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Cotton Variety Selection ABCs

The ABCs of variety selection may start with letters behind a variety name denoting insect resistance or herbicide tolerance technology, but they certainly do not end there. Beyond the letters are complex characteristics controlled by multiple genes – yield, fiber quality, stress response, disease resistance, plant type and relative maturity. “A” stands for area-appropriate. Consider performance data generated from the same area as your farm. Know specific field production constraints and choose varieties with appropriate disease resistance, nematode tolerance and moisture stress response. “B” is for broadening risk with more than one variety in more than one maturity class so harvest on large farms can be staggered. Broadened risk improves the odds of catching beneficial rains and avoiding widespread hail damage. “C” is for control. Stay grounded with input capabilities. Highhorsepower varieties in low-input situations can lead to quality problems. “Control” reminds me of the first cotton farmer to ask my advice on variety selection – my father, who passed away in May. Professional presentation of yield data did not impress him. He told me, “I can make these varieties yield. Show me something with the potential for good fiber quality. I have less control over that.” Read More »

Arkansas Ginner Maleisa Finch Wants To Help Cotton Stage A Big Comeback

How are you dealing with the current situation? I could probably write a book about this. First, ginners love to gin cotton, but we know it will be a different fall with the reduced cotton acres. To me, the best thing to do is think positive. You can’t shut the doors while the game is still going on. We’ve had something that has been good, and it will probably be good again. It’s all about maintaining an attitude that will help you survive. Can cotton survive in a diversified crop mix in your area? We are definitely looking at a major shift in acres in Arkansas. Frankly, I don’t think we need to go back to a “fencerow to fencerow” cotton environment. I think we need to diversify. The farmers need it, and the soil needs it. The problem occurs when you see cotton harvesters on acres that reduced cotton by 25 to 50 percent. That is a concern. Read More »

Can Technology Help In War Against Pigweed?

Has this been an unusual year for cotton producers in many parts of the Belt? Most would agree with that assessment. First, there is the frustrating cotton price that has stayed in the 60-cent range for months. Then came the floods in Texas and the Mid- South and dry conditions in the Southeast and West. One theme, however, remained consistent – the need for an effective strategy that could deal with weed resistance, namely pigweed. While most producers understand the concept of “starting clean and staying clean,” technology is assisting in the quest to reduce production costs even more. You’d be hard pressed to find a more forward-thinking farmer than Jason Luckey of Humboldt, Tenn., in the western part of the state. He, father Rege, brother Ken and nephew Zac have consistently adhered to a diversified crop mix involving cotton, corn, soybeans and wheat. They rarely increase acreage for any one crop and have succeeded in their dryland operation by staying with this philosophy. Read More »

End Of Texas Drought?

Texas High Plains cotton

High Plains Producer Says It’s Full Speed Ahead For Cotton BY SHAWN HOLLADAY LAMESA, TEXAS EDITOR’S NOTE – Texas High Plains producer Shawn Holladay has somehow survived a four-year drought and record rainfall this spring. However, he remains confident that this year’s cotton crop has a chance to survive because of excellent water supplies. Today, for the first time in ... Read More »

Quick Start

Quick Start

Across the Cotton Belt, the strategy is the same this year – no matter the location. Producers must find a way to manage this crop efficiently. And that means planting on time and starting the season strong – much like a racehorse bolting out of the starting gate at top speed. It will be a challenge as farmers deal with low cotton prices, a new farm law, weed resistance and water availability in many locations – namely in California and Texas. Add in the big front-end investment with the seed, and you begin to get the picture. Nobody wants to re-plant the crop, and it is essential that young cotton seedlings have plenty of vigor and growth potential. Read More »

Staying With Cotton

Delta’s Justin Cariker Remains Committed To Reliable Crop The facts are clear. Cotton prices are a lot lower now than any farmer could have imagined several months ago. A year ago, everyone felt very positive about 80- to 85-cent prices. Today, the mood is different with a price hovering in the low to mid-60s. And, to nobody’s surprise, acreage projections ... Read More »

Waging War On Resistant Pigweed

palmer pigweed

By Larry Steckel, Jackson, TN I have been very proud of how good a job most of our producers are doing handling glyphosate-resistant (GR) Palmer amaranth. In both 2013 and 2014, I did not get a report of a cotton field that had to be destroyed because of GR Palmer amaranth. That is quite a change from four or five ... Read More »