Low yields expected in Louisiana

Louisiana's cotton growing season is quickly coming to an end, and LSU AgCenter specialists say the yield for the 2000 crop could be low.

John Barnett, LSU AgCenter cotton specialist, said defoliants have been applied in some areas and a little cotton has been picked.

"Yields from this early-picked cotton will probably be very low," Barnett said, adding, "As we move into the harvest season, yields should increase, but all indications are that overall the crop will be smaller than we had anticipated earlier in the season."

According to the Louisiana Summary of Agriculture and Natural Resources produced by the LSU AgCenter, 609,885 acres of cotton were planted in 1999, and the total yield was 706 pounds of lint per acre.

Earlier this season, officials reported about 740,000 acres of cotton had been planted, but Terry Matthews of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry agrees with Barnett and says he projects this year's crop will yield only about 690 pounds per acre.

The statewide drought is being blamed for the lower yields in the cotton-producing areas, and Barnett warns cotton producers should carefully follow recommendations on the rates they use when applying products to help defoliate cotton.

"The current high temperatures and very dry conditions can easily cause leaves to stick," he said of the defoliation process. "Producers need to stay on the low end of all recommended rates."

In addition to weeds, producers should also watch out for pests such as the pink bollworm. While this insect is not a problem in Louisiana, Ralph Bagwell, LSU AgCenter entomologist, said this pest is under constant monitoring and that every area of the state has pink bollworm traps in the fields for monitoring this potential threat.

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