September –
‘Exposing The Snow-White Lint’


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Recap: ‘Exposing The
Snow-White Lint’


Travis Vallee
Cenla Ag Services L.L.C.
Colfax, La.

The month of September is one of my favorite months of the year as we switch gears from IPM to harvest. There is nothing much better than stripping a cotton field of its foliage and exposing the snow-white lint we worked so hard at setting on the plant. Modules will soon line the turnrows awaiting a trip to the gin.

Quite often, the toughest decision about defoliation is deciding when to do so. There are many factors involved, such as environment, where the bolls are set, regrowth, grower harvest capacity and yield potential just to name a few. This year, there seems to be plenty of different scenarios, depending on how the various soil types and varieties handled the drought and how quickly they responded to the rains.

I generally prefer to use the four nodes above cracked boll method to determine which bolls I can get open in a reasonable time. This method has typically worked well for me, but if there are fruiting gaps or delayed fruiting, then I find the sharp knife method to be the most reliable. I almost always use a two-pass defoliation program. September is typically plenty warm enough that thidiazuron will be the backbone of our first pass, as this product is good on juvenile growth and generally doesn’t stick any leaves. The cotton is usually easy to clean up with a second treatment, and there are several chemistries that will work.

Economics will play the biggest role in the second treatment choice. Generally, I’ll defoliate enough acres to keep the cotton pickers loaded, but if the field has excessive regrowth, then I’ll make the first application as soon as the bolls are mature, regardless of acreage. I want to open up the canopy to sunlight and air movement to help preserve fiber and seed quality. Then I’ll wait to apply the second pass as needed.

The crop has been down a rough road this year, as happens in most years, and, hopefully, we’ve been across all the rough spots as we near the end.

May God bless us with a dry harvest season as we get this crop to the gin.


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