Post-Harvest Insect Management, Soil Sampling and Variety Selection

Insect Level Management

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The benefits of early harvest stalk destruction are well-documented as being among the most effective cultural and mechanical practices when it comes to managing overwintering insects. The key pests affected by early harvest and stalk destruction are the boll weevil, pink bollworm, tobacco budworm, and cotton bollworm as their habitat and food sources are destroyed.

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It is recommended that growers:13;10;

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  • Shred stalks at the earliest possible date.
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  • Do not allow stubble, regrowth, or volunteer seedlings to remain in fields or the 9;immediate area.
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  • Pay particular attention to destroying green or cracked bolls at row ends (especially a 9;factor with stripper harvest).
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  • Consider adding insecticides into phosphate defoliants (combinations of chlorate and 9;some insecticides can cause potential fire hazards).
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  • If you are in an area with mandated stalk destruction deadlines, success depends on 9;strict adherence.
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Post Harvest Soil Sampling

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If​​ a nematode problem is suspected, an aggressive sampling program is recommended, with actions following up if the problem is confirmed. But because nematodes are not visually detectable, treatments that are not based on samples could be wasteful. At the same time, fields in which nematode infestations are lowering yields and economic potential must be tended to in a timely manner. Nematode sampling is best accomplished in the late summer or fall as populations are easier to detect and more reliable estimates are made. 
Tips on collecting and handling samples:13;10;

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  • Ensure representative sampling by taking samples within the row in areas with different cropping histories or soil textures.
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  • Use a guideline of one sample consisting of 20 to 30 cores, taken at depths between 6 and 12 inches, to represent 10 acres of each soil type or cropping history. Cores should be mixed thoroughly and approximately one quart placed in a plastic bag.
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  • Keep samples cool and prevent dryout.
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  • Get samples to testing lab with overnight service if possible.
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Interpreting and Using Variety Test Results

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As the number of varieties available to cotton growers increases, growers have more and more options. Variety selection may be the most important decision made during the growing season. The initial investment in seed has a huge influence on ability to yield, as well as drought tolerance, insect resistance, crop quality and other factors that add up to profit at the end of the season.

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The difference in yields from private tests and university test has been the object of discussion. While genetics in a variety may be superior to those of another variety, overall management and environmental conditions account for a large percentage of a variety’s performance as they enable you to obtain the potential.

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Reviewing results at different test locations and the rankings of varieties at each is complicated because the environment at each location is different. This difference, called variety environment interaction, can be large or small depending mainly on the weather and crop management. The maturity of each variety also can make this interaction larger. Since each variety cannot be managed separately, the management system for the variety trial has to be selected that can be an average for the entire test. This system favors some varieties and hurts others.

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What about the official variety tests? A grower must look at the statistical significance to see if differences are meaningful. When looking at data, you can have more confidence in an analysis run at the 0.05 level of significance (LSD) than at 0.10. When looking specifically at lint yields, an LSD of about 100lbs or less can be useful in selecting a variety. LSDs of more than 100lbs gives you little useful information due to non-uniform conditions within the test.

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How to use variety tests to select those varieties that are right for you:13;10;13;10;

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  • Review as many public and private tests within 9;your growing area as possible.
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  • Check the statistical reliability of each test.
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  • Determine the management system and variety 9;used in each test.
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  • From several valid tests, select the top 5 or 6 9;consistent yielding varieties with the 9;characteristics you need.
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  • Refer to on-farm variety tests, like Deltapine® 9;New Product Exposure (NPE) tests.
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  • Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Plant 9;several varieties. If you are unsure about 
a new 9;variety, then plant limited acreage of that 9;particular one. The bottom line is to plant 9;varieties in which you have confidence.
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This article is from the Cotton Management Guide, a publication with year-round advice on managing high-yielding cotton. Download the Deltapine Cotton Management Guide now or sign up for new content to be delivered to your email each month.

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