South Texas Harvest Winds Down

South Texas consultants and agronomists said the 2014 crop is the best in several years, thanks to the rain, but growers still faced challenges throughout the season. This year emphasized the importance of seed selection and a good weed management program to provide crops a solid start for a strong finish.  

South Texas Harvest Winds Down

It All Starts With the Seed

Unpredictable South Texas weather makes it difficult to prepare for a new year. This season was no exception with cold early season temperatures that brought plenty of disease pressure. Baseline seed treatment protection left a gap due to this prolonged cold, but premium treatments, such as Aeris® and Trilex® Advanced, helped establish stands allowing plants to move into the next growth stages.

According to local consultant Justin Chopelas, “it all starts with the right seed.” In this year of ups and downs, he saw FiberMax® cotton seed hold its own in growers’ fields and in CAP trials. Chopelas is excited about the Bayer experimental program and testing varieties like BX 1539GLT*.

Challenging weather conditions this year proved good testing ground for South Texas CAP trials.Here are a few CAP trial varieties that have growers in South Texas excited for next year:

  • BX 1436GLT is a medium maturity variety out of the Corpus Christi breeding program, so it’s a great fit for the area. The variety tolerated and thrived through drought and heavy rain conditions this year. 
  • FM 1830GLT (early-medium maturity) and FM 2334GLT (medium maturity) are current commercial varieties that are performing well in the area. Both produce a shorter, more compact plant requiring less growth regulator for easy management.

*GLT denotes a GlyTol®, LibertyLink®, TwinLink® stack. TwinLink contains two Bayer proprietary Bt genes that provide effective management of major lepidopteran pests such as tobacco budworm and cotton bollworm. GLT gives growers the flexibility to choose the herbicide applications that best fit their cotton-growing conditions and farm management practices.

According to Bayer agronomist Heath Reeves, growers must be proactive in their weed control and incorporate a full-season overlapping residual herbicide plan.Weed Resistance

Weed resistance has been the hot topic for years, and it’s becoming a bigger problem for growers in South Texas. Glyphosate-resistant weeds, such as waterhemp and Palmer amaranth, have started making their way into cotton fields at alarming rates over the past few years. According to Texas A&M AgriLife Research Extension, glyphosate resistant Palmer amaranth can be found on a significant portion of Texas cotton farms and is expected to infest the majority of farms in the near future if integrated weed management strategies are not followed.

Consultants like Chopelas are turning to GlyTol LibertyLink technology to manage weeds and fight weed resistance. GlyTol LibertyLink is available in select FiberMax varieties and gives growers the ability to make over-the-top applications of either Liberty® herbicide or glyphosate with full commercial tolerance to both. This innovation provides even greater flexibility in the management of glyphosate-resistant weeds. The stack also protects against drift damage from nearby fields.

Chopelas said Liberty herbicide is a great choice for weed management, but growers must follow application guidelines. “I’ve seen good results on resistant weeds with Liberty in general. I think our environment allows for acceptable control with Liberty herbicide but also think the producer has to completely adopt the technology and use appropriate water volumes at application to get the best possible control. Coverage is crucial, but if applied correctly, Liberty is a great option to manage weeds and rotate chemistries.”

As harvest wraps up and growers reflect on the crop year, it’s important to use the knowledge gained to plan for next year. Review your notes from the year and contact your Crop Science US representative to help determine the best seed varieties and weed management plan to accomplish your goals for 2015.

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