By Jim Steadman
Nearly 200 West Texas cotton growers spent a sunny, but chilly, January day in Lubbock to hear and discuss the latest weed and water management techniques for their upcoming cotton crop.
The Weed Resistance and Water Management Summit, sponsored by Deltapine, was designed to bring growers up to date on the status of weed resistance in Texas, management recommendations, the best ways to maximize cotton yields with limited water resources, and review new technologies and cotton varieties that will soon be available to the market.
Speakers included university experts, company specialists, independent researchers and growers from Texas and other areas of the Cotton Belt. Their message was simple and clear – start now!
“In 2011, eight of 12 sample sites around Lubbock showed Palmer amaranth resistance to glyphosate,” said Dr. Wayne Keeling of Texas A&M University. “2012 was an entirely different story. It’s time to get serious about this.”
John Everitt of Monsanto agreed, pointing out that the mental aspect of recognizing a resistance problem may take five years from initial recognition to program implementation. “In Texas, we’re moving into year two of the problem,” he said. “We need to jump from year two to year five. The key is to start clean to stay clean.”
Bob Glodt of Agri-Search, Inc. in Plainview, TX, shared his input gleaned from six years of water use studies. His research made him change the way he thinks about water management on high yielding cotton varieties. “It isn’t about the amount of water you have,” he explained. “It’s about when the water goes on. Growers need to start managing water at critical events in the production cycle of the cotton plant.”
Attendees also had the opportunity to learn more about the new Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System that will provide tolerance to glyphosate, dicamba and glufosinate, as well as a preview of new Deltapine varieties coming with root knot nematode resistance. Both technologies are anticipated in fields over the next two years.
Dave Albers, U.S. cotton germplasm manager for Monsanto’s Deltapine cottonseed, clearly stated the company’s commitment to Texas growers and the special challenges they face. “Higher crop yields will come at the intersection of biotechnology, agronomic solutions and plant breeding,” he said.