All posts by Tyson Raper, Cotton & Small Grains Specialist

Dr. Seth Byrd: Cotton Outlook after a Freeze Event

Author:  Comments Off on Dr. Seth Byrd: Cotton Outlook after a Freeze Event

Calls concerning our forecast have been steady.  In order to get some insight into how to handle closed bolls some have remaining in the upper canopy prior to a freeze, I reached out to Dr. Seth Byrd in Oklahoma.  Dr. Byrd has served in both Texas and Oklahoma and has years of experience tackling this issue when an impending freeze event is in the forecast.  His comments are below.  Special thanks to Dr. Byrd for this contribution! Continue reading


Managing Input Price Risk

Author:  Comments Off on Managing Input Price Risk

Posted by Tyson Raper on behalf of the author, Dr. Aaron Smith

It’s a challenging time for crop producers to manage input price risk. Input prices for fertilizer, crop protection (chemicals), machinery, fuel, labor, rent, and insurance are up substantially compared to last year at this time. Additionally, availability and timeliness of delivery are a major concern. Fertilizer prices highlight this dramatic increase in the cost of production (graphs above). Most common fertilizers have more than doubled compared to last year. As such, producers are seeking strategies to reduce input costs. Two recommendations, as a starting point, are soil sampling (know what you’ve got) and crop selection (know current relative cost and revenue relationships for commodities produced on your farm). Unfortunately, there is no “silver bullet” to mitigate rising input costs and availability concerns. So, producers will need to be creative in their approach and consider numerous strategies. Continue reading


Harvest aid concoctions moving into the first full week of Oct

Author:  Comments Off on Harvest aid concoctions moving into the first full week of Oct

Rainfall pushed us out of the field today and it looks like we may not get back to spraying until early next week; it is generally best to not apply harvest aids in front of a guaranteed rain.  In this blog, I cover defoliation concoctions as we move into cooler temperatures next week. Continue reading


Cotton Specialists’ Corner: Conversations on Harvest Aids

Author:  Comments Off on Cotton Specialists’ Corner: Conversations on Harvest Aids

The Extension Cotton Specialist Working Group, under the leadership of Dr. Seth Byrd, began a podcast earlier this year discussing management decisions and topics important to the industry.  In the past two weeks, two episodes have been released which cover harvest aids; the first includes comments from Steve Brown (AL), Camp Hand (GA), and Bill Robertson (TX) discussing methods for scheduling harvest aid applications and application strategies to optimize harvest aid performance; the second includes Guy Collins (NC), Matt Foster (LA), and Tyler Sandlin (North AL) discussing various harvest aid products, tanks mixes, and how to address late season crop issues through harvest aid product and rate selection.  These podcasts contain excellent content which will be extremely timely as we move into the next few weeks.  Continue reading


Defoliation trial results, thoughts, and concoctions for the next few days

Author:  Comments Off on Defoliation trial results, thoughts, and concoctions for the next few days

I dug through my closet to get a jacket this morning.  With cooler temps creeping into the forecast, calls on defoliation timing, products and rates have really picked up.  In this blog, I highlight results from the earliest defoliation strip trial we’ve applied in 2021, share a few concoctions that I’ll be running on the earliest cotton here in Jackson next week,  circle back on boll maturity and give a couple of additional thoughts on what we will likely face in the coming weeks.

Continue reading


Survey on boll maturity: Will ethephon open it?

Author:  Comments Off on Survey on boll maturity: Will ethephon open it?

We can learn a great deal by comparing notes.  Slicing bolls is one of the best ways to time defoliation- and most agree on what represents a ‘mature’ boll (dark seed coat color, no jelly in seed, hard to slice with a sharp knife).  But when it comes down to it, there is a large amount of variation in what each of us, as agronomists, consider to be a boll that could potentially be opened by ethephon.  With cool temperatures in the forecast on what remains a late crop, many are trying to figure out which bolls might be opened with an application and when to start.  To get the conversation started, I texted the above picture to a few dozen individuals within the industry to get their thoughts on this question- what is the lowest number boll you believe you can open with ethephon? Continue reading


2021 Mid-South Cotton Defoliation Guide now available

Author:  Comments Off on 2021 Mid-South Cotton Defoliation Guide now available

The 2021 Mid-South Cotton Defoliation Guide is now available online.  You can access the guide by clicking the above image or any of the embedded links within this post. This guide was compiled and is updated yearly by Extension Cotton and Weed Science Specialists from throughout the Mid-South.


Couple of thoughts on cotton and a field day in Fayette County Sept 13th

Author:  Comments Off on Couple of thoughts on cotton and a field day in Fayette County Sept 13th

In the past month, I’ve had the opportunity to walk several excellent fields that will likely be defoliated in September and many of our later planted acres have narrowed the maturity gap despite the weather continuing to fall below our 30 year average for heat unit accumulation.  On farm visits throughout this summer, I often found myself repeating the old verbiage about ‘cotton knowing how long it has left in the season’- half to provide a positive outlook on the crop, and half to convince myself that some of this top crop had a chance.   We still have a ways to go, but in the last few weeks, that saying about cotton knowing where it is in the season again appears to be true. In this blog, I share a few last-minute management thoughts, make a few comments about defoliating some of our earliest cotton, and highlight a field day coming up next Monday, Sept. 13th in Fayette County.

Continue reading