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Sunbelt Ag Expo

Cotton weed management based on real-farm research

Brad Haire sunbelt-expo-field-day-uga-Culpepper-2.jpg
University of Georgia Extension weed specialist Stanley Culpepper will be one of several UGA Extension specialists and researchers speaking at tour stops on the 2022 Sunbelt Ag Expo Field Day July 21.

The Sunbelt Ag Expo Darrell Williams Research Farm located at Spence Field in Moultrie, Ga., has been a primary research location for University of Georgia Extension’s efforts to test and develop programs to help Southeast farmers sustainably manage weeds.

University of Georgia Extension weed specialist Stanley Culpepper will be one of several UGA Extension specialists and researchers speaking at tour stops on the 2022 Sunbelt Ag Expo Field Day July 21. Culpepper will talk about some of the cotton-related work he and his team are conducting.

Culpepper’s team is evaluating how the WeedOut program may work within a Georgia cotton production system. WeedOut, an Israeli-based startup, created a novel way to greatly reduce Palmar amaranth in fields by making seeds sterile, similar to how entomologists control mosquito populations. Sterile males fertilize females but produce no viable eggs. For the case of weeds, it’s sterile pollen that results in an aborted seed.

Culpepper will also discuss during the field day stop Alite 27, a potentially new pre-emergence herbicide for cotton growers from BASF.

Though pigweed remains Georgia cotton growers’ most troublesome weed to manage, tropical spiderwort and morningglory continue to cause problems, too. Culpepper’s team are targeting the most-effective tropical spiderwort and morningglory management systems for growers.

Pigweed not controlled by post-emergence PPO has been documented in Georgia and other Southeastern states for a couple of years. Culpepper’s team confirmed the population to be also resistant to the residual activity of these herbicides in greenhouse studies. Sound weed management decisions still make a difference.

“The concept of a weed management program, even in a year like 2022 where herbicide availability and price are issues, does not change. The individual components of the program may change, but the program must remain sound,” he said.

Conservation groups often go after EPA. Recent court decisions have given well-heeled conservation and environmental groups fodder and powder to go harder after the agency, particularly how the agency reviews and determines how a chemistry may impact a federally endangered species.

The stage is set for conservation groups to sway the process and how pesticides are regulated and used, or not used, including ones important to agriculture. Culpepper will talk about science-backed research to help mitigate the impact of this new shift regarding the Endangered Species Act and agricultural pesticides.

“The Expo farm is my largest research site in Georgia and an important location for our research program for cotton growers across the state,” said Culpepper, who has conducted research at the Expo farm for two decades.

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