Cotton Defoliation Timing to be Discussed at 2012 Cotton Field Day

At the 2012 Cotton Field Day coming up tomorrow at the cotton research station near Rocky Mount, Dr. Keith Edmiston, NC State Extension Cotton Specialist will be speaking on cotton defoliation:

“I’ll talk about timing of defoliation. This year the crop is very compact compared to the last two years and we didn’t have a dry spell in there where we shed a lot of fruit. We can probably defoliate our cotton this year at a lower percent open that we have in the past few years. Because the cotton is not compact, they will not have to chase their top crop like they have the last couple of years.”

Edmiston makes his case for early cotton defoliation:

“The cotton is going to open fairly quickly. Growers need to keep in mind that a lot of the cotton is pretty rank this year, and timing will be more important because with the wet weather patterns we are having we could see some boll rot. We don’t want to delay defoliation, because if we can get those leaves off as soon as the cotton is ready, then we can reduce boll rot.”

Hard lock in bolls is another reason to defoliate on time this year:

“Even if you get the leaves off you still have the potential, if the weather is bad enough, for boll rot or hard lock. At least getting the leaves off will help to dry it out and hopefully reduce those.”

And this year’s crop looks good according to Edmiston:

“We’ve made a good crop, but it’s now a matter of getting it out of the field.”

For the most part, says Edmiston, it’s been a disease-free year:

“Particularly in some coastal areas we have seen some leaf spots that we haven’t seen in the past because its been so wet. In most fields its taking a little off the bottom leave which may actually be a benefit in helping reduce boll rot. But there are a few fields where it has moved up the plant and we’ve had some applications go out for that.”

And pests?:

“We are pretty much out of the pest area now, unless you had some late cotton, then stink bugs could still be a risk.”

Edmiston will be presenter at tomorrow’s Cotton Field Day getting underway at 12:30 at the Cotton Research Station near Rocky Mount. SFNToday will have complete coverage of the field day courtesy of our friends at The Cotton Board and NC Cotton Producers Assocation.

Click here for more information on the Cotton Field Day. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.