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Cotton Producers Dealing with Challenging Growing Season

After producing record cotton yields last years local farmers are now dealing with a challenging growing season .
Cotton producers are fighting to make their crop before the first freeze of the season. If the bolls don't bloom before the first fall frost, many fear they cotton won't be harvested. Extension Specialist, Brandon Dillard said the blooms have until September 10th to make cotton. Dillard said this could be difficult because the crop isn't getting enough direct sunlight. "We hope that we have enough time to make that. What we're running into is with all this cloudy weather that we’re having we're not accumulating enough sunshine and that plant is aborting the fruit."
 
The threat to the cotton crop  started with dry weather in  May and continued with the wet weather in June in July. This prevented producers from getting the seeds in the ground. It also caused the crop to be a month behind.  Producers are also dealing with Stink Bugs .  Auburn University Emeritus Professor  Ron Smith said the pesky bug is  destroying their crop. "The Stink Bug can damage up to a least a half of a bolls on a plant. I've seen up to 50 percent boll damage."

Smith said this is the most Stink Bugs he’s seen in the last three years. He said the insects could stick around until October. “We're back in the Stink Bug business and here in the Wiregrass area where we have a combination of peanut and cotton that's the worst case scenario.”

Typically growers have sprayed pesticides by now, but the over saturated ground has prevented them from getting into the fields.
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