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Take Proactive Approach In 2013 print email

Brandon Phillips
Phillips Ag Services, LLC
Douglas, Ga.

In looking back at last year’s exceptional yields, 2012 is going to be tough to beat. Our overall average was probably 1,250 to 1,500 pounds per acre. It was just a good year. Everything hit. However, I am still telling my producers that we will stay proactive by paying attention to varietal selection, applying the right amount of fertilizer to match our yield goals, continuing to overlap residual herbicides and being aware of the leaf spot issue throughout the season.

We’ve got a good idea of what varieties we intend to plant based on last year’s yields. For the past few years, we’ve been trying to figure out which direction to go with our varieties after DP 555 was no longer available. I believe we have reached the point now where we are finding varieties that are acceptable and that yield well in our area.

Potash – A Key Fertilizer

One of the main things that cotton farmers need to think about right now is potash. We can’t continue to use the old potash recommendations for 1,000-pounds-per-acre yields if our goal is to produce three- to fourbale cotton. We need to be realistic about that. The varieties that we have now are fully capable of making three-plus bales of cotton; therefore, we should fertilize for that instead of cutting them short. Don’t skimp on fertility, period.

Also in cotton, we have been having issues with leaf spot (stemphylium solani), which usually is associated with potash deficiency. If you have a sufficient amount of potash in the soil, that will eliminate some of our leaf spot issues.

Target spot is another type of leaf spot that we are beginning to see more of in east Georgia. It’s already a problem in west Georgia, and it’s not associated with potash deficiency. Target spot is real temperamental. This disease likes warm, humid conditions. If we experience a rainy season in July and August, then, more than likely, we are going to have target spot. It typically starts at the bottom of the cotton plant, then moves up the stalk.

The best solution is to spray fungicides from the first to the third bloom stages in cotton. We had several fields that we had to spray last year. Farmers need to be looking out for this disease.

Overlap Residual Herbicides

In this area, we’re also taking proactive steps to control pigweed by overlapping residual herbicides from burndown all the way through running the layby rig or the hooded sprayer. All of my farmers are doing an excellent job when it comes to their weed control programs.

As we get into this year’s growing season, we need to pray every day. Everybody needs some help from Mother Nature and the good Lord to help everything fall into place. Hopefully, this will happen for us in 2013.

Click here to ask Brandon Phillips a question or submit a comment about this month’s Cotton Consultant’s Corner.

• B.S. in Ag Pest Management – Mississippi State
University, 1999.

• Offers full consulting services for cotton, corn, peanuts and wheat.

• Offers full service GPS soil sampling.

• Part owner of Southeastern Ag Lab, which is located
in Barney, Ga.

• Member of the Georgia Agricultural Professional
Consultants Association. Serves on the Scholarship
Committee and the Fund-raising Committee.

• Married to wife, Lea. Daughter, Raylea (4) and
son, Clay (2).

• Enjoys hunting, fishing, spending time with family and eating.

Recap: Take Proactive Approach In 2013

1. We’ve got a good idea of what varieties we intend to plant based on last year’s yields, which were exceptional.

2. We can’t continue to use the old potash recommendations for 1,000-pounds-per-acre yields if our goal is to produce three to four-bale cotton.

3. A sufficient amount of potash in the soil will eliminate some of our leaf spot (stemphylium solani) issues because this disease is usually associated with potash deficiency.

4. Target spot is not associated with potash deficiency, but we are beginning to see more of it in east Georgia. This disease likes warm, humid conditions, such as a rainy season during
July and August.

5. The best solution for target spot is to spray fungicides from the first to the third bloom stages in cotton.

6. Control pigweed by overlapping residual herbicides from burndown all the way through running the layby rig or the hooded sprayer.

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