Five Keys to Higher Cotton Yields

It’s said that a corn grower can only lose yield after planting, but a cotton producer can push yields from pre-plant through harvest. As growers in the majority of the Southern Cotton Belt begin shifting their planting focus to cotton, they should consider five optimum pre- and early season opportunities to manage for top yields: variety selection, nematode management, seeding rate, and weed and thrips control.

Seek Varieties with High Seedling Vigor
It’s not too late for growers to look for cottonseed varieties that have a reputation for seedling vigor and have consistently ranked high in university and on-farm variety trials over multiple years.

“Residual herbicides, which are once again standard practice for cotton, impose a significant stress on young seedlings,” said PhytoGen Cotton Development Specialist (CDS) Steve Brown. “It is important to have a variety that routinely can withstand this stress, and those varieties with excellent seedling vigor provide a clear advantage in stand establishment and early season growth.”

Count the Ways to Control Nematodes
The continuing outcry over the loss of Temik three years ago forces growers to seek alternatives to control nematodes, including crop rotation, soil fumigants like Telone, new root knot nematode-resistant varieties, seed treatments and post-emergence foliar nematicides.

Which nematode management tool a grower chooses should be based on soil sample results and field history.

More Seed Isn’t Always Better
Many growers know how low they can go on seeding rate. But the rainy experiences from 2013 and the cool start to the 2014 season may have many considering a higher rate to counter Mother Nature.

“I don’t like thick stands,” Brown offered. “And that applies to both hill dropping and even spacing. What looks perfect in May can seem too crowded in August. I like to see thick-stalked, strong plants – not spindly ones.”

Brown favors a rate of at least two seeds per foot.  A limited amount of current research suggests populations below 1.5 plants per foot may have a negative impact on yield.

Joel Faircloth, PhytoGen CDS for the Carolinas and Virginia, generally recommends planting about 35,000 to 42,000 seeds per acre – “lower in South Carolina and increasing as you move north.”

“Low seeding rates make each plant responsible for a larger portion of the crop,” pointed out Russell Nuti, PhytoGen CDS for the Lower Southeast. “In regions with a shorter growing season, a higher population should enhance earliness as long as the rate is not high enough to cause excess vegetative growth. “

Win the War on Weeds
The key in early season is to control anything that might slow down that seedling. Weeds are key competitors and pose a bigger threat than the stunting effects of preplant residual herbicides.

“If the plant is growing poorly, growers often choose to delay post herbicide applications for fear of further crop injury, particularly tank mixtures of burndown products and residual herbicides,” Brown says. “Such a delay can be disastrous in the presence of Palmer amaranth. It’s a bad thing when poor seedling growth limits postemergence weed control.”

Trip Up Thrips
Growers who choose a high-vigor variety, control nematodes and eliminate competition from weeds can minimize thrips damage.

“Research indicates that a cotton seedling is past the stage where thrips can cause economic injury at the four-leaf stage. A more vigorous plant can reach that stage quicker,” said Faircloth. “Protecting the plant from thrips injury up to the four-leaf stage in the Carolinas and Virginia is critical, and an overspray is required to avoid maturity delays and potential yield loss.

“Also, it is worth noting that thrips alone don’t typically cause yield loss,” he added. “It is a combination of thrips and other factors like cold temps, moisture, sand blasting, seedling disease, and/or herbicide injury. A more vigorous plant should be less susceptible to and should recover quicker from these factors.”

Seizing the potential of a cotton crop requires more intense early season management early season than it once did, but high yields are the reward for the grower’s time and effort.

“In the early magic of the Roundup Ready era, it was amazing to watch cotton grow off so rapidly, largely because we weren’t using preemergence herbicides. Those days are gone,” Brown says. “Strong seedling vigor can help cotton grow through these challenges.”

Source – PhytoGen

 

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Cotton Production Stories
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

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.

Cotton Production

Dates Set for NC Cotton Meetings and Mandatory Auxin Training

January 24, 2017

The NC State Extension cotton team has scheduled a series of cotton production meetings across the state, as well as special mandatory training sessions for use of the new auxin herbicides.

Cotton Production

Dates Set for Required Pesticide Training in Georgia

January 19, 2017

Before applying new auxin herbicides to dicamba- or 2,4-D-tolerant cotton and soybean varieties, growers and applicators in Georgia will be required to attend one of six pesticide training sessions.

Planting

Cover Crop Costs Recovered on Rolling Plains Cotton

December 28, 2016

Irrigated cotton producers on the Texas Rolling Plains could potentially be reaping more dollars per acre if they include a cover crop on their continuous cotton.

Cotton Production

EPA Registers Dicamba Formulation for Use On Dicamba Tolerant Crops

November 9, 2016

The EPA has registered Monsanto's XtendiMax with Vapor Grip technology - a new, low volatility dicamba formulation - for use in weed control programs in cotton and soybean crops engineered for dicamba tolerance.

Around The Gin
Product News

Six Greenleaf Nozzles Approved for Use with XtendiMax

February 24, 2017

Six TurboDrop D Series nozzles from Greenleaf Technologies have been approved for use with Monsanto’s XtendiMax herbicide with VaporGrip Technology.

Product News

EPA Approves DuPont’s FeXapan Dicamba Herbicide

February 17, 2017

DuPont has received EPA registration for FeXapan herbicide plus VaporGrip Technology, a low-volatility dicamba formulation for use on cotton and soybean varieties carrying traits that provide tolerance to dicamba and glyphosate herbicides.

Product News

Fourteen Southern States Register Enlist Duo for Use on Enlist Crops

February 14, 2017

Thirteen Southern states have granted state registration of Enlist Duo herbicide for use on Enlist cotton and other crops, following federal registration received in January.

Product News

BASF Application Academy Adds Online Training Module

February 2, 2017

BASF has added an online training module to its On Target Application Academy stewardship program to help increase education of new and advanced herbicide technologies.

Product News

Bayer Offers Shared Risk Program for FiberMax, Stoneville Growers

January 26, 2017

Bayer is helping support the economic sustainability of cotton growers through the company’s 2017 Shared Risk Program for those who plant FiberMax and Stoneville cotton seed.

Product News

Enlist Duo Herbicide Registered for Use on Enlist Cotton

January 13, 2017

The U.S. EPA has registered Enlist Duo herbicide for use on Enlist cotton varieties, beginning in 2017.

Product News

Data Show Yield Gains from Indigo Cotton in 2016

January 9, 2017

Data collected from 2016 trials show that Indigo Cotton – a seed treatment based on naturally occurring, in-plant microbes to help increase water use efficiency – led to yield improvements on testing acres, including an 11% average yield increase in West Texas.

Product News

FiberMax and Stoneville Release New Varieties for 2017

January 9, 2017

Cotton growers searching to match the right variety the right field now have two new FiberMax varieties and two new Stoneville varieties to consider for 2017.

Latest News
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.

Cotton Production

Dates Set for NC Cotton Meetings and Mandatory Auxin Training

January 24, 2017

The NC State Extension cotton team has scheduled a series of cotton production meetings across the state, as well as special mandatory training sessions for use of the new auxin herbicides.

Cotton Production

Dates Set for Required Pesticide Training in Georgia

January 19, 2017

Before applying new auxin herbicides to dicamba- or 2,4-D-tolerant cotton and soybean varieties, growers and applicators in Georgia will be required to attend one of six pesticide training sessions.

Planting

Cover Crop Costs Recovered on Rolling Plains Cotton

December 28, 2016

Irrigated cotton producers on the Texas Rolling Plains could potentially be reaping more dollars per acre if they include a cover crop on their continuous cotton.

Cotton Production

EPA Registers Dicamba Formulation for Use On Dicamba Tolerant Crops

November 9, 2016

The EPA has registered Monsanto's XtendiMax with Vapor Grip technology - a new, low volatility dicamba formulation - for use in weed control programs in cotton and soybean crops engineered for dicamba tolerance.

Harvest

Cotton Looks Promising in Texas’ Rolling and High Plains

October 19, 2016

Good late-summer rains improved conditions for cotton in the Rolling and High Plains regions of Texas and likely mean an above-average crop for 2016.

Harvest

Possible Storm Impact on North Carolina Cotton

October 11, 2016

NC State specialists offer guidelines for making harvest decisions on cotton acres impacted by tropical storm Matthew.

Planting

Increasing Planter Capacity: Go Faster or Wider?

October 11, 2016

New technologies are giving growers more options to speed up planting. The best solution is the one better suited for your field shape and size.

Harvest

NCC Urges Cotton Quality Maintenance Following Rain Events

October 7, 2016

Growers and ginners are urged to follow proper guidelines to preserve cotton crop quality following Hurricane Matthew and other rain events at harvest.

Harvest

2016 Mid-South Defoliation Guide Now Online

September 9, 2016

The 2016 edition of the Mid-South Cotton Defoliation Guide is complete and now available online.

Harvest

Managing Proper Defoliation Timing

September 1, 2016

Proper defoliation planning helps protect yields. But it’s just as important when it comes to maximizing fiber quality.