facebook_pixel

Cotton Growers Continue Search for Herbicide Resistance Solutions

For nearly a decade, cotton growers have been battling to save crops from glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth – or pigweed. Though in many ways they are finally gaining the upper hand, an expert with the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) says the progress has come at a great cost.

“The current model simply isn’t sustainable,” says Stanley Culpepper, Ph.D., a professor in crop and soil science at the University of Georgia and member of WSSA. “Growers have gone to war, and they are making progress from a weed management perspective, but not from an economic or environmental perspective. We need to figure out a way to get the same result far more cost effectively and in a way that better protects our natural resources.”

Palmer amaranth is no ordinary foe. This prolific weed can grow an inch or more a day and achieve heights of nearly 10 feet. It crowds out crops, draws moisture and nutrients from the soil and has a stem tough enough to damage rugged farm equipment. To add to the challenge, a single plant can produce hundreds of thousands of seeds, turning a limited incursion into an all-out infestation.

Palmer amaranth became a huge problem in cotton after growers began to rely solely on glyphosate for weed control. After repeated and exclusive exposure to the chemical, resistant weeds began to appear. It was clear that growers would need to make significant changes in their weed control practices or lose their crops.

Today, integrated weed management programs that complement glyphosate with a variety of other weed control tools and techniques have become commonplace in cotton. Growers have added herbicides to their weed control programs that use a different mode of action than glyphosate. They also are using two approaches that may seem decidedly “old school.” More than 90 percent of cotton growers in Georgia are now hand-weeding a significant portion of their cotton crop, Culpepper says. They also are tilling more to keep Palmer amaranth at bay.

Though the multifaceted approach is working, there are definite downsides. Additional herbicides, labor and fuel have tripled the cost of weed control in cotton, and that means profit margins are declining. In addition, increased tillage raises concerns about soil erosion from water and wind.

Scientists and growers are collaborating on new options. One of the latest involves the use of heavily-planted winter rye as a cover crop for cotton. Once the rye is established, it is rolled down to create a thick, horizontal bed of mulch that can reduce Palmer amaranth infestations by as much as 70 to 90 percent.

“We have a committed and creative group of growers, and if there are more cost effective ways to control Palmer amaranth, I’m confident we will find them,” Culpepper said.

The impact of glyphosate resistance on cotton crops represents a cautionary tale for anyone relying on a single herbicide mode of action for weed control, scientists say. If you reach the resistance “tipping point” in a crop, it can be very costly to turn back the tide.

According to WSSA member Bryan Young, Ph.D., a professor at Southern Illinois University and expert in herbicide resistance, more than 200 weed species are now resistant to one or more herbicides.

“It isn’t herbicides that create herbicide-resistant weeds,” Young says. “Instead, the culprit is how we use herbicides in an overall weed management strategy. To preserve the effectiveness of herbicides, it is imperative that we become better stewards of their use. Minor changes made today can avoid costly problems in the future.”

Best management recommendations and free educational materials about how to combat herbicide resistance are available on WSSA’s website.

Source – WSSA

 

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Cotton Production Stories
Planting

Timely Rains Boost Panhandle Cotton

August 11, 2017

Timely and widespread rains in the Texas Panhandle arrived in time to help put fields on track for a good season.

Cotton Production

Thoughts on Cotton Nitrogen Management

June 23, 2017

Tyson Raper, Tennessee Extension cotton and small grains specialist, shares some key points for proper Nitrogen management in cotton.

Planting

TX Cotton Growers Watching Moisture Levels Closely

May 25, 2017

There is some concern that soil moisture in 2017 could be problematic, especially for Texas dryland cotton producers.

Cotton Production

When Less Means More

April 19, 2017

Greg Basinger increased his overall cotton production despite dropping nearly 1,000 acres from his operation.

Planting

Seven Tips for Successful Cotton Planting

April 19, 2017

According to NC State Cotton Specialist Guy Collins, growers need to keep seven tips in mind at planting to help ensure a successful cotton stand.

white ripe cotton field ready for harvest
Production Outlook / Acreage

USDA Report Shows 12.2 Million Acres for 2017

March 31, 2017

USDA’s Prospective Plantings report indicates that 12.2 million acres of cotton will be planted in the U.S. in 2017.

Production Outlook / Acreage

Strong Exports Helping Drive Higher Cotton Prices

March 23, 2017

Growers can expect to make at least 5 to 6 cents more per pound of cotton than this time last year, primarily due to increased exports.

Around The Gin
Product News

Maximizer Club Honors Top FiberMax Dryland Growers

August 17, 2017

The FiberMax Maximizer Club honored 121 growers who yielded at least 1,000 lb/A on dryland acres with FiberMax varieties in 2016.

Product News

Monsanto, Valent Expand Roundup Ready PLUS Partnership

August 7, 2017

Monsanto and Valent U.S.A. are expanding their crop protection partnership for the 2018 Roundup Ready PLUS Crop Management Solutions platform.

Product News

New Broadleaf Burndown Option Coming from Dow AgroSciences

July 31, 2017

A new burndown option for tough broadleaf weeds has shown excellent promise in trials across the Mid-South and Midwest.

Product News

Protect Cotton Potential from Weeds, Worms and Diseases

July 12, 2017

Southeast cotton producers say latest technologies from PhytoGen help protect yield and quality.

Product News

Monsanto “Troubled” by Arkansas Dicamba Decision

June 26, 2017

Monsanto has weighed in on the Arkansas Plant Board’s proposed ban of dicamba use in the state.

Product News

Drexel Adds Two Regional Sales Reps

June 16, 2017

Kyle Herring and David Davis have joined Drexel Chemical Company as regional sales representatives.

Product News

Dow AgroSciences Launching Enlist Corn in 2018

June 16, 2017

Following the launch of Enlist cotton, Dow AgroSciences will make Enlist corn commercially available for 2018 after receiving Chinese import approvals.

Product News

Transform Earns Section 18 Exemptions for Cotton, Sorghum

May 4, 2017

Transform WG insecticide has received Section 18 emergency use exemptions for use in cotton and sorghum in select states for the 2017 production season.

Latest News
Planting

Timely Rains Boost Panhandle Cotton

August 11, 2017

Timely and widespread rains in the Texas Panhandle arrived in time to help put fields on track for a good season.

Production Outlook / Acreage

Cotton Highlights from August WASDE Report

August 10, 2017

Results from the first crop production survey for 2017 drive the numbers in USDA’s WASDE report for August – including forecasts for the highest U.S. production in 11 years.

Production Outlook / Acreage

USDA: Planted Cotton Acres Up 20% in 2017

June 30, 2017

USDA’s 2017 Planted Acres report, issued today, shows planted area for U.S. cotton at 12.1 million acres – 20% above last year.

Cotton Production

Thoughts on Cotton Nitrogen Management

June 23, 2017

Tyson Raper, Tennessee Extension cotton and small grains specialist, shares some key points for proper Nitrogen management in cotton.

Planting

TX Cotton Growers Watching Moisture Levels Closely

May 25, 2017

There is some concern that soil moisture in 2017 could be problematic, especially for Texas dryland cotton producers.

Cotton Production

When Less Means More

April 19, 2017

Greg Basinger increased his overall cotton production despite dropping nearly 1,000 acres from his operation.

Planting

Seven Tips for Successful Cotton Planting

April 19, 2017

According to NC State Cotton Specialist Guy Collins, growers need to keep seven tips in mind at planting to help ensure a successful cotton stand.

Production Outlook / Acreage

USDA Report Shows 12.2 Million Acres for 2017

March 31, 2017

USDA’s Prospective Plantings report indicates that 12.2 million acres of cotton will be planted in the U.S. in 2017.

Production Outlook / Acreage

Strong Exports Helping Drive Higher Cotton Prices

March 23, 2017

Growers can expect to make at least 5 to 6 cents more per pound of cotton than this time last year, primarily due to increased exports.

Harvest

Never Too Early to Review Picking Capacities

March 9, 2017

Before planters head to the field this season, Dr. Tyson Raper contends it’s not too early to review picker capacity in the likelihood of increased acres.

Planting

More Cotton, Less Grain Likely in Texas in 2017

February 24, 2017

Cotton acres in Texas will likely increase this season, as producers seek an alternative to grains.

Planting

Optimize Irrigation and Fertility in High Plains Cotton

February 21, 2017

With many producers in the northern High Plains considering cotton this year, optimizing irrigation and fertility will be important to their bottom line.

Production Outlook / Acreage

NCC Projects 11 Million U.S. Cotton Acres in 2017

February 11, 2017

The National Cotton Council is projecting a total of 11.0 million acres of cotton to be planted in the U.S. in 2017.

Planting

Field Prep Underway for South TX Planting

February 2, 2017

With spring planting a few weeks away, growers in south Texas are making good progress on field preparation.

Production Outlook / Acreage

2017 Looks Like a Good Year for SC Cotton Growers

February 1, 2017

South Carolina cotton growers can expect to see a better year in 2017, says a Clemson University economist.