Category Archives: Cotton

Breaking the Green Bridge

As general rule, no-till production increases the risks from pests including slugs, cutworm, threecornered alfalfa hopper and several below ground pests such as wireworm and southern corn rootworm. Tillage is not an option in most of Tennessee’s agricultural landscape. This leads entomologists to recommend spring “burndown” applications 4 weeks in advance of planting. The goal is to “break the green bridge” or eliminate alternative hosts (weeds, cover crops) well before planting the cash crop.

However, making burndown applications 4 weeks prior to planting isn’t always possible or it doesn’t align with the goals of having cover crops. One way to help mitigate potential insect issues in late burndown is to add a pyrethroid insecticide with your herbicide application or within 7 days of planting. Beware blooming and pollinator attractive cover crops (vetch, brassica species) may have foraging honey bees and pyrethroids should not be utilized until the plants are not longer attractive to pollinators (desiccated or senescing from herbicides).

Utilizing insecticide seed treatments will offer protection against pest insects that may feed on your cash crop. If you are planting green (not burning down cover crops until after planting) I highly recommend a robust insecticide seed treatment and a pyrethroid insecticide that is included with the burndown herbicide. In corn this would be Poncho 500 or 1250, in soybeans Gaucho or Cruiser treated seed and in cotton Gaucho or Aeris based treatments will offer adequate protection from most below ground and some above ground pests. Keep in mind, seed treatment residual activity is strongly influenced by environmental factors, plant growth and amount of AI on the seed.

Cutworm and cut corn plant
Cutworm and cut corn plant

Cutworms in corn and cotton are uncommon but can be a serious pest. Pyrethroid applications within a week of planting will significantly reduce the risks of cutworm issues at low cost. Insecticide seed treatments are normally not enough to control cutworms and Bt traits in corn and cotton can offer mixed results depending on the traits. Three gene corn and cotton (those that include the Vip trait) provide better cutworm control than dual gene corn and cotton (V2TP, BG2 etc).

Overall, I like to see farmers planting in grave yard dead fields of weeds or cover crops but that isn’t always the case. Providing protection for your cash crop, at a relatively low expense, may help avoid the painful and costly decision to replant.


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Assessing freeze damage to jointing wheat: what to look for and what to expect

The front which moved through this past weekend (3/18-3/20) brought low temperatures down within a few degrees of records set back in 1965.  Based on the growth stage and temperatures observed, I believe we will see damage in some of our wheat.  In this blog article, I cover basic information on the conditions that led to the injury and how best to assess the level of injury in your wheat crop following a freeze near jointing. Continue reading

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Cotton Focus is WEDNESDAY (Feb 8th); agenda now available

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Cotton Focus will be held Wednesday, Feb. 8th, at the West Tennessee Research and Education Center (605 Airways Blvd, Jackson, TN 38301).  The agenda has been finalized and we are very excited about our speaker line-up.  Points will be provided and the event will conclude with lunch from Tulum.

Additionally, the annual meeting of the Tennessee Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation (TBWEF) will be held after lunch in Room 127 of the West Tennessee Ag Research & Education Center at Jackson.  All producers are invited to attend.

Looking forward to seeing each of you there!

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Survey Request: Demonstrating Environmental Stewardship

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Dear Tennessee Producer:

We invite you to participate in a study conducted by University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture researchers along with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. The purpose of this survey is to demonstrate the progress Tennessee farmers are making towards environmental stewardship.

The survey should take about 10 minutes to complete. Your participation is voluntary. NO personal information or data will be collected.

Click the link below to begin the survey:

Please contact us if you have any other questions about the survey. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to help us!

Thank you for your time,

Dr. Chris Boyer (

Dr. Aaron Smith (

Dr. Forbes Walker (

UT Institute of Agriculture, The University of Tennessee Knoxville

John McClurkan (

Tennessee Department of Agriculture


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Top Bean-TN Soybean Yield Contest Winners

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UT Extension and the Tennessee Soybean Promotion Council collaborated with producers across the state during 2022 to host the Top Bean state soybean yield contest.

Congratulations to all of our winners!!

The purpose of the Tennessee Soybean Yield Contest it to recognize those producers who grow high-yielding soybeans, and to gather data on the production practices utilized by these outstanding producers in order to promote the use of sound cultural practices to increase soybean profitability.

If interested in entering in 2023, contact your local County Extension Agent for details.  The deadline to notify of intent to participate is September 1st.



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2023 Cotton Focus on Wednesday, Feb 8th

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The 2023 University of Tennessee Cotton Focus is coming up on February 8th from 8AM to 1PM in Jackson, TN at the West Tennessee Research and Education Center (605 Airways Blvd Jackson, TN 38301).  Lunch will be provided and CCA, Commercial Applicator and Master Row Crop Points will be available.  Tulum will be catering lunch.

We have several excellent guest speakers that will provide very valuable insight into several important decisions that we will have to make during 2023. Additionally, we have several industry updates that you will not want to miss.  We look forward to seeing you there!

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Middle TN Grain Conference-January 31

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Middle TN Grain Conference Announced for Tuesday, January 31st, 2023
Tullahoma, Tenn. — With COVID largely in the rear-view mirror, we continue to get back to business as usual. Such is also the case for the upcoming Middle TN Grain Conference scheduled for Tuesday, January 31st at the University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI), located at 411 B.H. Goethert Pkwy in Tullahoma, TN.

As many have come to expect since its start in 2005, the Middle Tennessee Grain Conference offers some of the most practical insights and real-life solutions to emerging crop production issues; utilizing research and evidence-based data from the University of Tennessee and other land-grant colleges. This conference is also home to one of the area’s largest trade shows, showcasing dozens of industry professionals who are on hand to talk what’s new, efficient, and effective.

2023 registration is $20 per person and can be paid at your local UT-TSU Extension county office or at the door the day of. Registration fees help offset the cost of program materials, equipment, signage, resource thumb drive, and conference hats (one per person).
The conference will begin at 8:30 a.m. with a welcome from a cast of statewide agricultural leaders including Matt Rearden with Nutrien Ag. Solutions, Carol Reed with TN Corn Promotion Council, and Stefan Maupin with TN Soybean Promotion Council. Following the welcome, a slate of hand-picked breakout sessions are being offered covering topics such as “Weed Management a Year in Review: Vines in Corn, Grass, & Pigweed Management”, “Update on the Latest Nitrogen Stabilizer Research”, “Prices, Costs & Profitability: Where are Markets Headed & How Can Risk be Mitigated?”, “New Advances in Technology: Utilizing Drones to Apply Pesticides & Micronutrients to Crops”, “Farm Succession Planning”, and many more.

This year’s conference is supported and made possible by several industry partners; of special note the TN Corn Promotion Council and the TN Soybean Promotion Council. Refreshments throughout the day are being sponsored by Koch Agronomic Solutions. Lunch will be provided by “The View” Dining Hall and is graciously sponsored by GreenPoint Ag.

Following the scenic meal, participants will have the opportunity to attend the private applicator recertification training. Current private applicator certifications expire on June 30, 2023. Cost of this recertification training is an additional $25 per person to be paid on-site prior to the training. At adjournment, participants will turn in completed evaluations to receive their conference hat and thumb drive loaded with pesticide manuals, budgets, and other valuable resources.

Farm Manager Credit is available. Final credits can be achieved by attending the upcoming Master Farm Manager program beginning on Tuesday, February 14th at the Community Meeting Room at the Administrative Plaza next to the Coffee Co. Extension. Master Row Crop Credit is also available. For complete details on conference topics, registration, Farm Manager credits and Master Row Crop credits, contact your local UT-TSU Extension Office.
The Middle Tennessee Grain Conference is open to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, disability or veteran status.
Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions.

Contact: Bruce Steelman, Lincoln County Extension Agent | Office: 931-433-1582 |
Find the UT Institute of Agriculture on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube:
Find the Middle TN Grain Conference on Facebook!

Created By: Matthew B. Deist | UT Extension Franklin Co

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