Cotton Always Has A Place on Missouri Farm
Fifty years and counting. That’s how long Missouri farmer David Pearson has been growing cotton. He started farming with his dad and now grows between 5,500 and 6,000 acres of cotton each year. Pearson has experienced many changes over the years, yet he says it is relaxing to grow a good crop and harvest it.
“I really enjoy farming in December, January and February,” Pearson jokes, but he’s serious about helping the next generation. “My son farms on his own. He enjoys it and has beautiful crops. He’ll farm mine when I get ready to retire. It’s important to me to be able to pass the farm on to him.”
Pearson uses cover crops like rye and wheat for erosion control. These cover crops help keep the cotton warmer during the first month after planting. He is diligent about weed control, so the young plants have little competition for water, sunlight and nutrients. He and his 10 employees will chop weeds to keep them manageable – but they’d rather not. Pearson turned to the Enlist™ weed control system to help keep problem weeds, especially pigweed, under control.
“Enlist One herbicide tank-mixed with glufosinate is mean on pigweed,” Pearson says. “It’s another tool, and I wanted to try it.”
Pearson also wanted cotton varieties that would help him manage some reemerging diseases. He had noticed an increase in bacterial blight and target leaf spot. He looked to PhytoGen® cottonseed and the PhytoGen Breeding Traits for help. He selected varieties with the Enlist cotton trait to add the ability to use Enlist herbicides for outstanding weed control.
When the cotton was about 8 to 10 inches tall, Pearson made his first postemergence herbicide application. He followed that with an application of Enlist One™ herbicide plus a residual. On some acres where weeds were particularly stubborn, he made an additional application of Enlist One and glufosinate.
“The combination of Enlist One and glufosinate cleaned up the fields,” Pearson says. “We also have the flexibility to plant non-Enlist soybeans right next to Enlist cotton. We sprayed Enlist One herbicide right next to those soybeans, and it didn’t even wrinkle a leaf. Enlist One herbicide didn’t move.”
Pearson has dedicated spray rigs for Enlist herbicides and dicamba. Even so, he remains diligent about equipment cleanout and says Enlist One was easy to clean out of the sprayer. He rinsed the tank out three times and cleaned the other parts of the sprayer.
PhytoGen cottonseed varieties with the Enlist trait give Pearson the best opportunity for an excellent harvest. He gets exceptional weed control with the Enlist weed control system as well as the quality, vigor and disease package of PhytoGen cottonseed.
Soon, the pickers will comb through the defoliated crop, and Pearson will wait to see what the yield is.
“We will know more in a few weeks at harvest time,” Pearson says. “There’s no doubt the PhytoGen Enlist cotton comes up stronger, growing better. It has a lot of vigor to it. Now we are waiting to evaluate the gin turnout.”