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Variety selection critical for variable field conditions

Terry Watson matches cotton varieties and management techniques to field conditions and irrigation capability.

As long as those varieties are Roundup Ready Flex.

“It lets me keep up with the weeds,” Watson said in late October as he took a break from harvesting what appeared to be a very good crop on his Hall County, Texas, farm. “With Flex cotton I can spray any time I want to.”

The 2007 season was a good test for Flex technology. “We had good rain on and off all summer,” he said. “The Flex system performed well, even with a lot of rain.”

He said tumbleweeds and careless weeds are his worst problems. “The key to tumbleweeds is to get them early. I always use Treflan on all my acreage. Last year I flew it on with an airplane and then plowed it in.”

He plants Stoneville 4554 BGIIRF and FiberMax 9063 BGIIRF on irrigated acreage and Amcot 3550 on dryland acreage. It’s his first year with the Amcot variety. “I wanted to plant all Roundup Ready Flex cotton and there were not many options for dryland production. This is my first year with 3550. I’ll plant it again next year if it keeps proving out at the gin. The 3550 did well on dryland. Some spots got hot but it still made good cotton.”

He doesn’t use the Bollgard technology in dryland fields. “I haven’t had any worm pressure this year,” he said.

He did have fleahoppers early. “I used Orthene with the Roundup application.”

He doesn’t fertilize dryland acreage. “I wait until my irrigated cotton comes up and then I apply nitrogen. I put about 300 pounds per acre on some and about 150 pounds on others. I broadcast all of it.”

He applied Pix to irrigated acreage.

All his cotton is in a two and one skip pattern.

Watson, who is almost 52, has farmed this area all his life, starting out farming with his father. “I farm on my own now and this looks like one of the best crops I’ve ever made.”

He said irrigated production also looks good. “I don’t know what I’ll make until I pull it.”

Watson started planting in mid-May and was finished by June 20. He used from 10 to 12 pounds of seed per acre.

He said weed pressure is usually his worst problem and could have been more so than usual in the wet summer of 2007, but Flex cotton varieties made control much easier. “I love it,” he said.

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