AUBURN, Ala.—There is no such thing as “typical” Alabama weather. From temperature dips and late frosts, to droughty conditions or more than seven inches of rain, producers in Alabama regularly deal with a wide variety of weather conditions.
The end of the month of May has proven to be no different. Areas throughout the state received as much as eight inches of rain, while others received relatively little. Rain continued throughout most of the state through Wednesday, with scattered rainfall expected again throughout the weekend.
Rain is a Two-Edged Sword
Regional Alabama Cooperative Extension Agent Christy Hicks, said the rainfall left some farmers in a position where they may have to consider replanting cotton.
“Cotton has a tremendous ability to recover from adversity,” she said. “Give cotton two to three days of good growing conditions (sunny, dry days) before making a re-plant decision.”
Based on current forecasts, Thursday and Friday may be the recovery time cotton needs following the downpour.
“Rain will return, so it may not be dry enough to plant until the first or second week of June,” Hicks said. “Producers will need to weigh the pros and cons of replanting that late.”
She said re-plant crops would need different management. Additionally, managing a crop field with two different maturity levels will not be easy.
Moisture in Corn May Mean Denitrification, Leaching
Every inch of rain can move nitrate six to eight inches deeper in the soil profile in lighter textured soils. Denitrification losses take place much slower than nitrate leaching. The average nitrogen loss is usually around two percent of the nitrate per day of saturation.
Soil saturated for extended periods of time with high temperatures will mean more nitrogen lost to via denitrification.
Hicks, a regional crops agent based at E.V. Smith Research and Extension Center, said collecting tissue samples may help producers evaluate the corn crop.
“Keeping a good nitrogen to sulfur ratio is important,” she said. “Producers will need to make these decisions on a field-by-field basis. Most fields may be too wet, and the corn will be too tall to go back with a nitrogen application.”
She said if nitrogen applications through the pivot are an option, producers may want to consider doing so.
Other Cotton Issues to Consider
Three main diseases can affect cotton during wet weather: Rhizoctonia, Pythium and Fusarium.
Hicks said she has already looked at a field with Ascochyta Blight this year.
“Younger cotton is most susceptible to damage with these diseases,” she said.
Rhizoctonia will develop dark reddish brown sunken lesions on hypocotyl near the soil level. Pythium occurs in cooler temperatures than producers are currently experiencing. Fusarium causes dark rot of the roots.
For more information on cotton and corn maintenance, contact your local Extension office. The office personnel should be able to put you in contact with your local crops agent. More information can be found at http://www.alabamacrops.com.