton Irrigation at First Cracked Boll

August 26, 2014

Darrin Dodds, Mississippi State Extension cotton specialist, says that when growers see the first cracked boll in their cotton fields, it’s time to terminate their irrigation program.

Cotton Production

Cotton Harvest Looking Good in Lower Rio Grande Valley

August 15, 2014

As cotton harvest begins in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, growers are optimistic that this year’s crop will help erase the disappointments of the last few growing seasons.

Cotton Production

First Certified Cotton Bale of 2014 Delivered to Gin

July 10, 2014

While most cotton growers are battling plant bugs and resistant weeds and watching for first blooms, Sam and Josh Ruiz of La Feria, TX have delivered 2014’s first official certified bale of cotton.

Cotton Production

Long-Awaited On-Board Module Building Strippers Come to the High Plains

May 5, 2014

After years of toil and innovation, John Deere is introducing the John Deere CS690 Cotton Stripper, hoping to bring the proven successes of on-board module-building harvesters to much of the Southwest.

Cotton Production

USDA Announces 2014 Cotton Loan Rate Differentials

April 15, 2014

USDA's Farm Service Agency has announced the 2014-crop loan rate differentials for upland and extra-long staple (ELS) cotton.

Cotton Production

Bayer CropScience Honors 328 Growers at FiberMax One Ton Club

April 10, 2014

Bayer CropScience honored 328 FiberMax cotton growers who achieved one-ton yields during 2013 and membership into the FiberMax One Ton Club.

Cotton Production

John Deere Introduces New Module-Building CS690 Cotton Stripper

April 7, 2014

Innovative design speeds harvest, reduces labor and downtime, protects yields and increases operator comfort.

Cotton Production

Bayer Seeks Entries for FiberMax One Ton Club for the 2013 Season

February 8, 2014

Bayer CropScience and FiberMax cotton invite growers to enter the FiberMax One Ton Club for 2013 to be recognized for

Cotton Production

Protect Your Profits: Revolutionary Harvesters Could Save You Money

January 8, 2014

As 2014 begins, it’s clear that cotton growers will be looking for cost-cutting efficiencies to help them remain productive and

Cotton Production

Bayer Cotton Belt Challenge Returns

December 5, 2013

The popular Bayer CropScience Cotton Belt Challenge – an achievement program that recognizes U.S. growers who plant at least 50

Cotton Production

Eight States Show Big Jumps in Cotton Harvest

November 4, 2013

In advance of the November 8 USDA Cotton Ginnings report, cotton harvest throughout the U.S. Cotton Belt hummed along during

Cotton Production

Farm Service Agency Resumes 2013 Crop Commodity Loan Disbursements

November 4, 2013

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA) has resumed processing and disbursement of 2013 crop commodity loans to

Harvest

Under International Pressure, Uzbekistan Harvests 3.4 Million Tons

October 30, 2013

It was another good year for cotton growers in Uzbekistan, who are expected to produce 3.35 million tons in the