Late-planted San Joaquin Valley Pima cotton can yield well, according to University of California Cotton Specialist Bob Hutmacher.

However, it takes favorable weather plus protection of early squares and fruit, according to Hutmacher and other valley UC cotton farm advisors.

Recognizing the economic urgency growers face in planting and replanting Pima, Hutmacher has outlined strategies for growers to pull out a good Extra Long Staple crop this season.

UC has pretty well backed off April 15 as the cutoff date for profitable Pima, especially for experienced ELS producers. Hutmacher says April 30 is more realistic. Beyond that, he said only the very experienced Pima producer should venture.

Temik should be under any late Pima and carefully watch plants in squaring and early bloom for retention problems.

“Plan on doing something to improve retention as early as reasonable, otherwise you may run out of growing season to try and attain a good yield and avoid fall rains and poor defoliation weather,” Hutmacher said.

Irrigation, growth regulators

Use irrigation management to increase stress and set fruit and use growth regulators to bring the crop in earlier without sacrificing “too much yield.

“Severe stress and too much Pix can reduce yields, even in a year starting out this way. However, more judicious use of delayed irrigations and timely Pix can greatly improve chances to bring in the crop with a good yield and good timing,” he said.

Regardless of management strategies, Hutmacher and his peers point out “a lot depends upon if we get the heat units from now on out.”

e-mail: harry_cline@intertec.com