Home Farm Equipment Timing defoliation and aggression on late cotton

Timing defoliation and aggression on late cotton


The cotton crop within the Deep South is later than regular. Climate did not cooperate. However there’s time to string the needle on well timed aggressive harvest aids to seize extra high quality yield from some fields.

Attributable to climate challenges in late spring, “we probably had more replanting than I’ve ever seen in North Alabama (and Tennessee Valley),” stated Tyler Sandlin, an Alabama Cooperative Extension Service agronomist, talking on the annual College of Tennessee Cotton Discipline Day in Jackson, Tenn., Sept. 1.

“So, that has pushed us pretty late on the crop and will make some decisions on defoliation and mixes a little more challenging this year as we get into some of those cooler temperatures later,” he stated.

Most growers know the way they’re going to time defoliation, he stated, whether or not utilizing the tactic of percent-of-opening-nodes above cracked node or the ‘sharp knife’ methodology.

(For reminder, when a 1st place boll is cracked, and there are bolls 4 to 5 nodes above that one, they’re typically mature sufficient to hit with a harvest help utility.)

He stated plenty of Sept. 1 cotton regarded an excessive amount of like what Aug. 1 cotton would appear like in a extra weather-friendly rising season. Growers had been hoping for a September stuffed with extra sunshine and much less clouds, however as far as of the week of Sept. 20, that did not occur for a lot of Alabama. There might be some borderline selections to be made this yr.

“I think this year, we need to be slicing open more bolls,” he stated. “There’s a lot of green left on this crop.”

(A pointy knife reducing a cross part of a mature boll will string fiber out and present seed with well-formed cotyledons and seed coats yellow, tan or darkish brown. A sliced immature boll may have jelly-like seed and clearer seed coats.)

Unopened cotton bolls as late as the center of October can nonetheless attain harvestable maturity by November in some seasons. On this file photograph, cotton harvest aids are being utilized by helicopter.

Growers may be optimistic about what they will harvest out of higher materials bolls, he stated, however they have to be reasonable, too. He cited some work by Tyson Raper, UT Extension cotton agronomist. Later bolls usually can mature sooner than earlier bolls when sunshine and warmth cooperate. Unopened bolls as late as the center of October can nonetheless attain harvestable maturity by November in some seasons. On this state of affairs, shedding the defoliation set off may help put extra seed cotton on the gin. 

He stated growers snug with their timing on defoliation and harvest help mixes ought to keep on with what works for them and their pocketbooks, however they should not be afraid to be aggressive as they push into cooler climate this yr. He shared one Alabama grower’s defoliation ‘boo-boo’ from final yr that turned out to not be one. The grower’s top-of-the-line within the space and straightforward to work with, however issues occur.

Final yr at defoliation time, higher Alabama was unseasonably cool with nighttime temperatures hitting 50s and even mid-40s with daytime temperatures within the 60s. The grower’s applicator put out the defoliant whereas the grower was out of city. They discovered later that the appliance included 13 ounces of Cutout to the acre, 10 ounces of Folex, and about 40 ounces of Ethephon (a boll-opening materials). The grower feared he’d fried all the pieces. “This is not a rate recommendation we’d make even with those conditions,” Sandlin stated.

The grower meant to make use of 6 ounces of Cutout, 10 ounces of Folex and 40 ounces of Ethephon, a combination that was doing nicely for growers within the space given the circumstances. 

Sandlin and the grower walked the fields later. The grower had not fried all the pieces. And identical to many different growers within the space, he needed to come again within the subject to the touch up with ET or Goal to knock out regrowth and a few of the “skirt,” Sandlin stated.

“That said, don’t be afraid to be aggressive to try to get as much off and as much open as you can. And if a grower has to come back and touch up, that’s OK, and some of growers already do a planned second pass. Ultimately, they need to do what works out for them,” he stated.

The USDA September crop report forecasts Alabama cotton growers to common 924 kilos per acre on 400,000 harvested acres.

For extra particulars and suggestions, take a look at ‘Application of Cotton Defoliation Aids in Alabama.’


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