Cotton forum addresses soil, insects, weeds

J Cheston Stevens, Leonard, Billy R., Wolcott, Maurice C., Van Osdell, Mary Ann  |  1/28/2008 11:21:44 PM

News Release Distributed 01/25/08

Testing soil and properly managing weeds and insects can help cotton farmers grow a successful 2008 crop, experts told approximately 60 cotton producers and other industry representatives at the Louisiana Cotton Forum held Jan. 23 at the Delhi Civic Center.

The forum featured LSU AgCenter experts who gave presentations that included cotton seed treatments, crop nutrient removal, precision application for nematodes and reducing the incidence of weed resistance.

The most important issue in the field is phosphorous, said LSU AgCenter soil specialist J Stevens.

“Finding that optimum pH is going to help you tremendously,” he said.

“Plants don’t talk in a normal tone,” Stevens said. “We need to ‘listen’ with our eyes.” He said visual observations as well as soil and plant tissue tests are important.

The less time the crop is in the field, the less time will be spent on fighting insects and pests, said Dr. Roger Leonard, an LSU AgCenter entomologist. Everything has to be put out at the right time and at the right rate.

Spider mites are showing up earlier this year, Leonard said. “We believe it is related to vegetation in those fields.”

“The damage nematodes do is nowhere proportional to their size,” said Maurice Wolcott, an LSU AgCenter research associate.

Wolcott said he came to talk about something farmers can’t see, showing slides that said “armed robbery” and “embezzlement.”

With armed robbery, farmers know damage has happened, he said. “You see it and take action.”

“Embezzlement,” he said, is a little more complicated – “when losses go on a little bit at a time year after year before you have a problem you need to address.”

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Contacts: J Stevens at (318) 308-0754 or jstevens@agcenter.lsu.edu

Roger Leonard at (318) 435-2157 or rleonard@agcenter.lsu.edu

Maurice Wolcott at (225) 578-7215 or mwolcott@agcenter.lsu.edu

Writer: Mary Ann Van Osdell, (318) 741-7430, ext. 1104, mvanosdell@agcenter.lsu.edu

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