Overall crop condition at this stage in the season in Arizona is reasonably good and developing a reasonable yield potential. However, poor fruit retention (FR) and high vigor conditions are common in many areas, particularly in some central Arizona locations. These conditions are also contributing to delayed crop maturity in some cases. As usual for this time in the season, there is a great deal of variability in crop condition, even within a given area.
The late maturity, poor FR, and excessive crop vigor conditions that presently exist in many low elevation locations are commonly a result of a combination of factors or events, including:
Careful crop assessment at this point is critical considering the low market value of cotton fiber, particularly with respect to decisions concerning irrigation termination. Therefore, it is extremely important at this stage in the season to make a very thorough and objective assessment of crop conditions in an effort to decide on how long the crop should be carried.
The basic element governing these late season decisions is economics. Many fields have a lot of money invested in them already. The question basically becomes "What is the potential of being able to develop a significant yield late in the season while offsetting any additional costs?". More time in the field can result in higher yields but more costs as well. Prolonging the crop without a substantial gain in yield can also increase fiber micronaire, resulting in further discounts on fiber value. In late season field evaluations, I try to make an assessment of the following factors:
Additional factors may need to be considered and each field needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis. Many growers are faced with some very difficult decisions at this time. It is important to make a careful evaluation of all fields and consider production potentials and constraints as objectively as possible.
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, James A. Christenson, Director Cooperative Extension, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, The University of Arizona.
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Information provided by Jeffrey C. Silvertooth, firstname.lastname@example.org
Extension Agronomist - Cotton, College of Agriculture, The University of Arizona.
Material written 14 August 1999.
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