Five Steps from Cracking to Packing Lint

Early Season Cotton

A cotton grower can count on one hand the steps he needs to take in the First 40 Days to set the stage for a successful harvest. But what happens from cracking to packing lint requires all hands on deck.

“That First 40 Days is critical to a successful cotton season,” Bayer Senior Technical Representative Russ Perkins said. “What we do starting out makes a difference in how difficult – how expensive – a crop is to manage and it ultimately impacts yield potential. The First 40 Days really determines how successful that season is going to be.”

The five steps to a successful start are:

  1. Choose the right variety for the field
  2. Prepare a good seedbed and plant as the appropriate seeding rate for a solid stand
  3. Manage nematodes and protect against seedling disease
  4. Control early-season insects
  5. Maintain a weed-free field

Perkins works with growers on crop management plans for those First 40 Days.  Managing disease and nematodes is essential to those plans.

For nematode management at-plant, Perkins recommends Velum® Total. Velum Total suppresses all economically damaging nematode species, which helps the plants grow larger root masses and increases plant capacity for water and nutrient uptake. The nematicide/insecticide treatment also helps protect the plant from disease, such as Fusarium wilt, and early-season insects, including thrips and aphids.

“Velum Total has worked extremely well for our growers. We’ve had good success both in furrow and in the drip,” Perkins said. “I’ve got a number of growers who have said they won’t grow another cotton crop without it.”

At-planting growers also can look to seed treatments, such as Aeris® and Trilex® Advanced, to protect the seedling and emerging roots. Securing a healthy root system now is essential for a successful season.

“We sometimes overlook that a healthy root system also helps a plant take up that insecticide that’s going to help protect the plant from thrips,” SeedGrowth Technical Representative Chip Graham notes. “The insecticide is taken up in a more meaningful way when you have a healthy root system.”

For Southwest growers, Graham noted an important advantage of Aeris® seed treatment: “Aeris outperforms other seed treatments on Western flower thrips.”

Trilex Advanced increases disease protection. “Trilex Advanced gives you protection from Rhizoctonia, Pythium and Fusarium spp,” Graham said. “It also suppresses black root rot, or Thielaviopsis basicola.”

Shortly after planting, the crop needs an additional layer of protection from weeds. Early-season weed competition dramatically decreases the crop’s yield potential; manage weeds before you see them.

Perkins said: “A clean field at planting and continuing into the season really gets us a long way down the road to high yield. I’ve heard it said that the best pigweed control is one that never comes up. We certainly don’t want any weeds out there coming up when we’re putting seed in the ground.”

For tips on navigating the First 40 Days, growers can call on their Bayer representative.

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