Cotton technology to be featured at Sunbelt Expo

The farm at the Sunbelt Expo has long been a leader in introducing new cotton-farming technology, starting with irrigation scheduling in the 1970s and 1980s and transgenic varieties in the 1990s.

This year at the Expo — scheduled for Oct. 17-19 in Moultrie, Ga., — cotton growers will get a chance to look at some new varieties from D&PL, Bayer, Dow Agro-Science and DynaGro.

Darrell Williams, Sunbelt Ag Expo Farm manager, notes that the number of cotton tests has been reduced over previous years, probably a reflection of the general cutbacks seen across the board by seed companies, he adds. Growers will still see some traditional Roundup Ready cotton and a continuation of some of the Roundup Ready Flex cotton that has been showcased previously.

The University of Georgia Cotton Team continues to utilize the fields of the Sunbelt Ag Expo to find solutions to problems that are robbing growers of yields and, ultimately, profits. This year, the team has been conducting trials across a broad range of disciplines.

Specific studies on soil fertility have involved nitrogen efficiency trials, including foliar applications of nitrogen products and urea inhibitors, as well as the effects of foliar manganese applications on fiber quality.

“We think certain nutrients might affect lint quality,” says Glen Harris, Extension agronomist. “For example, we’re looking at how potassium might affect strength and how nitrogen might affect micronaire. We’re comparing these different nutrients to see if we can affect lint quality.”

Ongoing soil fertility work includes evaluations of nutrient-based plant growth regulators. Harvested samples will be processed at the University of Georgia Cotton Micro Gin in Tifton.

Cotton weed management experiments at the Sunbelt Ag Expo this year have focused on management programs in Roundup Ready Flex cotton. Other studies are looking at control systems for tropical spiderwort, a troublesome weed which is spreading rapidly throughout the south Georgia cotton-producing region.

Entomology work at Sunbelt includes a continued examination of currently recommended thresholds for stinkbugs and the relative effects on yield and fiber quality. Agronomic experiments conducted this year by the University of Georgia Cotton Team include evaluations of various mepiquat chloride regimes, including a new mepiquat-based plant growth regulator.

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