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It Was A Busy Summer For Field Days

Tommy Horton

By Tommy Horton

By the time most of you read this story, a busy summer will have come to an end, and we will be moving full speed into the fall season. It’s hard to believe time is moving by so quickly. Suffice it to say but it was an extremely busy June, July and August.

Although you’ve heard about the trip I took to Montana for the National Cotton Council’s Multi-Commodity Education Tour and the Southern Cotton Ginners’ summer meeting in Branson, Mo., other recent events are worth mentioning.

While there are other field day events on the calendar in September, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention three very informative field day events. First, there were two Monsanto field days – one in Marion, Ark., and another in Union City, Tenn. And, in late July, there was the highly successful Milan No-till Field Day in Milan, Tenn.

Monsanto deserves a lot of credit for how it is conducting these field days on the Roundup Ready Xtend technology. There could be a fairly significant learning curve for farmers if they don’t understand how to use this program. At the field day in Marion, Ark., on July 16, there were demonstrations on both Xtend soybeans and cotton, as well some dicamba formulations (with the new VaporGrip technology that reduces volatile dicamba by 95 percent).

In short, the system will be an advanced weed management tool in the fight against resistant and tough-to-control broadleaf weeds in soybeans and cotton. The emphasis is on a “system” approach. Factors such as wind speed, off-target drift considerations and spray nozzles will all play a role in the proper use of this technology.

Attendees also heard some updates on the Bollgard II XtendFlex Cotton technology, which is the first triple-stacked trait in cotton. This cotton is built on Genuity Bollgard II with Roundup Ready technology and tolerance to dicamba, glyphosate and glufosinate herbicides.

The most impressive part of this tour in Marion was when Monsanto officials took us a to a field where there had been some wind drift damage. Knowing when and how to apply herbicides will be crucial.

A similar type presentation was given at a larger field day in Union City, Tenn. A crowd of at least 400 was on hand for this Monsanto event. Some additional emphasis was given to updates on keeping equipment properly cleaned to prevent outbreaks of resistance. Apparently, when the topic has anything to do with resistant pigweed, there will always be interest in this kind of presentation.

Another highlight in Union City was the update presented by Ty Folwer and Scot Stanislav of Monsanto. They talked about opportunities with 2014 Deltapine varieties and new class of 2015 varieties to be announced in mid-December.

Given the current price environment for cotton, Fowler and Stanislav said that farmers should take a field-by-field approach in order to make the best possible financial decision in using the new Xtend Flex technology.

I also enjoyed running into our old friend Dave Rhylander of Monsanto in Union City. He gave an update on Climate Corp. – the newest acquisition from Monsanto. This company’s program allows a producer to gain access to soil temperatures in his fields along with projected growth stages. This takes weather information to a new level.

And, finally, any review of summer field days has to include the traditional Milan No-Till Field Day in Milan, Tenn. It was encouraging to hear from field day director Blake Brown that more than 2,000 persons attended this year’s event.

One of the reasons this event continues to thrive is because of the diverse and timely information delivered. Whether it was topics on weed resistance, new varieties for cotton, corn and soybeans, a big trade show or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), farmers turned out in big numbers.

As mentioned earlier, a few more field days are on the schedule for early September, so we haven’t finished our annual tour of these events.

So far, it’s been an extremely informative summer, and now it’s on to harvesting and ginning the current cotton crop. Hope to see many you at more of these events this fall.