Understanding And Addressing Nutrient Deficiencies in Cotton
4 Aug 2310 min 7 sec

Cotton needs a lot of love.  Layne and Caleb talk to Molly from AgroLiquid about the nutrient management program they are running on their cotton fields this year. 

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00:00 We're here in Pine View, Georgia in a field that a, a guy that Caleb works with standing in his cotton field. And we've got a cotton lab there in McGee that we've been working with Molly 00:10 This's our second year. Molly, you've helped design these for the last couple years. Tell us a little bit about why we're doing what we're doing in McGee versus why 00:17 we're standing in a field in Georgia. So the difference, the main difference is it's not necessarily soil composition. It's not necessarily the way you guys farm. 00:27 Really the only difference that I've been able to come across in uh, 00:32 say Georgia or kind of more the south or southeastern part is when we say inro and cotton, they run for the hills, don't they? 00:39 It's not a very widely adapted practice with y'all. When we say in furrow, you guys are like, yeah, let's do it. 00:45 Let's try it because y'all are ready to take that step to see where we can bust that yield limiting factor on cotton. And you know, 00:52 we don't really have many avenues to try to adjust The farming practices that we've had for years on cotton in furrow is one way that we can finally try to 01:00 do that. Mm-hmm. We know cotton seed is very sensitive. We know that the plant itself can be sensitive. It is very expensive. So in furrow we try not to really push the envelope and burn it up, 01:13 but we try to really focus and centralized nutrients that we think need to be there. At the time that it emerges with y'all, we decided to do, uh, 01:23 fulvic. So we wanted the fulvic because that's gonna help break any fertilizer bonds that are already in the soil from years and years of fertilizer that you put 01:31 down there. Um, it's gonna be a food source for your microbes in your soil. So it's gonna get them stimulated and fed and going, uh, 01:39 we chose to go with a micro package because when that plant's starting off and it's got a little TAF root, 01:44 we really don't want it using the limited source of energy that it has trying to go out and find these microbes around it. 01:51 We really want it all centralized right there around the seed. So it has what it needs. 01:55 Then we went a step further and decided to put our liquid calcium in the furrow because calcium is not only responsible for things within the plant once it's 02:04 going, but we need that calcium to really help kickstart it off. We can't never seem to get calcium into that cotton plant. 02:09 That's right. And so, like I said before, you can see we're farming on sand. Calcium is a huge factor for structural stability. Correct. Exactly. 02:18 If we're farming in sand and we don't, we're not able to get a big root zone, uh, early on. Or if we're, we're struggling with a really big plant, 02:26 but we don't have a good foundation to hold it because we lacked calcium in the beginning, 02:31 our cotton's gonna lay over or we're gonna have just a struggling stem. And the stem is basically what I consider the highway Right. 02:38 Of nutrients for the plant. And then One other thing is we're cutting back on our cotton populations. Mm-hmm. So that plant is having a lot larger branches on every plant. 02:46 Well if we have problems with getting those ranches held up or if we're, if we're running the sprayer defoliate cotton and we got cotton laying over 02:54 everywhere that that the plant characteristics there with the calcium is a big deal. Mm-hmm. 02:59 And that leads us into why we chose to go our foliar route with you guys as well. So not only did we do in furrow with them, 03:06 we decided to go a step further and now we're doing foliar because you know, and you know, we go over cotton about every 10 days. It's a very needy plant. 03:15 It has to have insecticides, it has to, has herbicides, it has to have picks, which is a growth regulator because little known fact cotton is a tree. 03:23 If we don't stop the growth, we're gonna get so much vegetative growth and no swap to reproductive that all of our nutrients have now gone into making a tree versus a producing smaller 03:34 bush type tree. An eight foot tall plant with three cotton balls. And that is not what we need. That's not our goal. 03:39 So one of the biggest factors we went with you guys, and you've told me this is a problem as well, is potassium in these kind of low C e C soils, 03:48 we have a big problem holding onto that potassium. Cotton is a major proponent of removing potassium from the soil and it leaves no residuals period. So anything you farm behind it, 03:58 you're gonna have to pour that much more potassium to it. So we will capitalize on top of your cotton. So every opportunity we got, 04:06 we're hitting it with capitalize. So that is a, that's pass every pass. That's a potassium, calcium and sulfur product, 04:12 which is all three big proponents of cotton. Then we chose to take it a step further, we blended in micro 500 mm-hmm. Because we know the biggest factor, 04:22 and y'all agree or disagree, is the biggest input cost and biggest factor. Is it not mostly your MP and K units. Right. 04:29 So if we're lacking on micronutrients, we're not getting the most efficacy out of those M P K inputs we're putting down. Right? Yep. So to me, 04:37 one thing you should never cut outta your program is micros. Mm-hmm. Because we have to have those micros to facilitate the movement of the MP kss. 04:45 So we didn't want your crop to just start off without any micross. Hence the reason we put it in frow and now we're feeding it again foliar. Um, 04:53 we did that. The cool, sorry, not to interrupt, but the, but the cool thing about our lab in, in these labs, it's not 40 acres of doing the exact same thing. Right. 05:02 We've got inside there, we've got 10 acres of what I would do every day. Grower standard. Grower standard. Mm-hmm. 05:09 We've got three different replications of three different ways that y'all would like for us to do it. So, so we go in there and we're putting, 05:18 this one might get the micros, this one might not. Right. This one might get the calcium, you know, that one may not. Mm-hmm. 05:23 So that's one cool thing about to me about when we're doing these labs, it's not just, okay, one thing, here we go, this is gonna make you better. 05:30 You've got replications to see this worked, this didn't work, this worked. And that's our goal overall is yes, 05:37 our end goal is to get the most yield that we can possibly get. But if you're like me, you wanna know why? I know you ask why you ask why. 05:45 So in doing it in that sense, we can take out pieces and plug in pieces with agro liquids programs that is really going to give you an answer as to what it was when you put it on and why 05:56 that seemed to work for you. Right. And, and I think that comes back to the conversation of, with our nutrient applications, 06:02 we need to make sure we're applying the right product at the right time, at the right rate Yep. And in the right place. So starting to plan off strong, 06:11 uh, given whatever nutrients that it needs. Mm-hmm. And having these applications where we're putting out nutrients at the time the plant needs it mm-hmm. 06:19 That we're not at risk for losses during that timeframe and making sure that our cotton plants as they start getting later in the year and we have trouble 06:27 getting stuff up from the soil Yep. To have that spoon fed approach to where they can have good fertility season long. Correct. 06:33 One thing that dad always says, cotton's always looking for a way to die. It is if, I mean, if if you go through, especially probably now at home, you, 06:41 you can walk through just from the rain that we've had, we've had a whole lot of rain in the last month. I mean it's, it's been, it's been abnormal, which is not real good for cotton. Right. 06:50 So that cotton plant stresses you, you go look through the middle of the middle between two plants. It, I mean it's solid squares everywhere. I mean it's just, 06:57 it's shedding fruit ridiculously. Yeah. And, uh, so with us spoonfeeding, these, these micros spoonfeeding, this potassium, we, we keep Okay, we're happy, we're happy, we're happy. 07:09 We're not just gonna hit one big shot and say you're happy right now. Right. We're gonna make sure he's happy through his whole life. Correct. 07:15 And you gotta be able to do that because if you think like just looking at this cotton and nothing wrong with it, 07:20 but you can see there's a little variation in height. Right. There's a little less surface area up here towards the front as in what we're 07:26 standing here in the middle. If you dump an entire foliar program on at one time and you choose to do it early because you think, oh, they told me to hit it, you know, 07:35 my first post application of herbicide cotton's, what this big maybe Exactly. There's not a left leaf surface area to take up what foliar you put down there. 07:43 And that's why I'm constantly preaching, if you wanna call it spoonfeed in there, if you look at it like a gallon jug, you can only get a gallon of water in a gallon jug. And that's how the plant is. 07:55 It only has so much holding capacity and once we've filled that and we've reached that, everything else we've put out is just wasted. That's right. And, 08:02 And it is just like me. I don't wanna eat all the food that I'm gonna eat today for breakfast. Right. I want a little bit at first. I want some throughout the day. You're great. 08:10 And that's the same thing. Yeah, exactly. So same thing as these cotton plants. Mm-hmm. Uh, we can, we can put a lot of fertility on early on. 08:19 Well as soon as we have new growth, well then we need to make sure that we keep that plant well fed as it's building the factory and then putting on our, not our. 08:27 And there's, so there's such a, a misguided, I guess, information really about crops as a whole is that we reach this wall in a timing point in the crops lifecycle that people, 08:40 farmers in general think that we should just stop. Mm-hmm. Oh, we're not gonna make another pass. It's gonna be what it's gonna be. 08:46 I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard that. And we now with the capability of drones, high boys, airplanes, um, 08:55 just a bunch of different application opportunities now we can just throw that saying out the window because now yes, 09:01 it comes down to is it in your budget? But if we've done everything correct from the beginning and really tailor fit our programs, 09:08 if we can get in when we're application to really push that to the finish line, I think that's where we are gonna start seeing these yield walls just start 09:17 breaking down. Right. And, and it may not be going out there and spending a bunch of money that we weren't already spending. Mm-hmm. 09:23 Is spending the dollars that we have towards our fertility for our crops, just doing it better in a better that might be cutting back early and let's put 09:31 some of our dollars here towards these later applications. And it's like you mentioned, it's not dumping a bunch out at one foliar shot. 09:38 Mm-hmm. We're giving it a little bit as the plant goes throughout the season. So we have that opportunity because like I said, we hit cotton every 10 days. 09:46 So there's not a reason that should limit you as to going out and really doing your fertility in a better way. Mm-hmm. 09:53 I think we hit it about every Friday. That's right. Every Friday it's always Friday. Every fun day. Feed it on Fridays. I like that. Molly, 10:00 We appreciate you coming down here taking a visit. Kayla, we appreciate you showing us around. Yeah. 10:04 Appreciate y'all coming by.