Sunday, May 26, 2024

Boll opening before a Halloween freeze


While we’ve been steadily moving through harvesting our trials, I’ve been paying close attention to the night temperatures forecast for the three-day stretch centered on Halloween. Fortunately, there are only a few acres left that might require any more boll opener; I cannot recall a more productive year harvested in such a short timeframe.

Still, for those trying to prepare their latest-planted acres for the picker, the time to make that final application of boll opener is NOW. In this article, I briefly cover rates and products I would consider for applications going out today or tomorrow.

While cooler or cold temperatures came into the forecast along with Halloween, rain chances did not. In the past few hours, rain chances from Friday through Monday have increased considerably.

Most ethephon products are rainfast in six hours, but we also need time to develop the boll suture. With those two facts in mind, I would recommend taking advantage of the weather today or tomorrow for making the last application of boll opener.

I’ve been surprised by the general increase in ethephon rate that has moved through the area; while we used to start with 12 ounces to 16 ounces per acre, many are applying two or three times that much in the first shot.

I’m planning on running a survey of agronomists across the region to get their feel for how much is too much, but I will not have those results compiled in time to guide your decisions on this shot.

I have a difficult time getting much of an increased response over 24 ounces per acre, but if you started with a 16-ounce application I would apply the remaining amount allowed by the label.

Max, season use labeled rate for six-pound ethephon products is 42 ounces per acre. If you decide to run 24 total ounces of boll opener, I would suggest you blend 12 Finish with 12 Prep; the split generally performs similar to a full rate of Finish while saving a little money.

This post first appeared on UT Crops News.

Tyson Raper is the cotton and small grains Extension specialist for the University of Tennessee.

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