Sports is a competitive environment. Before a big game, the TV announcers typically spend at least an hour or so on air speculating which team will win. Somewhere in the dialogue, they’ve been known to say, “It depends on who shows up.” I interpret this to mean, “Which team will play to their potential today?” It takes strategy and hard work to come out on top. No one wants to drop the ball.
The same notion applies to the U.S. cotton industry. We are in a global competition in which we want our U.S.-grown fiber to achieve preferred cotton status around the world. And we have the talent and the tools to do just that. But we must show up and be proactive to get the job done.
Bill Gillon, Cotton Board president and CEO, shared his “cotton story” this month in the My Turn column on page 22. Within his narrative, he urged farmers to step up and sign up for the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol. He says, “This effort can provide information to direct more effective production research, and it will help sell U.S. cotton to brands, retailers and consumers across the globe.”
In the field, cotton farmers have to show up every day to defeat the pests that threaten the success of their crop. They have a backup team of consultants, industry representatives and state cotton specialists who help them call the plays to get the best return on investment at the end of the year.
On page 16, university experts offer tips on managing early season pests in their respective states. In Mississippi, Brian Pieralisi makes the call on controlling yield-robbing thrips.
“Thrips pressure was unusually high in 2020, which triggered multiple foliar applications to avoid delays in maturity through June,” he says. “As we move forward in 2021, I recommend insecticidal seed treatments or in-furrow applications to help mitigate this pest. Cotton is most vulnerable at the three- to four-leaf stage, which often requires an additional foliar application.”
In Georgia, Camp Hand gives the state’s cotton farmers a heads up that Dr. Stanley Culpepper and his team have confirmed PPO-resistant Palmer amaranth in Georgia. Considering this finding, he says, “Georgia growers must continue properly stewarding herbicides to remain sustainable.”
So as 2021 gets underway, who is going to show up to make this a winning season? We’ve got the talent and the tools. My money is on the U.S. cotton farmer.