It's that time of year again, time to make planting decisions to get ready for the next couple of months ahead. Producers are weighing many factors this year, including fluctuating markets, limited moisture, and an unwelcome weed that is stronger than ever. Kenny Melton with Bayer CropScience helped shed some light on 2013 planting.
"A lot of guys are struggling to decide which direction they're going to go on their cotton acres, and a lot of the cotton prices have come up and so there is a lot more interest in that," Melton said. "We would love for us to get some rain to help us out, and so it may get difficult on making some of those decisions."
One thing that doesn't need much rain, though, are pig weeds. The weed is competing with our crops and has grown into a bigger threat with herbicide resistance in the palmer amaranth being more prevalent than ever.
"One of the things that's going on this year as growers get ready to make their decisions for varieties is that last year there was a lot of weed resistance, pig weed resistance in particular that was seen in the southern High Plains," Melton said. "Because of that, growers are being encouraged to make some pre-plant herbicide applications or some pre-emergent herbicide applications."
And as aggressive as pig weeds have become, it's important for producers to be equally as aggressive in their prevention and treatment. Melton said that the best strategy is to fight pig weeds at full force, especially when they're small to keep them under control.
"Bayer offers varieties that have the stacked technology of Glytol as well as Liberty Link," Melton said. "Glytol Liberty Link enables a grower to make applications of glyphosate over the top of cotton throughout the growing season, but it also enables them to make applications of Liberty herbicide, which people may have known in the past as Ignite herbicide, but they can make applications of that throughout the season as well."
Melton told us of a few varieties that work well in the southern High Plains and Rolling Plains regions.
"We have FiberMax 2989 GLB-2, we have FiberMax 1944 GLB-2 also. Those are two that we're really high on," Melton said. "And then there's a FiberMax 9250 GL, it doesn't have the Boll guard gene in it, but it does have both the Glytol and the Liberty Link genes in it."
Besides picking the ideal cotton seed variety for your region and moisture situation, Melton offered a few helpful tips before planting.
"Every year it's always a challenge for us because of our soil temperatures and the moisture situations, and just one thing that I would encourage growers to do is not to get into too big of a hurry or push the envelope too much," Melton said. "Everybody gets impatient wanting to get the crop in, and they want to take advantage of what they've got out there, but a lot of times it's better if we can wait for that soil to warm up, get the seed down in to moisture whenever we've got good temperatures so that we can get a good, strong start to the growing season."
Perfect soil temperatures in West Texas for cotton planting are higher than 64 degrees Fahrenheit according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.