Virginia Cotton: Herbicide and Fertilizer Applications

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We are having a nice spell of weather that should be quite comfortable over the next several days.  This will offer some opportunity to spray Dual or Warrant with the Roundup or Liberty to offer that extra herbicide protection without much concern for much leaf scorch on the cotton. 

When spraying Liberty on the non-Enlist Phytogen varieties like 333 and 495, you still need to make two trips if you want the Dual or Warrant.  When spraying Roundup, you can add these two residual materials on any variety.  Another crop observation to make along about now is to count how many true leaves you have.

Once early varieties reach the 5 leaf stage, they are about a month away from bloom.  For full season varieties that initiate squares on higher branches, it takes about a week longer to start blooming than early varieties.  Some of our April planted cotton is at this stage giving us an indication that we will see some late June or early July blooms.

All of our fertilizer chores are timed based on true leaf development and not the calendar.  Our earliest cotton is reaching the stage for sidedress and by next week, it will be a priority.  Late planted cotton is several weeks away from this.

Everybody has a different way of applying fertilizer.

Some people delay using the complete fertilizer till after planting and that should be finished by the 4 leaf stage.  If you’re late with this chore just make it a top priority.

When splitting nitrogen, the first applications should be made around this 4-5 leaf stage and the second just before or right at blooming.  And for normal sidedress for applying all of it at one time, I like to time that based on having at least 7 up to about 11 true leaves or nodes.

I really don’t like having all the nitrogen out too early because it is more exposed to leaching on the deep sands and pushes cotton too fast on the good land.  Overall, there are variants even on these breakouts so there are a lot of ways to skin a cat.

If you are on the early side with nitrogen, then use a more aggressive Pix strategy, and conversely, be careful of ‘pix’ing cotton that has not been side dressed as time progresses.  It’s all interconnected.


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