Seed treatments are an important investment for cotton farmers to make each year. Most will say that it’s mindboggling to think about the front-end costs made in a crop before it ever comes out of the ground.
But those same producers will agree that technology comes with a price tag, and it’s essential in today’s production environment. Whether it’s preventing seedling disease, insect pests or weed problems, the cotton plant needs every weapon at its disposal. It’s the only way it can survive in those critical first 40 days of plant development.
Two Mississippi producers – Kenneth Grant of Duck Hill and Johnny Little of Holcomb – can attest to the importance of seed treatments in their own farm operations.
“I don’t do as much research on seed treatments as I should,” says Grant, who farms 1,000 acres. “But I know it’s a good investment when it gives me protection against a problem like thrips.”
Grant used seed treated with Trilex Advanced on his field last year and only had to spray for thrips once during the entire season. The effectiveness of any seed treatment depends on the soil type and the growing conditions of a particular field. For example, Grant has a lot of soil variability in his fields, which are primarily sandy loam in the hill region of north central Mississippi.
“You need to do your homework,” says Grant. “When you are farming in the hills of north Mississippi on non-irrigated land, you never know what will happen. Everything has to be done in a timely fashion.”
Importance Of Good Soil Fertility
Mississippi producer Johnny Little of Holcomb has a similar situation. He farms 1,500 acres in the same north central region. Initially, he used Temik for several years, but then made the move to seed treatments. His Stoneville varieties are treated with Trilex Advanced and Aeris, and the investment has paid off.
“Without a doubt, I have to guard every seed that we put into the ground,” says Little. “Anything you can give that seed to give it more vigor is important. If you have some unpredictable weather, that seed is out there unprotected unless you have these treatments.”
Investment In Seed Technology
Chip Graham, technical development specialist for Bayer CropScience, has 25 years of experience working with seed treatments. He has seen a major improvement in how various seedling diseases have been treated. In previous years, farmers overplanted each acre and hoped for the best.
That approach could never work today, according to Graham.
“With a bag of seed costing so much more today, you have to protect that seed,” he says. “And it starts with preventing seedling disease. It’s critical that we keep making these investments and bring them to the producer.”
Bayer CropScience contributed information for this article. For more information, go to www.bayercropscience.us.