Five Strategies for Blocking Cotton Seedling Diseases
There’s no doubt about it; cotton seedling diseases damage stands and threaten yield. According to the National Cotton Council of America, seedling diseases caused an average yield loss of two percent in 2017. Seedling diseases also can also cause significant revenue losses.
These economically threatening seedling diseases include Pythium, Rhizoctonia, and Fusarium spp. Seedling diseases can infect cotton plants, therefore inhibiting growth or causing death and negatively affecting your bottom line. Fortunately, there are five strategies that can help you protect your crop from yield-robbing seedling diseases.
Strategies for blocking cotton seedling diseases
To prevent stand damage and yield losses, consider incorporating the following five strategies to block cotton seedling diseases:
1. Variety selection
Choosing high-quality seed varieties is one strategy to minimize the risk of cotton seedling diseases in your fields. Selecting varieties that promote rapid seed germination and have higher plant vigor can reduce the timeframe for seedling diseases to infect your crop.
2. Seed treatments
“Using a good seed treatment is the primary defense against seedling diseases,” said Keith Rucker, senior technical services representative with Bayer. For disease protection, it is important that the seed is treated with a fungicide. Planting seed that has been treated with an insecticide, such as Aeris® seed treatment, also helps protect your cotton stand.
3. In-furrow fungicides
In-furrow fungicides, such as Velum® Total, can provide preventive protection from cotton seedling diseases in your fields. This is especially important in low- or no-till fields, where seedling disease pressure is often higher than in conventional production.
It can be beneficial to scout your fields early in the growing season. Keep a look out for early signs of cotton seedling disease. If you do observe disease symptoms, take note and map the affected areas in your fields. This can help you identify areas that may benefit from a fungicide application.
5. Crop rotation
Finally, crop rotation helps prevent buildup of the pathogens that cause cotton seedling diseases. Because some pathogens can live in the soil for multiple years, North Carolina State Extension recommends using a rotation of three to four crops.
Bayer solutions for cotton seedling diseases
Finding the right products can help you prevent cotton seedling diseases and protect your yields. Bayer offers effective treatments to manage cotton seedling diseases, including, but not limited to, Trilex® Advanced and Velum Total.
Trilex Advanced has three active ingredients that provide broad-spectrum protection against stand-reducing diseases and seed-borne fungi. The ingredients concentrate in the lowest part of the plant to prevent disease and maximize yield potential.
“Trilex Advanced is a great choice for additional protection against Pythium, Rhizoctonia and Thielaviopsis,” said Chip Graham, SeedGrowth technical services representative with Bayer. This product also provides protection against Fusarium spp.
Graham strongly recommends using Trilex Advanced in fields that are no-till or have a history of disease. Trilex Advanced seed treatment also offers flexibility to growers who want to plant early or in lower soil temperatures because it offers a broader spectrum of disease control on top of the base fungicide in the seed treatment.
For added disease protection, Rucker recommends that growers use Velum Total in addition to Trilex Advanced to suppress disease caused by Fusarium species. “There are some advantages to using Velum Total in addition to seed treatments,” he said. “It primarily works to control nematodes, but it also has fungicide activity that provides some added seedling disease control.”
Velum Total has two active ingredients that work to control nematodes and suppress early season insects. It is applied in-furrow to manage economically damaging pests, such as nematodes and thrips, while promoting root health and early-season growth. It also suppresses some cotton seedling diseases, such as Fusarium wilt. This broad-spectrum pest control can reduce the need for additional foliar sprays later in the season, which saves growers both time and money.
Trilex Advanced and Velum Total can help growers protect their cotton from yield-robbing seedling diseases. Ultimately, growers who protect their seed from insects and diseases reap the benefits of healthy cotton plants and reduce yield losses.
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