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Weed Resistance Is Challenging print email

Bill Webster
North AL Agri Services, Inc.
Harvest, Ala.

I consult for growers in the Tennessee River Valley of north Alabama and south central Tennessee. I grew up in Limestone County where my family lived on the Auburn University Valley Research Center at Belle Mina, Ala. My dad retired as director of the center. There was not a better place to live, learn, work and play.

I have a younger brother who ended up at LSU AgCenter, Dr. Eric Webster. My uncle, Dr. Lex Webster, a retired researcher with Eli Lilly, now Dow AgroSciences (for you young guys). He received his doctorate from North Carolina State. Another uncle, Donald Webster, retired from the Soil Conservation Service. Agriculture has been a family tradition.

Early crop prospects were excellent through about June 10. Four weeks of hot, dry weather reduced yield potential. With recent rains, we can make an overall good crop with some help from upstairs. Older cotton is approaching cutout in the driest areas. Plant growth regulators will be applied on the younger cotton that has received adequate moisture. Irrigated cotton received one round of a plant growth regulator and soon a second application. Early season insects (thrips and aphids) caused minimal problems. Aphids are still low, despite a round of plant bug spraying in mid-June. With the hot, dry weather, there has been an increase in spider mites, which is requiring control measures. Corn earworm moth activity is picking up, too.

The wet fall last year not only wrecked our cotton crop, but blessed us with plenty of glyphosate-resistant seedling marestail. Also, several marestail seeds germinated after crop emergence. Resistant marestail has been a problem for a few years, but this has been the worst. Between the standard dicamba plus Roundup burndown (in some cases Ignite at planting) and Envoke at a 0.15 ounces per acre, we appear to have the upper hand.

Another weed problem that has shown up for the last three years is glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth. This year’s problem has expanded greatly. With the increased grain acreage and shortage of grain harvesting equipment, custom harvesting has made an impact on the spread of the beast. Resistant Palmer will change some cropping systems next season. Incorporation of DNA (dinitroaniline herbicides) will become a standard practice again.

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

• President of North AL Agri Services, Inc.
• Independent crop consultant since 1981
• BS Entomology, Auburn University
• Member NAICC
• Past President, VP and Secretary Treasurer of the
  Ag Consultant Association of Alabama
• Married to Karoline for 26 years
• Sons Cody, Carson and Connor
• Enjoys high school and college football (War Eagle),   duck hunting and 1971 Buick GS convertible

Recap: Weed Resistance Is Challenging
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