2007 OKLAHOMA-KANSAS cotton growing conditions are featured in this week of Talkin' Cotton. There are reports from Dick Cooper, Plains Cotton Cooperative Assn. marketing specialist at Liberal, Kan.; Monte Kahle, Great Plains Cotton Gin manager, Blackwell, Okla.; Jerry Stuckey, Northwest Cotton Growers Cooperative manager, Moscow, Kan.; Roger Sewell, manager, business development, High Tech Gin Inc., Pratt, Kan.; and Gary Feist, manager, Southern Kansas Cotton Growers Cooperative Inc., Winfield and Anthony, Kan.

Cooper's report: "Our crop in general is two weeks behind average. This is not a concern for us from Central Kansas (Pratt) to the east, which is mostly dryland. Crop maturity is a major concern in southwest Kansas where we get 300 less heat units in an average year than eastern Kansas. We will need an exceptionally good September in terms of heat units as well as a later than normal freeze for this crop out here to mature.

"Other than that, our crop looks excellent in most areas. We are in our 14th day of plus 100 degree weather and some areas in Crowley, Sumner and Harper counties are definitely showing stress. Insects of all kinds have been a problem in eastern areas but control appears to be effective. We have had very little abandonment on what we planted. Our biggest problem was not getting the crop in the ground. We lost 30,000 acres of production due to the continued rain in May and June. Thousands of acres of wheat were never harvested in this area which prevented us from having any double crop cotton. We are estimating 80 percent or more of our cotton acres are in Flex varieties, particularly 1572, and weed control is the best we have ever seen.

"I had a report from Gene Latham, Winfield, Ks., that the cotton acres in Lahoma, Hennessey, Canton and Fairview, Okla., are in very good shape. Again, we missed getting a lot of cotton planted in these new areas due to excessive rain at planting time. In summary, corn prices took half of our irrigated acres base (30,000 acres) and the inability to plant took at least another 30,000 acres. What acres we do have look better than average."

Kahle's report: "In Kay Co., Okla., cotton looks really good. Irrigated yields are estimated at two bales per acre and dryland cotton at 500-600 pounds per acre. While struggling from the heat, the cotton fruit load is heavy now. We are down 1,000 acres due to too much rain in Kay Co. and down by Covington, Okla. One of our producers there planted three times and did not get a stand. I'm not aware of any serious aphid damage in our area. Plenty of Roundup Ready Flex varieties have been planted in our areas in Kansas and Oklahoma. Our Kansas customers have reduced cotton acreage of about 3,000 acres. This is two-thirds due to corn/milo production and one-third due to excessive rain. The Kansas cotton looks particularly good in Sumner and Cowley Counties."

Stuckey's report: "We are way down on our acres this year. We only had 11,500 planted and lost over 2,000 acres to hail and wind. We have around 9,300 acres left. We had a cool and wet May and first of June. The cotton was two weeks behind until the hot weather hit. A lot of our dryland cotton looks better than the irrigated, but we need a rain in the next few days. Most of the acres we lost were planted to corn or milo. Some of the southwest Kansas cotton had to be planted for aphids. This is the first year we had to spray for them.

"Most of the irrigated cotton is Roundup Ready Flex varieties. Most of the dryland is Paymaster 2145."

Sewell’s report: (High Tech Gin location) "The cotton in our area has come along very fast in the last 10 days with the 100 degree temperatures we had. The crop is only a week or so behind last year's crop. Due to the excessive rain in May and June, about 1,000 acres of our cotton was not planted. The cotton has a heavy fruit load. It is starting to flower out the top with quarter size bolls being set at mid-plant. If we get more rain, the dryland cotton will be as good as the irrigated crop. All of our varieties are Roundup Ready Flex. NexGen 1572 was planted on about 80 percent of our acreage. We also have D&PL 2140 and 117 planted. The new varieties planted here are AFD 5064 and 5065."

Feist’s report: "Cotton west of I35 is showing some stress in the afternoon. East of I35 there was some rain and that crop looks good. The crop was behind from early to mid-summer, but the current heat has caught us up close to normal. It is estimated close to 20 percent of our acreage was not planted due to the excessive rain. While there was little aphid damage, some people did spray for them. Flex cotton varieties are more prominent west of I35. We believe overall about 40 percent to 45 percent of cotton varieties planted here are Flex varieties. Some of our farmers are considering BollGard cotton next year since there has been some spraying for bollworm problems."

TALKIN' COTTON is a feature of NTOK Cotton, a cotton industry partnership which encourages increased cotton production in the Rolling Plains of North Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.