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Stacked cottons only way to grow for Plains farmer

Plains, Texas, cotton grower Rickey Bearden hopes the upcoming 2012 growing season will be far kinder than the drought-stricken and super-hot 2011 crop year.

But whatever 2012 brings, Bearden will stay with all stacked-gene cotton varieties and use more than one mode of herbicide action to control weeds.

Bearden was having some morningglory weed problems on a couple of farms. So in 2011, he tried GlyTol and LibertyLink traits with his FiberMax cotton variety FM 2989GLB2. The GlyTol trait allowed him to use any glyphosate herbicide to get broadleaf weeds. The LibertyLink trait let Bearden go after the pesky morningglory with Ignite herbicide, which did a great job taking them out. (Ignite now has the new name “Liberty” as of this year.)

Key Points

Stacked-gene cottons work for Plains, Texas, cotton grower.

Different modes of herbicide action advised to stop weeds.

New and improved cotton varieties are available for 2012.


With 2011 such a challenging year, Bearden was one of the first growers to try the FM 2989GLB2 stacked-gene cotton with Glytol and LibertyLink traits for weeds and Bollgard II for worm control.

Bearden says he strongly believes in stacked-gene cotton, and whatever the variety, stacked-gene cotton is all he grows now. “It’s worth it to have that Bt,” Bearden says of the worm preparedness.

Made it through 2011

Bearden planted the cotton June 6, and despite the harsh 2011 growing season, achieved both good yield and fiber quality.

“Considering the drought, I was really impressed,” he says, “especially with very limited irrigation.”

Beyond postemergent herbicides, Bearden also is a strong believer in preplant incorporated, or PPI, yellow herbicides to help control weeds and extend the efficacy of other herbicides.

Other new cotton

Jeff Brehmer, U.S. marketing manager, FiberMax and Stoneville cotton, Lubbock, Texas, says as recent as 2010, the FM 9058 Flex variety was the country’s No. 1 planted cotton.

The variety set the standard, but Bayer CropScience now has even better cotton, like FiberMax 2011GT, Brehmer notes.

“FiberMax 2011GT is probably 100 pounds per acre more [lint] than the 9058 Flex standard,” Brehmer says.

Sadly, with more than 4 million of the 7.5 million acres of Texas cotton abandoned in 2011 due to the worst drought in state history, many growers never got a chance to see what the new FiberMax 2011GT cotton can do.

Besides FM 2989GLB2 and the FiberMax 2011GT, other new FiberMax varieties include the oak leaf variety FM 8270GLB2 for South Texas, and FM 1944GLB2, a companion to FM 1740B2F.

Brehmer says the challenge always is to provide germplasm “equal or better than what we already had on the market” and get farmers to try the new cottons.

Go with multi-modes

Steve Nichols, U.S. agronomic manager, seed and technology, Bayer CropScience, says Bearden is taking the right approach with using more than one mode of herbicide action.

“We definitely recommend the yellow [herbicide] ppi — and not relying on LibertyLink cotton alone,” Nichols says. “We want to encourage farmers to use the yellow herbicides and residuals,” he adds.

Bearden says he appreciated Bayer’s drought assistance, especially through its seed refunds.

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BETTER TIMES: Texas cotton growers are hoping for more cooperative weather for the 2012 crop year.

This article published in the March, 2012 edition of THE FARMER-STOCKMAN.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2012.