Coastal Crop Advising, LLC – Texas Coastal Bend
M&H Crop Consulting – Winter Garden, Texas
I have been consulting for growers in the Texas Coastal Bend near Corpus Christi and the Winter Garden area west of San Antonio since 1991. This past season was an exceptional year for both regions, with good yields and good prices. Now we move into 2011 with some of the highest commodity prices ever.
Planning for 2011 began in the early fall, and cotton acres are likely to increase significantly. After the 2010 harvest, good soil moisture was in place across most of the areas in which I consult. Dry conditions prevailed most of the late fall and winter months, with growers concerned about a return to drought conditions. However, significant amounts of rain fell in most areas in mid-January, and growers are optimistic. Most of the acreage has been fertilized, and planters will soon emerge from the barns.
One of the biggest decisions that we face right now is variety selection. There are currently so many choices that it has become difficult for growers to select the correct varieties to fit their farming practices and soil type. Producers must decide if they prefer Bollgard II/Roundup Ready Flex, WideStrike/Roundup Ready Flex or LibertyLink/Bollgard II. All of the technologies offer different advantages and disadvantages.
Producers need to look at these technologies carefully and base their decision on the technologies that best fit their needs. All of the technologies are available in excellent varieties that fall into their respective categories in the regions where I consult. However, I believe that while selection of a specific technology is important, genetic potential should be the No. 1 criteria for variety selection.
Diversification of both crops and varieties is encouraged because what each growing season presents is always an unknown. I recommend planting at least three different varieties on the farm. Varieties are recommended based on seed company trials, university trials and trials that I conduct. Varieties that I recommend are usually in the top one-third of each test in the general area. Data from variety trials throughout the Cotton Belt is reviewed to evaluate performance in other areas. If the same varieties performed well throughout the Belt, they may have the consistency to be a winner in the Coastal Bend/Winter Garden areas.
In the past few years, many growers have eliminated preplant incorporated or preemerge residual herbicides from their herbicide programs. While the rationale for this is understood, we must now be wary due to glyphosate-resistant weed problems that have been observed in other growing areas. With the real potential for glyphosate resistance in the near future, growers in the Coastal Bend and Winter Garden areas must return to applying residual herbicides. We currently have ALS-resistant pigweed species in the area and need to take precautions now in order to avoid glyphosate resistance.
Click here to ask Darrin Biediger a question or submit a comment about this month’s Cotton Consultant’s Corner.
• B.S. and M.S. in Agronomy – Texas A&M University,
• Consulting since 1991. Crops include cotton, corn,
grain sorghum, wheat, oats, soybeans, sunflowers,
sorghum silage and corn silage.
• Certified Professional Agronomist (CPAg) and Certified
Crop Advisor (CCA)
• Member of the Texas Association of Agricultural
Consultants, National Alliance of Independent Crop
Consultants, American Society of Agronomy, Crop
Science Society of America and Weed Science
Society of America
• Serves on the Mid Coast IPM Steering Committee and
the Refugia County Crop Production Committee
• Married to wife, Leanne. Two children: Madelyn, 11,
and Holden, 9
• Hobbies include hunting and fishing
Variety Selection, Residuals Are Key
1. Base variety decisions on the technologies that best fit your needs – Bollgard II/RR Flex, WideStrike/RR Flex or LibertyLink/Bollgard II.
2. Selection of a specific technology is important, but genetic potential should be the No. 1 criteria for variety selection.
3. Plant at least three different varieties on your farm.
4. With the real potential for glyphosate resistance in the near future, producers in the Coastal Bend and Winter Garden areas must return to applying residual herbicides.
5. With ALS-resistant pigweed in the area, take precautions now to avoid glyphosate resistance