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Texas Growers To Plant Cotton With Less Worry About Root Rot

Texas Growers To Plant Cotton With Less Worry About Root Rot

Research TrianglePark, N.C.–As Texas growers prepare to plant cotton, for the first timeever, many of them know that cotton root rot won’t decimate their fields. Undera U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Section 18 Emergency Exemption, theywill apply TOPGUARD Fungicide at planting to control cotton root rot, a mid-seasonyield-robber. Without effective root rot control, Texas cotton growerssustain direct yield losses of about $30 million per year, calculates the TexasA&M AgriLIFE Extension Service. With TOPGUARD, they can win the battleagainst cotton root rot. TOPGUARD, made by Cheminova, was used in Texas for the firsttime in 2012 under a Section 18 Emergency Exemption. EPA granted a secondSection 18 in 2013 for TOPGUARD to be used at planting. {{more}}  Austin Clary, who grows cotton in Uvalde and MedinaCounties, used TOPGUARD in 2012. “We’d been so desperate for a remedy to rootrot that I was willing to try it,” says Clary. He applied TOPGUARD at planting, in a T-Band application. Asthe season progressed, Clary scouted his fields and found almost no sign ofcotton root rot. “It’s proven to work very well,” he says. ”TOPGUARD is going to make cotton more of an option on a lotmore acres,” he says. “There are fields that we would have never thought aboutplanting to cotton that we can plant to cotton now.” Prior to TOPGUARD, Clary’s only choice was to grow lesscotton and plant more fields to corn and cabbage, two crops not affected bycotton root rot. Nearly half of his cotton fields had been damaged by cottonroot rot, caused by a fungus that persists in the soil year after year. Clary’s struggles with cotton root rot aren’t unusual. “Wehave some areas where it has been almost impossible to grow cotton because ofroot rot,” says Mark Nemec of MJN Consulting Service in Hewitt, Texas. Theemergency exemption for TOPGUARD is enabling growers to produce cotton again inthese areas, he says. Two of Nemec’s clients applied TOPGUARD to dryland cottonacres in 2012. One used TOPGUARD on all of his acres and saw good results. Before using TOPGUARD, 30% percent to 50% percent of thisgrower’s worst field was typically affected by cotton root rot. After treatinghis cotton with the fungicide last year, only about five percent of the fieldwas affected. Moreover, the dead plants were scattered throughout the field, notbunched in areas, says Nemec. The crop consultant’s other client used TOPGUARD only onparts of fields known to have root rot. “You could see ‘to the row’ where hemade the application. There was a lot of dead cotton on one side and not theother,” he says. For more information onTOPGUARD, cotton growers should consult with their crop advisor, local cropprotection dealer or Cheminova rep. They can also visit http://www.cheminova-us.com/.