Warm Air will Return
The advancement of cotton maturity has taken a break with the cooler air but the dry conditions are quite welcome. We have not seen a September cool spell in a while; nevertheless, we have already crossed the 2100 heat unit threshold. This benchmark represents the level of heat required to get a normally growing cotton plant at or at least close to mature. This year, even though the crop has begun to change a lot and moving toward a more cut out look during the last week, it still is very green for this time of year. I think the heat unit method of maturity prediction will not be a reliable predictor this year. The dry conditions of July followed by the cloudy, wet and humid conditions of August and early September have fostered a sporadic boll set with fruiting gaps and missing positions all over the plant. Cotton as expected has tried to compensate for these losses by adding more top and limb bolls but these bolls are also going to need more time than we might otherwise predict. A big component of defoliation timing will involve assessment of these late bolls and how much the are expected to contribute to yield. I am not sure we will be able to get them all, but we still have a lot of time and warmer temperatures are expected by the end of the week lasting on into October. Let's hope for the dry conditions to remain.
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