• Mar 08, 2018

3 Ways to Gin Up Your Cotton Management

As a cotton farmer, some of your biggest purchasing decisions for the upcoming season have probably been made. You’ve selected the genetics that will best meet your yield goals and the fiber quality that best suits your market. Chances are you’ve also selected the proper traits to tackle your biggest weed and insect challenges.
In the CROPLAN® brand, for example, you may have chosen seed with the Bollgard II XtendFlex  cotton trait, which can be used with glyphosate, glufosinate and dicamba to provide both insect protection and weed control. Or the new Bollgard 3 XtendFlex cotton trait, which offers three modes of action against bollworm and other cotton pests.
But once you’ve planted your seed, how can you keep your cotton crop on track? Here are some tips to help your cotton be all that it can be in 2018.
1. Start seeds off right.
Yield and fiber quality potential are greatly influenced by genetics and the ability of your cotton crop to get off to a quick start. This makes proper seedbed preparation and seed treatments important. Base your planting sequence on soil temperature. If you use conventional tillage, your soil will warm more quickly than with a no-till system.
For early-season disease and pest protection, make sure you have the most appropriate seed treatment for what you are dealing with. For example, if you have a nematode problem, Acceleron® Elite is a good choice. If not, consider other seed treatments such as Acceleron® Basic or Acceleron® Standard. 
2. Know your fertility goals.
Start the season with a representative soil test and address any nutrient deficiencies, especially in boron, potassium, phosphorus and zinc. Nutrient deficiencies will result in smaller bolls and poor fruit retention. Talk with your agronomist about taking tissue samples at key growth stages to ensure nutrient availability throughout the season. Nitrogen is important, but you don’t want to apply too much. A split application usually works best, but if you need to apply all your nitrogen up front, include a stabilizer so it is available later in the season.
3. Scout at least every seven days.
Diligent scouting will keep you informed of any weed or insect threats in your fields. Make herbicide applications before weeds get taller than 4 inches. Palmer amaranth continues to be a huge problem in the South (and elsewhere), but dicamba has been shown to help control when used in accordance with all label and EPA-mandated application requirements.
Be on the lookout for thrips in the early part of the season, for leafhoppers and bollworms in-season, and for stinkbugs later in the year, applying an insecticide as needed.
Work with a trusted advisor to help you make the best choices for your cotton crop and keep on top of management to satisfy the needs of the market you’re selling to. Be sure to protect that yield potential by taking the necessary steps to make your cotton crop a success.


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