All posts by Avat Shekoofa, Crop Physiologist

Is it time to irrigate corn?

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Corn is not sensitive to water limitations in early vegetative stages, but it’s important to watch the growth stages and soil type when timing irrigation. After V8, corn undergoes rapid vegetative growth and ear size determination begins (Table 1).  A corn plant’s irrigation requirement will drastically change with the onset of hot and dry conditions such as are being experienced this month (Figure 1). Continue reading

Cotton growth- managing the ‘runaway’ acre

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An example of cotton height from research plots in Jackson: PGRs were used (left) vs. No PGRs (right). WTREC, August 2021

July rains and a rain on the first of August supported rapid growth in many areas.  Over the past few days,  two of the most common questions have become, ‘How much mepiquat chloride is needed to slow growth?’ and ‘should I also include Stance in the application?’  In this article, we highlight some interesting results from a preliminary study conducted during 2020. Continue reading

Research and education-Two surveys

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The purpose of these two surveys as part of a multi-institution grant on climate change research and education is to gain additional insight on the ‘Water quality’ and ‘Soil carbon markets’ issues.  The time required to complete these surveys should be no more than 10 minutes. Please complete the surveys. If you have any additional questions regarding these surveys, please contact the lead PI, Dr. Rachna Tewari, at

PS: This being an exploratory study, anyone engaged in agriculture or livestock production of any scale could complete the survey.  The survey has been approved by UTM IRB as an exempt study.

Water quality:

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If you haven’t noticed, now you can access to Tennessee row crop irrigation page through our You can go to then click on ‘Irrigation’. Or you can check the link below for direct access to the irrigation information. The website gives you ready access to essentially all UT resources related to row crop production.

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Cotton growth stages and water requirements

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While May brought a great deal of rain, June and July have been dry for much of West Tennessee.  We are already beginning to see the impacts on cotton growth and development.  While we still have very good cotton yield potential, we need a good soaking rain in the coming weeks.  This blog highlights impacts of drought on cotton during the growth stage, provides general information on scheduling irrigation and highlights a few scheduling methods.

Ideally, the soil profile needs to provide sufficient plant available water throughout the blooming period. As we begin to move towards the permanent wilting point during the blooming window, fruit retention may begin to decline and maturity may be delayed.  If a rainfall or irrigation event does not ameliorate the stress, yield penalties may develop.  Cotton plants are particularly susceptible to drought during the early boll development stages which immediately follow flowering (Table 1). Keeping soil profile at or near field capacity at early bloom through peak bloom will support earliness and maximize yields.

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Cotton response to saturated soils in West TN

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Authors: Avat Shekoofa and Tyson Raper

Reports of ‘sudden wilt’, ‘parawilt’, or ‘wet wilt’ began Wednesday afternoon and continued through Thursday. This article briefly explains the phenomena and discusses management during recovery. 

Fig. 1: Prolonged periods of saturation resulted in wilt in many areas of West Tennessee following Hurricane Barry. 18 July 2019

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Cover crop residues impact on cotton germination and seedling growth at different termination timings

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Authors: A. Shekoofa, S. Safikhan, T. Raper, and S. Butler

 For those that have cover crops, you’re likely contemplating when to terminate.  While delayed termination can increase the amount of biomass produced and prolong the length of time that biomass remains in the system, delayed termination can also bring a few challenges- one of which is allelopathic impacts on our cash crop.  This article highlights recent research at the University of Tennessee examining how termination timing might allow us to harness these chemicals for weed suppression while minimizing the impacts on our cash crop (Fig. 1).

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