Roundup resistant weeds in cotton have become a major problem, so starting clean is key to finishing clean at harvest. Under conventional till, we need to consider using the old “yellow” herbicides, like trifluralin – preplant incorporated – to help with our weed control. Under no-till & strip-till systems, there are other options for burndown and residual. But some of the residual options may carry a 30 to 45 day planting restriction. You will need to consult with your local agronomist to choose the products that work best for your operation.
At planting, using a pre-emerge herbicide will also help your weed control, ie. Cotoran, Caparol, Direx. Selecting the proper pre-emerge will depend on your particular weed pressure. If you have triazine resistant weeds, make sure you add a non-triazine mode of action to the tank.
A layby herbicide will help insure control of late season weeds. There are over-the-top and post directed herbicides that will give you this additional weed control. Typically, these need to be applied before weeds emerge, unless you use them in combination with a burn down chemical. The post directed herbicide should be applied with a hooded sprayer to limit the damage to lower leaves on the cotton plants. If you are pulling an old hooded sprayer out of storage, make sure all nozzles and hoses are in good condition. An off target application with these herbicides could kill the cotton.
Staying on top of your weed pressure and treating in a timely manner should help keep your cotton fields cleaner for a more efficient harvest.
Written by: Kyle Aljoe; Dimmitt, TX
Featured Image by: Kimberly Vardeman, Cotton, Harvest, Flickr.com