Crop Management, Inc.
I was raised in north Louisiana in south Bossier Parish and started checking cotton for my aunt and uncle when I was 14. I later graduated from LSU and served in the Army. After leaving the service, I went back to north Louisiana, worked there for a couple years, then moved to south Texas where I have been in the cotton field ever since.
Today, I primarily consult on cotton and grain sorghum in the Texas Coastal Bend. We had the wettest winter we’ve ever had, and the moisture carried over into the spring. The farmers who were able to plant early – March and early April – had very good yields. Most made over two bales of cotton, and, in some cases, 2½ bales or higher. I don’t have any irrigated acres, so these are yields on dryland acres.
The most troublesome weeds in our area are devil’s claw, morningglory, smell melons and cocklebur with devil’s claw being the most troublesome. Palmer amaranth and water hemp are problem weeds north of us. We still use glyphosate and the yellow herbicides for weed control, but the one thing that really works well for us as a whole is that a lot of this country is rotated between cotton and grain sorghum. This helps control a lot of our weed problems.
Fleahoppers And Plant Bugs
As far as insects in cotton, we are mostly concerned with fleahoppers, tarnished plant bugs and, later on, stink bugs. Transform insecticide does a good job for us on fleahoppers and tarnished plant bugs and provides good residual control. Aphids do not show up regularly in our cotton, but when they do, I apply ¾ oz/A of Transform at first pinhead square. That’s usually when fleahoppers are present, too. This rate does a good job for eight to 10 days on fleahoppers and gets rid of the aphids at the same time.
At bloom, we have to spray for tarnished plant bugs in this area. For plant bugs, we apply 1½ oz/A of Transform. We also vary our chemicals. This year, we sprayed for plant bugs fairly early in relation to the age of the cotton because most of our cotton was late. We sprayed about the same time of the year, but the stage of the cotton was different because of delayed planting. We also use Transform to control sugarcane aphid in our grain sorghum. In some areas, we use it quite extensively. Transform is very effective on the sugarcane aphid.
Anticipating Cotton Acreage Increase
In 2016, I think cotton acres will increase by 20 percent in the Texas Coastal Bend. If the Chinese are not taking grain at the port and the grain sorghum market stays in the $6 range, then there will be more cotton even at the price that it is now. Weather also is a factor. If we get winter rains and farmers have their land ready, then we will plant more cotton.