I have been involved in agricultural research for more than 25 years. Over these years, we in agriculture have experienced some outstanding new technologies, record yields, adverse weather conditions and many, many challenges. I have written several articles lately, and a common theme appears to be that of challenge.
2012 was no different really than any other year. Each year we face challenges, and this year was the same as any other year, except we may have had different challenges. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss."
We got off to a good start preparing our fields for planting. Pre-plant fertilizer had been applied, and all of our hipped ground for cotton was ready to plant by mid-April. We generally try and plant our corn trials in April, and we usually like to have our cotton planted by May 10.
Heavy Rainfall Hurt Crops
Toward the middle of May, however, we received 2.5 inches of rain in one day, and, by the time that dried out, we received another 3.1 inches of rain. However, it really only put us behind by about three weeks.
This year's cotton trial was planted on June 10 and harvested on Nov. 8. During the growing season, we received 18.35 inches of rainfall. DD60s averaged 23.8 heat units for the months of June and July, and 21 heat units in August. Because of the delayed planting and weather conditions, we averaged about 1.5-2.0 bales per acre.
Our cotton variety trials were managed for optimum yields and quality. The variety trials were conducted on a Falaya silt loam with pH of 6.3 and organic matter (OM) content of 0.8 percent. We applied Cotoran + Dual Magnum preemergence and came back over the top with Envoke and Select. We also came in with a post-direct rig at layby. We applied Finish at one pint per acre to help open up the cotton to get some air movement inside the rows. Then about 10 days later we applied a defoliant plus a boll opener. This combination seemed to work well, and we will evaluate it more next year.
Look At Other Variety Trials
There are a lot of good cotton varieties on the market, and it seems like we test some very good experimental lines every year. Regardless of where your data comes from, look at other trials that have been conducted in your area, and, if possible, multiple-year data as well. Agricenter International represents just one location, and the data presented here corresponds to the growing conditions that we had this year on that particular location planted on a certain date.
Agricenter lost an important part of our family this year. John Tom Williams was the farm manager at Agricenter, and he passed away in September. John Tom had farmed all of his life and worked for Agricenter for the last 10 years. He definitely had an influence on every single person who came through the Agricenter and in his life, and he will be missed.
The Agricenter and I would like to thank everyone for your support in fulfilling our commitment to the agriculture industry. We wish you a very successful 2013.
Bruce Kirksey is the Director of Research at Agricenter International in Memphis, Tenn. Contact him at (901) 757-7754 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Variety Lbs Lint/A
DP 0912 B2RF 894
PHY 367 WRF 903
PHY 499 WRF 886
PHY 375 WRF 922
AM 1550 B2RF 905