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Compensating For Late Planting


This year, farmers across the Cotton Belt have been tormented and frustrated by the weather, which pushed many of them into late-planting scenarios.

In May, we asked our readers if they were caught in this situation, what strategy would most help them compensate for late planting. More than one-third (39 percent) say “all of the above” practices would be helpful, while 33 percent opt for planting early or mid-maturing varieties.

A respectable 17 percent will push the cotton plant via plant growth regulators, eight percent say scouting for insects moving into young cotton would be most helpful, and three percent will avoid conventional varieties because of late-season grasses.

No matter how you vote, we appreciate everyone’s participation in Cotton Farming’s monthly Web Poll. Following is a sampling of the comments we received from people who voted in the May Web Poll.

• “All of the above are important, but the only one we can tailor to conditions is a PGR.”

• “I guess I’ll spray worms that [aren’t] held back at that time of year. Keep the plane on call for when I get the scouting report. Or, we’ll be burnt up, and I’ll just let ’em eat. Plant late...ha! Not with $10 beans.”

• “We’ll have bugs we’ve never even heard of in our cotton this ‘fall.’”

• “Cotton here in southeast Alabama is about three weeks behind schedule. We normally have a dry period in June or July. If we do this year, we may pick cotton on New Year’s again!”

• “I’ll be lucky to have a square on my cotton by the fourth of July, much less a bloom.”

• “All of these choices will help a little, but the fact is that without Boll Weevil Eradication, there would be no chance of making a crop.”

• “I anxiously await my consultant’s scouting report.”

In our July Web Poll, we are switching gears from a production-related question to a regulatory one.

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program has long been used by EPA under the Clean Water Act (CWA) to regulate point source discharges of water contaminants. Congress exempted ag storm water runoff from nonpoint sources from the CWA’s permitting program, and EPA’s 2007 rule similarly exempted properly made pesticide applications.

In January 2009, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned EPA’s policy and ruled that pesticide applications made to, over or near water bodies will require NPDES permits. CropLife America (CLA), along with other entities, has requested that the panel’s decision be reviewed by the full U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The “general permits” referenced by the panel’s January decision could take months or perhaps years to develop. They are especially vulnerable to possible litigation for which farmers and applicators, not product registrants, could be held responsible.

“Over three decades and through two CWA amendments by Congress, EPA has never issued an NPDES permit for pesticide application,” says Jay Vroom, CLA president and CEO. “We’re confident that Congress never anticipated its ban on the ‘discharge of a pollutant’ without an NPDES permit would apply to pest control activities.”

Our question is, “Do you think a review of the case by the full court would overturn the panel’s ruling?”

Cast your vote, then explain your choice in the “Comments” section. To participate, go online at www.cottonfarming.com. The results of the July poll will be reported in the Cotton Farming September issue.

Web Poll Results

In May, we asked: If you planted late because of weather factors, what most helps you compensate for this situation and why?

• Scout fields vigilantly for insects moving into young cotton — 8 %

• Plant early/mid-maturing varieties — 33 %

• “Push” the cotton plant by using PGRs earlier at higher rates — 17 %

• Avoid conventional varieties because of late-season grasses — 3 %

• All of the above

July Web Poll Question

It’s been ruled that a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit be obtained before applying a pesticide where there could be potential product discharge into a waterway. Do you think a review of the case would overturn the panel’s ruling? Why or why not?

(1) Yes

(2) No

Register your vote at www.cottonfarming.com.

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