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BWCC To Address Weed Problems

By Tommy Horton

If a cotton producer has questions about weed resistance, he will find the answers at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences (BWCC) on Jan. 5-7 in New Orleans.

This will be one of the key topics of discussion at the Consultants Conference, as well as the Technical Conferences. Obviously, other issues of interest are on the schedule, but perhaps none is timelier than this expensive problem.

Most observers agree that cotton producers have made remarkable progress in understanding this situation and implementing workable strategies. But, there is still much to learn as new technologies become available to cotton production.

“The good news is that we’ve made great progress in controlling resistant pigweed in cotton,” says Tom Barber, Arkansas Extension weed specialist and chairman of the BWCC Weed Science Conference.

“I think our farmers completely understand the importance of overlapping residual herbicide applications. What has us concerned is some PPO (protoporphyrinogen oxidase) resistance that we’ve discovered in seven counties in Arkansas. Fortunately, they’ve all been in soybean fields and not cotton.”

Barber says the big concern is will Reflex herbicide still give farmers the necessary control if the PPO resistance problem moves into cotton fields.

Resistant pigweed will continue to be a major priority in cotton production.

Resistant pigweed will continue to be a major priority in cotton production.

More Education Needed
Overall, one of the goals at all of the BWCC weed conferences will be continued education on residual herbicide applications and new technologies that should be available in 2016.

“There is no doubt that the new Enlist and Xtend technologies will give us another important tool in our fight to control resistant pigweed,” says Barber. “They don’t promise to be silver bullets, but these technologies will be very important.” As for the rest of the BWCC schedule, the Consultants Conference will comprise a day and a half and cover a wide range of topics.

Bill Robertson, Arkansas Extension cotton specialist, is coordinator of the Consultants Conference and believes that consultants and Extension agents will benefit from such a diverse program.

“I think the overall program for the Consultants Conference is direct and on target,” he says. “It also will help dealers and distributors out there in the field.”

Important Insecticides
Another topic on the program that is likely to draw a big crowd is the Insect Conference where topics such as neonicotinoids will be discussed. Entomologists Jeff Gore (Mississippi) and Gus Lorenz (Arkansas) will lead this discussion.

“The question we’re hearing from a lot of entomologists is will we lose this tool in cotton and other crops?” says Robertson. “This is what Gus (Lorenz) and Jeff (Gore) will talk about. Can we find alternatives for neonicotinoid insecticides? That’s the big concern.”

The 11 cotton technical conferences, ranging from agronomy to weed science, will meet concurrently beginning on the morning of Jan. 6 and conclude by noon on Jan. 7.

Those planning to attend the 2016 BWCC can register at http:// www.cotton.org/beltwide. Call the National Cotton Council office in Memphis, Tenn., for additional information at (901) 274-9030.

Contact Tommy Horton at thorton@onegrower.com or (901) 767-4020.