Virginia Cotton: Warm Winters Bring Thoughts of Burndown

    Temperatures for the immediate future are supposed to stay above normal for another week or more. And the last week of April is supposed to be below normal with May 11 as the last night below 50. (Please note the skepticism in long range forecasting for that last sentence.) 

    Today, I’d actually like to address the issue of the impact of the warm February on one of our pre-planting chores which is burndown.

    • With normal temperatures, we typically wait to burndown about 3 to 4 weeks in front of planting. That idea needs to be questioned for warm winters. The last time we had a long warm spell in the winter March, 2012. We are having a lot of opportunity to get out in front of the season with lime applications.
    • Back in 2012, we had some horseweed that got big and we missed some of it. This is probably happening again and we also have ragweed that could be germinating earlier than normal as well. We have some more tools with our Enlist and Extend technologies. I think we’ll be fine but we are going to have to keep an eye on some of these Roundup resistant weeds and how they progress.
    • There is one winter weed that I would not wait on if you have not addressed it yet. That annual bluegrass can make such a horrendous mat creating poor seed to soil contact that I would rather go ahead and hit those spots in March rather than just waiting. It typically is on our stronger soils. Land is in good shape now, so spraying Roundup on this heavier land with bluegrass is a priority. I do not like killing the cover on light sandy soils and blowing fields until as late as practical.
    • We’ll keep our eyes on this issue in the coming weeks. We are 56 days from planting right now or longer (Unless, of course, those long term forecasts really are correct.)



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