Will foliar feeding seedling cotton increase yield?
Work in this area indicates that foliar feeding seedling cotton, even stressed cotton, will not generally result in increased yields. The appearance of the cotton may be helped, but it is very rare that a yield response will occur from such a treatment.
Stress from being too wet or too cool is generally the problem, not necessarily a nutrient deficiency. The argument heard is that the plant can't take up nutrients, so foliar feeding will keep it going and "kick if off." If the plant is under so much stress that it cannot take up nutrients from the soil, what can it do with nutrients applied to its leaves?
If you are leaning toward foliar feeding seedling cotton, here are several things to consider.
A small seeding covers only a small area. The products sold for this purpose are low analysis to start with and are recommended at rates in the 1 quart per acre range. For example, consider a product that is about 9 percent nitrogen and weighs 12 pounds per gallon. If the recommendation is to apply 1 quart per acre broadcast, that comes to 0.99 pounds of nitrogen per gallon, or 0.2475 pounds per quart. You are putting out 0.2475 pounds of nitrogen per acre. Leaf area covers perhaps 1 percent or less of the surface acre. How much of the applied material contacts the plant? How much of the applied material gets into the plant?
If the plant is under stress, uptake of the material that actually gets on the leaf surface is greatly reduced. As you can see, not much of the product gets into the plant to do anything at all. If some nutrients do get into the leaf, and if the plant is under stress, what will it do with them? At that point, nutrient deficiency is not the problem. Fertilizer corrects nutrient deficiency, not other problems.
A noted physiologist and graduate student, in a nearby cotton state, did a study on foliar-feeding, stressed seedling cotton. Several treatments were involved, but none had any real positive effect. In fact, the best looking treatment, visually, was 10 gallons total volume per acre of water.
As most cotton across Mississippi is setting bolls ahead of schedule this year, some fields look fantastic and others are struggling, depending on the weather and irrigation.
Lonnie Fortner has been named the Mississippi winner of the 2018 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Growers may be on their way to planting more cotton in Mississippi soil than they have in 11 years, despite a late start.
Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist for the Mississippi State University Extension Service, estimated that growers will plant 700,000 acres of cotton this year. If that much gets harvested, it will be the best total since 2006, when the state produced 1.2 million acres of cotton. Last year, Mississippi cotton producers harvested 625,000 acres.
ELLISVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State University representatives met with agricultural clients in Ellisville recently to discuss research and education needs for 2018. More than 115 individuals attended this year's event.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Two highly anticipated online training modules are now available for those who plan to purchase or apply dicamba and similar herbicides.
The Mississippi State University Extension Service, in cooperation with the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce Bureau of Plant Industry, developed these new online training courses related to herbicides labeled for use with dicamba-tolerant cotton and soybeans in response to label changes from the Environmental Protection Agency.