• Crop Protection
  • Sep 09, 2020

3 Cotton Defoliation Strategies To Help Optimize Yield Potential

Late-season cotton field

Cotton defoliation is a management decision that is just as important as the seed or inputs you choose. Proper defoliation can help improve harvest efficiency by promoting more even boll opening, reducing the amount of trash and staining in the harvested cotton, and lowering harvest costs. Here are some tips to ensure your defoliation strategy is effective and economical.


1. Realize there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to defoliate cotton.

The process of cotton defoliation varies widely across geographies, environments and years. It’s a managed decision based on the crop’s potential, previous and expected weather conditions and stage of maturity. Considerations about crop health, plant maturity and the environment can help dictate what defoliating products, if any, you should use ahead of cotton harvest. The timing of application and rate will also vary depending on each field’s particular circumstance. Cotton varieties can respond differently to defoliants and may require different approaches. So plan accordingly, depending on the results you need. A planned method helps deliver the best results and the best use of resources.


2. Use technology tools to help focus scouting.

Using technology, including the R7® Tool, can help you understand how your crop is maturing and help focus defoliation and harvest efforts. Satellite imagery and biomass measurements from the tool can also help you determine the appropriate chemistries and water volumes that you need for a successful defoliation. Having a bird’s-eye view of a cotton field can help you see things that you might not see from the ground.


3. Add complementary products for the best results.

In addition to choosing the right products based on your crop, you should also consider adding an effective adjuvant to help get the most from your defoliating chemistry. In order for defoliating products to work as intended, they have to cover plants thoroughly.


Increasing water volume for better canopy coverage and adding an adjuvant like InterLock® adjuvant to reduce fine spray particles can help ensure that more active ingredient gets to the plant. Depending on the defoliant, PowerLock® adjuvant might also be a good option. It’s a nonionic surfactant, drift reducer and deposition aid in a convenient premix formulation that helps improve canopy penetration and spray droplet retention. Choosing the right adjuvant can help you get maximum performance from your defoliating product, resulting in cost savings and harvest efficiencies.


Cotton defoliation is another management decision that requires you to make an in-season determination based on what’s happening in your field. Make sure you’re scouting your crop often and using technology tools to help you make the most profitable decision based on the conditions you see. Contact your WinField United retailer for customized defoliation recommendations.


All photos are either the property of WinField United or used with permission.
Important: Before use always read and follow label instructions. Crop performance is dependent on several factors many of which are beyond the control of WinField United, including without limitation, soil type, pest pressures, agronomic practices, and weather conditions. Growers are encouraged to consider data from multiple locations, over multiple years, and be mindful of how such agronomic conditions could impact results.
© 2020 WinField United. InterLock®, PowerLock®, R7® and WinField® are trademarks of WinField United.

Thank You for Signing Up.

Get the latest insights and tips – directly to your inbox

Subscribe to our Advisor e-newsletter, keeping you up to date on the latest news, information and agronomic tips in the industry, national and local.

By signing up for WinField United emails, you agree to receive promotional information from WinField United. The emails will contain valuable agronomic insights, the latest WinField United product information and field updates. For more information about our privacy policy, please review it here.