In the absence of the pre-plant or in heavily infested fields, York recommends a two- or three-way pre-emergence application. Reflex plus Direx plus Prowl has been one of the more effective treatments.

The next step in the program is Dual Magnum or Warrant put in early post with the first application of glyphosate. That is followed by a residual lay-by application of a material like Direx or similar material. In other words there is probably a place for hoods or directed sprayers.

The objective, York says, is to layer in herbicides so that a new herbicide kicks in prior to the preceding

One of the most popular stops on the field day tour was a talk by North Carolina State entomologist Jack Bachelor, who outlined some ways to manage stink bugs in cotton.

North Carolina State, in cooperation with several other Southeast universities, developed a template that has been printed and available in all participating states that allows a grower to check bolls in the field and apply a few observational variables and make decisions whether to spray for stink bugs.

The continued increase in the use of bacillus thuriengensis-containing seed in the Southeast is likely to mean continued growth in stink bug problems across a number of crops commonly grown in the Southeast, according to Bachelor.

North Carolina cotton grower Danny Clayton perhaps drew the most attention from other cotton growers attending the meeting with his presentation on the comparable cost of cotton pickers.

Clayton compared the cost of a new John Deere picker equipped with an on-board, on-the-go module builder, a Case picker with a similar system, and old and new conventional cotton pickers.

The advantage of the Deere system is its seamless picking, packing and stacking speed. Clayton noted that he has run his Deere system up to 20 hours a day, but contends the optimum size operation for this type cotton harvest system is about 2,000 acres.

The advantage of the Case system is that it uses permanent, rather than disposable tarps, for moduling cotton. It also is significantly lighter in weight than the John Deere system and cost about $20,000 less (approximately $540,000 versus $560,000).

For many Southeastern growers, who don’t have the acreage to justify one of the new cotton harvest systems, a used conventional picker may be the best option. Clayton showed some figures suggesting a big advantage for used pickers versus the new on-board module-building machines, compared to a new conventional cotton picker.

Gaylon Ambrose, Beaufort County Extension ag leader shared with growers in attendance his 20-plus years of experience with cotton production. The biggest advantage, and most consistent advantage for cotton production in eastern North Carolina, Ambrose says is to plant cotton early.

Ambrose told the story of an entomologist who disagreed with his early planting theory, pointing out more susceptibility to early season insect damage and to diseases vectored by these insects. Despite that risk, the veteran North Carolina Extension leader contends the big advantage is still to plant cotton early.