It appears the Louisiana cotton harvest will be earlier this year than in the past, said Sandy Stewart, LSU AgCenter cotton specialist. “It’s been a fast crop. Frankly, I don’t think it’s an excellent crop. We’ve had some dry conditions.”

Stewart said he expects harvest to begin around Aug. 20 and “certainly by Labor Day.”

Farmers in north Louisiana heard the latest information about the crop, variety trials, insects and weeds from LSU AgCenter faculty at a recent field tour. The event began at Sonny and Ryan Kirby’s farm, south of Belcher, La. — one of 16 locations for on-farm cotton variety trials in Louisiana.

Caddo Parish is the sixth largest for cotton production in the state.

Ralph Bagwell, LSU AgCenter entomologist, has seen a jump in mites across the state. He said farmers are reluctant to spend the money required for a full miticide treatment and are looking for alternatives.

“At this point in time, I don’t have any really good solutions, but at the same time, you have to control spider mites,” Bagwell said.

Leaf loss can cause some fairly significant yield losses — enough to more than pay for treatments.

The entomologist is also getting calls about treating fall armyworms in cotton. “This is in some of the irrigated cotton,” he said.

Late-season weeds can be less of a problem if cotton is kept weed-free for six weeks after emergence, said Daniel Stephenson, LSU AgCenter weed scientist. “If we cannot control weeds, it’s going to reduce yield greatly.”

Although growers voiced concerns about pigweeds, “We’re not close to Georgia’s problem right now,” Stephenson said.

He encouraged farmers to call the LSU AgCenter if they see a weed problem they cannot control to determine whether it is an application or resistance issue.