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Wes Briggs is 2015 Cotton Consultant of the Year

For more than a quarter century, Wes Briggs has been the “footprints in the field,” helping his Georgia cotton farmers achieve the best possible yields. Wes Briggs was raised in Greenville, Miss., attended Mississippi State University and later settled in Bainbridge, Ga., where he established Briggs Crop Services, Inc. In the years that ensued, Briggs worked hard to gain the ... Read More »

Cotton Program Reaches 50-Year Milestone

The Cotton Research and Promotion Program (the Program) will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2016. The Program is carried out by cotton farmers and cotton importers who work together to increase the demand for and profitability of cotton. Its purpose is to educate consumers about cotton and to research, innovate, and promote cotton and cotton products. History By the mid-1960s, ... Read More »

Abe Froese Jr. Rodeos, Baseball And West Texas Cotton

The steel blue eyes of West Texas cotton farmer Abe Froese Jr. are slightly shaded from the high-noon Texas sun by the brim of his black John B. Stetson cowboy hat as his head turns to gaze across his Lea County, N. M., cotton field. “This field looks good. I was worried about how well it would take the rain, but she held up,” he says, pointing to an endless white blanket of DP 1522 B2XF that could yield between 3 and 4 bales an acre. Froese’s father farmed cotton. So did his grandfather. Cotton farming isn’t just in his blood; it is in his heritage. The Seminole, Texas, farmer will have his 15th production season under his Texas-size rodeo belt buckle by the time the gins turn out his last bale. Froese also produces cotton in Gaines and Donley counties in Texas, while overseeing an additional 300 acres of chili peppers and 20 acres of jalapeños. Read More »

Neil Lee Family Man, Country Music Fan, Cotton Farmer

Sometimes a man just needs a chance to prove himself. For Bronwood, Ga., cotton farmer Neil Lee, that chance came in 2002 when the manager in his father’s farming operation left to take another job. “I had two years at Georgia Southern University under my belt and had begun classes at Georgia Southwestern when Dad told me about the vacant position,” remembers Lee, thinking in the back of his mind that this might be the chance to start his farming career. The 22-year-old Lee told his father, Ronnie, he would like to take over the position because nobody else would care as much about the operation as a family member. Ronnie Lee didn’t have to consider it for long and said, “Let’s give it a shot.” Neil Lee has been running the crop production side of Lee Farms and learning the intricacies of farming ever since. In 2015, Lee and his farm team planted 5,500 acres of cotton in the heavy red clay soils of Lee and Terrell counties. At the beginning of the 2015 ginning season, they hoped to press 90,000 bales by the time gin stands shut down for the year. Read More »

Choosing a Cotton Variety for 2016

planting cotton

In recent years, the presence of glyphosate-resistant pigweed in Mid-South cotton has compelled producers to grow glufosinate (Liberty)-tolerant varieties. In 2015, more than 85 percent of cotton acreage in Arkansas was planted to varieties that are tolerant to glufosinate. This acreage included 11 percent planted to XtendFlex (resistant to dicamba) varieties. However, dicamba applications beyond the current burndown label were not allowed. Almost half of the transgenic entries in the 2015 Arkansas Cotton Variety Test were resistant to dicamba or 2,4-D (Enlist) – a clear indication of the direction of variety development. The Enlist trait is fully registered in the United States, and the herbicide is labeled in all Mid-South states except Tennessee. Import approvals for some Far East countries are still being pursued. We expect a limited release of Enlist cotton in 2016. It is expected, but at this point still uncertain whether labels will allow spraying of dicamba beyond burndown on XtendFlex cotton in 2016. Thus, producers should make their variety choices accordingly and follow all label requirements. Selection of varieties then returns to long-established principles of choosing varieties that are likely to produce stable, high yields of premium quality cotton – regardless of their transgene conf iguration. Read More »

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 »