Cotton Growth & Development in Southern Kansas & Northern Oklahoma (Including the Panhandle)​

March 2020 | 29 min., 49 sec.
by Stewart Duncan
Kansas State University

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​Duncan states that cotton is not difficult to establish if growers follow a few key principles. First, good-quality seed should be planted when seed zone soil temperatures are above 60 degrees F and there is a favorable 5-day forecast. Second, weeds should be managed throughout the growing season. Another key principle is scouting. Scouting for early season insect pests and flea-hoppers should begin at emergence; these pests should be controlled if and when threshold levels are reached. Duncan also explains that cotton is a heat-dependent crop and will develop rapidly on a regular basis with adequate GDDs in the ’60s. Once the crop reaches the reproductive stage, management practices such as irrigation scheduling, using plant growth regulators, and managing insect pests, as well as other critical factors, must be addressed to maximize fruiting and boll development. Timely defoliation and boll opening should result in timely harvest, weather permitting, which will help growers optimize yields, fiber quality, and profitability.

About the Presenter

Stewart DuncanStewart Duncan grew up on a small farm in Osage County, Kansas. He earned a BS in production agronomy from Kansas State University in 1977, and after graduating, he served as the Jackson County Extension Agricultural Agent based in Holton. In 1986, he returned to K-State and earned an MS in agronomy, investigating relay intercropping soybeans into wheat. While finishing his MS, Stu pursued a PhD to further investigate plant responses and growth habits, canopy architecture, row direction, and irrigation regime in a relay intercropped environment. He earned his doctorate in 1991 and immediately began working as the South Central Area Extension Agronomist for K-State based out of Hutchinson. While stationed in Hutchinson, Stu was introduced to cotton production in 1995. The SC Area Office was closed in 2004, and Stu relocated to Westmoreland, from which he commutes to the main campus or to one of the 27 counties in the Northeast Extension Region. His main purpose is to help build and reinforce regional, county, and district Extension agronomic educational programs by generating and disseminating practical information through sound, research-based agronomic practices with emphases on establishing both large and small on-farm strip and/or replicated plots, as well as on experiment fields.

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