Every cotton farmer is influenced by today’s highly volatile input costs and cotton prices. Even as the International Cotton Advisory Committee projects an increase in U.S. planted area for this season and marginally higher prices, producers remain conservative.
But in today’s tough economic climate, producers should think twice before they cut early season cotton inputs because what is cut early will have a direct effect on quality and yield at harvest.
Jim Covington of Floydada, Texas, is a prime example of someone who is reinstating the use of core early season inputs. He has both dryland and irrigated acres planted to FiberMax cotton.
“I used Temik for years and was always extremely happy with it, but it got to the point where I thought I needed to cut some expenses, and that was one of the things I thought I would try to cut out,” Covington says. “So I didn’t use it for five years.”
During that period he had his seed treated with Orthene, which gave him only minimal thrips protection and no protection against nematodes.
“I have been extremely pleased since I went back to using Temik,” Covington says. “It is just a superior product to anything else on the market. We have so much invested in the crop, I just don’t think Temik is something I can justify cutting anymore. Now I shoot for three to four bales to the acre, which maximizes my yield and my production.”
Seeking A Better Option
Rann Williams, of Altus, Okla., returned to Temik in 2009 after using insecticide seed treatments. He used the four pound rate per acre and was well pleased with the results.
“We did not put the sprayer in the field one time for early season thrips, which is unusual for us,” he says.
Going back to an in-furrow treatment impressed him because the cotton came out of the ground growing better.
“We were already off to a late start because of the wet conditions,” he says. “We didn’t get into the field until May 15, and that really put us behind.”
But for Williams, his 2009 planting decisions were justified at harvest.
“The seed treatments are easy to use, but we made a lot better cotton using Temik,” Williams says. “The cotton was more vigorous, and it came out of the ground growing better. We also had record yields in 2009. For the first time, we had some of our FiberMax cotton in the One Ton Club with FM 1740B2F.”
Insects can and do cause significant yield loss throughout the season and an at-plant systemic insecticide can provide protection against these early season pests.
Rhea & Kaiser, which represents Bayer CropScience, provided information for this article.
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