The Texas cotton industry’s reputation for aggressively attacking problems isn’t overstated. It is what this state is known for when it comes to dealing with issues such as weed resistance and water efficiency.
That was evident recently at a Weed and Water Summit at the Overton Hotel in Lubbock when more than 120 producers showed up for a meeting sponsored by Deltapine and Monsanto.
The group heard an update on weed resistance and water efficiency – two of the main issues confronting Texas cotton producers today.
Most of the speakers at this event praised Texas producers for being aggressive in their fight against weed resistance. They claim that Texas producers watched and learned about resistant pigweed when it started in Georgia and spread throughout the Southeast and Mid-South.
Wayne Keeling, veteran Texas A&M AgriLife research scientist, says producers in his state became more informed when weed resistance was identified in Georgia nearly eight years ago. He says they now understand that residual herbicide programs, combined with a “zero tolerance” for weed outbreaks, is a winning formula.
Keeling still has memories of some resistant weeds that were identified in a field near Brownfield (outside Lubbock) in the fall of 2011. Eight of 12 samples collected at the field were identified as resistant weeds.
“We definitely know about this problem, and I’d like to think our producers are doing something about it,” says Keeling. “You’ve heard this said before, but there is no silver bullet to deal with weed resistance. It takes residuals combined with technology and best management practices.”
Resistant pigweed isn’t the only weed in Texas causing problems for cotton producers. Other weeds that seriously impact cotton production are Russian thistle and morningglory.
As for water efficiency, High Plains producers don’t need to be reminded how important this production practice is for preserving their supplies.
Producer Steve Chapman of Lorenzo farms 2,500 acres, and 1,300 of those are irrigated. He uses half pivots and has been a cooperator with Monsanto and Deltapine for several years on how to irrigate more efficiently.
“This is the kind of specific research that we need to understand how to preserve our water supplies,” he says. “That’s the future of agriculture on the High Plains. We’re all in the process of learning.”
Monsanto, Deltapine and Texas A&M AgriLife Research contributed information to this article.