Oklahoma's cotton crop, as well as those in Texas and Kansas, continues to grow well due to timely rains and moderate temperatures.

In his June 14, 2012, issue of Cotton Comments, Dr. Randy Boman presented several items of interest to cotton producers and those who are interested in what occurs out where "the blacktop stops."

"We continue to obtain timely rainfall to keep much of the Oklahoma cotton crop moving in the right direction,” Boman said. “The Mesonet 10-day precipitation map indicates about 2.33 inches of rainfall has accumulated at Hollis; 3.61 at Altus; 2.17 at Tipton; but only 1.45 at Grandfield. Areas to the north have acquired about 2 inches,” he said.

“This is good news from the dryland perspective and has allowed many producers to get a crop established. The bad news is, in spite of many days of somewhat seasonal temperatures, every now and then we are hit with a "haymaker day" such as June 10 with 109 degrees at Altus.

"A considerable amount of early to mid-May planted cotton is beginning to square,” Boman said. “Cotton in Caddo County planted in strip-tilled land looks excellent, apart from some high wind events that slightly "ragged up" an otherwise picturesque crop.”

He also touched on some in-season management opportunities.

"When considering plant growth regulators (PGRs), consistent yield increases have not been observed from any of the mepiquat chloride materials we have investigated,” he said. “A good boll load will normally help control plant growth. Fields with poor early-season fruit retention, excellent soil moisture and high nitrogen fertility status may be candidates for poor vegetative/fruiting balance and should be watched carefully.”

He said farmers who planted varieties with vigorous growth potential and have fields with excellent growing conditions may need to consider a plant growth regulator.” For brush roll header stripper harvest, 28- to 32-inch tall plants optimize harvesting efficiency. If possible, target a maximum plant size of about 32 inches for varieties under high input irrigation (sub-surface or high capacity pivots). If plants get higher than 36 inches, harvest efficiency and productivity drop significantly.

"For spindle picker harvesters, larger plant size for high yielding cotton is not as much of a harvest consideration. Pickers can handle higher-yielding, taller plants with much greater ease than stripper harvesters, especially when the stalks are still alive or green. However, if weather delays harvesting after freezing weather, the large, brittle plants can still result in picker harvest difficulties."

The OSU Southwest Research and Extension Center staff discuss growth regulators, monitoring cotton plant growth potential and nitrogen fertilization in the June 14, 2012 issue of the Cotton Comments Newsletter.  This information can be found online at http://www.ntokcotton.org/. If you would like to receive your personal copy of Cotton Comments, email Jerry Goodson at jerry.goodson@okstate.edu.