Cotton growers in North Carolina’s Blacklands got a chance to see and hear the latest in production information from North Carolina State specialists, growers and ag industry representatives at the bi-annual North Carolina Cotton Field Day, held recently and Flatland Farms near Pantego, N.C.

For the past decade or more, the every other year event has been held at North Carolina State’s Upper Coastal Plain Research Center near Rocky Mount, N.C. This year’s event was hosted by long-time cotton grower and current president of the North Carolina Cotton Growers Association, Gary Respess and his family.

Among the hot topics at this year’s event were new options for controlling glyphosate resistant pigweed, management strategies for stink bugs in cotton and an innovative look at cotton pickers by a North Carolina cotton grower.

Veteran North Carolina State weed scientist, Alan York, explained to growers why Palmer amaranth has been dubbed ‘Super Weed’. Among the reasons is the weed’s prolific ability to produce seed. Growing in solitude away from crop competition, York notes Palmer pigweed can grow as tall as a Christmas tree and produce 800,000 seeds. Even in a cultivated field, this particular pigweed can produce 300,000-400,000 seed.

It is a native of the Sonora Desert in the Southwestern U.S. and thrives in hot, dry weather. York notes that optimum photosynthesis for Palmer amaranth is 108 degrees F. When cotton, soybeans and other crops start to droop and lose momentum at 90-plus degrees F, Palmer amaranth is doing just fine, he explains.

York told growers a very aggressive pre-plant and/or pre-emergence program is essential to control glyphosate-resistant Palmer in cotton. In no-till cotton, York likes to start with a residual pre-plant herbicide such as Valor and follow with at least one residual pre-emergence herbicide. The residual pre-plant gives some insurance against lack of rainfall to activate pre-emergence herbicides.