"With most of the irrigation district waiting for rainfall for quite some time now," Boman says, "all of the acres will be planted and will emerge later than normal.

"It will be important to insure a reasonably uniform distribution of this water in order to get a good stand. Planting first and then furrow irrigating is a good strategy, especially if large acreages have to be planted.

"My experience with subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) tells me it is risky to ‘water up’ dry planted cotton," he says. "The potential challenges include the amount of time and the delivery capacity of the drip tape.

"It is my understanding most of the SDI in the Lugert-Altus irrigation district was installed in an 80-inch alternate furrow pattern. This means water must penetrate the soil and move 20 inches laterally and soak the seed zone. Since none of the SDI has been pressured up and leaks located, this will have to be done rapidly. Some SDI acreage has been converted to no-till production.

“These no-till fields are likely in better condition with moisture in the soil profile, plus the ground is relatively flat."

"Based on my previous observations, this should be a plus for the SDI to be able to effectively provide moisture in the seed zone."

The clean-till fields with somewhat raised beds likely will be more of a struggle, Boman believes. With the cloddy upper soil structure, it may be important not to place the seed too deeply with the planter, but adequate soil coverage will be important.

"The good news is once the irrigation water is applied, warm air and soil temperatures typically encountered this late in the growing season should result in a rapidly growing crop," he says.