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Hurricane destroys variety trials, valuable information for growers

Hurricane Hanna demolishes Lower Rio Grande Valley cotton crop along with variety field trials.

In the last six weeks, U.S. crops have taken a hit from hurricanes Laura and Hanna and storms like the Midwest derecho. Producers have suffered heavy crop and structure loss. But they've also lost valuable information generated from Extension field trials.   

Hear what Agronomist Josh McGinty, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Corpus Christi, has to say about the effect Hanna had on the Lower Rio Grande Valley cotton crop and the agency's field variety trials.

McGinty, who conducts field trials with IPM Agent Danielle Sekula, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Weslaco, says they lost four of their five cotton variety trials in the Lower Rio Grande Valley after Hanna.

"A variety that works well on one farm, one trial, can tell you a little bit, but it doesn’t tell you as much as having a whole region’s worth of data, which is what we try to deliver down there every year,” McGinty says.

According to early estimates, Hurricane Hanna caused more than $366 million in lost agricultural production and associated business activity across a 32-county area, said Samuel Zapata, AgriLife Extension economist, Weslaco.

Since the storm, LRGV cotton producers have focused on destroying their cotton stalks with either tillage or chemicals. As McGinty and Sekula move forward, he says they’ll continue to conduct trials to identify the best herbicide or tank mix partner for effective stalk termination.

"Hopefully, we'll find a silver bullet, something that's easier to use and more effective. But we're going to keep working on it and find something better as we move forward," McGinty says.

To hear more from McGinty about effective stalk destruction, click here.  

To learn more about Hurricane Hanna and its impact on Texas agriculture, click on the following links:

To learn more about Hurricane Laura, click on the following links:

To learn more about derecho wind storm, click on the following links:

TAGS: Disaster
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