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Farm Smart In 2010 print email

Ty Edwards
Edwards Ag Consulting, LLC
Water Valley, Miss.

Looking back on 2009, I envision a year that was full of trials and tribulations. And while yields were off some from their potential, our growers were still able to persevere through monsoon-like conditions and salvage a decent crop. I hear people say all the time that “this will be a year to remember,” but the 2009 season will truly be one to remember. And, hopefully, we can forget it as well.

Looking ahead to 2010, growers and consultants alike seem to be more optimistic about cotton than in past years. There’s talk about planting more cotton, which means more resistant weeds. Farmers need to start burning down in a few weeks for resistant marestail, and the best control we have for resistant pigweed is prevention. Use several different herbicidal chemistries throughout the year, including at least two residuals.

I am warning growers not to put too much emphasis on how varieties performed in 2009. Try several of the new varieties on small acreages. Also, take a closer look at the varieties that have looked good in the past, both in the field and in variety trials. Plant a healthy mix of early and later-maturing varieties to spread out the risk.

The start of 2010 has seen some record-setting lows across the southeastern United States. Hopefully, these colder temperatures will give us some reprieve from overwintering “bugs.” Be mindful of resistance in insects, as well, and rotate chemistries to prevent resistance. With the amount of corn acres still up from normal, growers should take full advantage of all the Bt genes that they can.

We’ve seen two growing seasons in a row where heavy amounts of mepiquat were needed, both at the end of the growing season. One year was mostly dry, then a monsoon rolled in. We hammered the cotton with mepiquat trying to preserve and mature what we had and came out okay for the most part. 2009 saw drought and monsoon play flip-flop for the better part of the year, then the rains really started. Mepiquat was used to control plant height, mature bolls, prevent regrowth as well as condition the plant for defoliation and “speed up” a little June cotton. While mepiquat was used both years in heavy amounts, it was for entirely different reasons. Don’t be afraid to put out heavier shots later in the year when you’ve got the number of nodes needed to make your crop.

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

• B.S. degree in Agricultural Pest Management –
  Mississippi State University
• Member of Mississippi Agricultural Consultants
  Association ( MACA)
• Licensed consultant for seven years
• Third generation consultant
• Manager of Yalobusha County Gin
• Married to Julie Edwards
• Two daughters: Abby, 3, and Katie, 1
• Enjoys hunting, fishing, skiing and anything
  else outdoors

Recap: Farm Smart In 2010
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