It is that time of the year, and peanut harvest has started in the Panhandle. Peanuts might start off the harvest, but cotton will be ready soon. Most growers are well acquainted with cotton defoliation, but Dr. Steve Brown, Auburn Cotton Specialist, met and discussed some of the specifics in this video “Cotton Harvest Aids.”
UF/IFAS has a very informative educational publication Cotton Defoliation and Harvest Aid Guide with specifics about products and rates that would benefit any farmer now harvest time is nearing. There are several ways to determine when to defoliate cotton. An old rule of thumb is to defoliate when 60%–75% of the bolls are open.
Another method is “nodes above cracked bolls” (shortened to NACB). Research has shown that cotton with four nodes above the highest cracked boll can be defoliated without significant losses in weight or quality. One thing Dr. Brown recommends in the video is timely defoliation.