In early September, cotton picking was under way in the southern Delta, and cotton elsewhere was quickly moving toward the finish line, according to state Extension specialists. If the weather holds up, this could be one of the earliest cotton harvests the region has seen in a while.

Louisiana

Louisiana cotton producers were 8 percent to 12 percent into harvest of their 2010 cotton crop by the end of August, according to state Extension cotton specialist John Kruse.

“The one thing that may set us apart from others is that we’ve had to work with two crops all season. We had an early-planted crop and a late-planted crop. So we have some green fields out there that have a ways to go. We’re completely out of corn right now and those remaining stands of cotton are getting more and more insect pressure.”

One problem with the late-planted crop was that dry early conditions caused producers to back off growth regulator applications. “Then we got into these patterns of afternoon showers, and it’s been difficult keeping up. We have some crop that matured hip high and other areas where you can be in the field and not see the man next to you.”

Kruse says early indications are for an average yield in the state. “Considering the last two years, if growers can get out of the field what they have in the field right now, they’re going to be happy.”

Rains have impacted the early harvest and affected quality somewhat, Kruse said. If the weather holds out, “the early crop will be picked and out of here early, maybe over the next three to four weeks. The late-planted crop will probably continue into October.”

Kruse says the late-planted crop “has built heat units really fast. I think it did some catching up.”