Basically, an unchopped pigweed will produce near 400,000 seeds in dryland cotton production. One chopped to six inches will regrow and still produce 130,000 seeds. If you get it down to one inch, it still produces 36,000 seeds. And, finally, if it's chopped all the way to the soil, well, it still regrows and gives you 22,400 seeds.

"Even if you pull it up, it can still resucker if any part of the root touches the soil. ... You have to get out there and not just whack it off but remove 100 percent of the above ground plant but really you have to get those roots in the air as much as possible or get it out of the field," Culpepper said.

It is important to remember that it is all a numbers game. If herbicide resistance can be found in that one plant in a million or even 10 million, then you don't really need that much cotton acreage to find it. In samples taken from 100 growers' fields in Georgia, having 25 pigweed plants emerge per square foot was common.

To find that one resistant one, in this case you only need 9.18 acres of cotton. "But let's just say that resistance happens in just one in a billion plants, still then you only need 918 acres of cotton to get it," he said.


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