All posts by Tyson Raper, Cotton & Small Grains Specialist

Defoliation Strip Trial Overview, insight to performance in cool conditions

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On September 18th, we applied a defoliation strip trial in Gift, TN.  The field was 85% open with juvenile and mature leaves present.  As you likely recall, this was immediately before a cold snap.  Night temperatures for the next five days were 54, 55, 55, 59 and 57. In this blog, I describe the concoctions applied, share a brief video of the results 13 days after the initial application, and highlight a few important take-homes from the video. Continue reading


Defoliating in volatile weather conditions (is this the end of October?)

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If you trust the forecast, volatile temperatures should increase over the weekend before again falling into the upper 40s by the middle of next week.  Thanks, 2020.  Unfortunately, we do not have great options after Sunday and fields in West Tennessee are wet.  This blog covers the mixes I’m running prior to Saturday afternoon, Sunday through mid-week and thoughts on whether or not that green, soft boll will mature before a freeze. Continue reading


Defoliation thoughts heading into a cold front

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Defoliation became a little more complicated this week.  While we were lucky enough to miss the mid-week rain, the next few nights are going to be quite cold (upper 40s to low 50s) and it looks like it may be next weekend before lows reach the 60s again.  Changing conditions justify a change in rate and often a change in product.  In this blog, I highlight a few thoughts on building concoctions as we move through a pretty substantial shift in temperatures. Continue reading


2020 Cotton Tour VIRTUAL Videos now online

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The 2020 Cotton Tour Videos are now available. Presentations covering variety performance, weed, pest and disease management, irrigation and other topics have been recorded and posted on the UT Crops YouTube channel.  You can access the entire Cotton Tour by following this link.  We will be highlighting individual videos in the coming weeks on this blog. Continue reading


Visual Symptoms: A Handy Tool in Identifying Nutrient Deficiency in Row Crops

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Generally, a nutrient deficiency occurs as a result of low soil nutrient levels. However, prevailing environmental conditions, soil properties, and growth conditions may restrict nutrient uptake and induce deficiencies in crops even if soil nutrient levels are deemed sufficient for optimum yield. For example, low or high soil pH, soil compaction, and excessively wet or dry soil may prevent nutrient uptake. A handy diagnostic tool to identify nutrient deficiency in crops is via visual symptoms. In some instances, this tool may not provide a definite diagnosis of the nutrient status of the plant. Keep in mind that there are other conditions that are cable of inducing symptoms that closely resemble those of nutrient deficiencies. Visual symptoms should be corroborated with tissue and/or soil testing. Adequate knowledge of visual symptoms and tissue testing may help guide corrective actions in-season or preventive action in the following season to avoid yield loss.

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Cotton growth stages and water requirements

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While May brought a great deal of rain, June and July have been dry for much of West Tennessee.  We are already beginning to see the impacts on cotton growth and development.  While we still have very good cotton yield potential, we need a good soaking rain in the coming weeks.  This blog highlights impacts of drought on cotton during the growth stage, provides general information on scheduling irrigation and highlights a few scheduling methods.

Ideally, the soil profile needs to provide sufficient plant available water throughout the blooming period. As we begin to move towards the permanent wilting point during the blooming window, fruit retention may begin to decline and maturity may be delayed.  If a rainfall or irrigation event does not ameliorate the stress, yield penalties may develop.  Cotton plants are particularly susceptible to drought during the early boll development stages which immediately follow flowering (Table 1). Keeping soil profile at or near field capacity at early bloom through peak bloom will support earliness and maximize yields.

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Linking visual cotton auxin injury to yield penalties

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Information regarding cotton management following an off-target auxin event has been requested by several producers in our area. This blog briefly covers factors which can impact the yield penalties associated with auxin injury and best management practices after the injury occurs. Continue reading