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For A Healthy Start,
Follow Pre-Plant Checklist
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Stoney Stonestreet
Cotton Consulting Services, Inc.
Clarksdale, Miss.

I know the growers in the Mississippi Delta are thankful to say that the 2009 crop year is behind us. Hopefully, 2009 was a once in a 25-year event. With that out of mind and a new planting season right around the corner, our focus for now is getting the 2010 crop planted and off to a healthy start.

By now, most growers have completed the fall fertility program and are concentrating on variety selection/placement and burndown, especially with glyphosate-resistant marestail in mind.

On variety selection, which is no easy task with the number of new varieties coming to the market each year, a good rule of thumb is to plant most of your acres in varieties that you have had both experience and success with; experiment on a smaller scale with new promising varieties and don’t plant more than five to 10 percent of the varieties that you choose to ones with which you have had no experience.

Don’t forget to check the seed tag for germination and purity. You will have to ask the dealer for the actual germination, cool test results, year grown and blending information since they are not listed on the tag. Also, check the seed lot numbers for the seed year.

For burndown, I normally recommend a glyphosate plus “D” mix. This application usually will allow us to knock out emerging marestail and start clean; however, after the horrible harvest conditions of 2009, most of our fields will need to be re-worked with a residual herbicide applied to hold us until planting.

Also, this year we will need to get the crop off to a fast start by developing an exceptional root system. At planting, I recommend planting into a clean, warm seedbed; seed treated with an insecticide/nematicide for thrip and nematode suppression; a banded rate of an inexpensive pyrethroid for cutworms; and a seed rate of three to five seeds per foot regardless of the variety.

With Palmer amaranth in mind, remember that a preemerge herbicide application, including a residual herbicide, will be of the utmost importance.

 
Click here to ask Stoney Stonestreet a question or submit a comment about this month’s Cotton Consultant’s Corner.

• B.S. degree in Biology with minors in Chemistry
  and Pest Management – Delta State University, 2003
• Member of Mississippi Agricultural Consultants   Association
• Licensed consultant for five years
• Second generation consultant
• Married to Mary Evelyn Harris
• Two sons: Sam, 5, and Harris, 1
• Enjoys hunting and fishing

Recap: Follow Pre-Plant Checklist
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