Lee Richardson is relying on Stoneville® varieties and Liberty® herbicide to sustain the history behind his family’s farming operation and carry it into the future.
“We’re wrapped all around cotton here on our operation in the Bootheel of Missouri,” says the Marston, Mo., producer who grows 4,500 acres of cotton with his father, Barry Lee, and brother, Blake Lee. Richardson’s 80-year-old grandfather operates the family’s gin that’s been in operation since 1928.
“When glyphosate-resistant pigweed hit us, we had to find a way to keep growing cotton,” Richardson says. “Liberty gave us a way to handle the weeds. Stoneville gave us a way to make a living.”
For additional information on yield and quality opportunities with Stoneville varieties, visit Stoneville.com.
Richardson views Liberty as the proactive core of his herbicide program. Seven to 10 days after planting, Richardson proactively uses Liberty or a combination of Liberty and glyphosate as the first shot in his arsenal to keep pigweeds at bay. He’ll follow with a residual chemistry such as Dual. Another seven to 10 days after the residual, Richardson applies Liberty a second time.
“The second shot of Liberty is on an as-needed basis,” points out Richardson. “If we have escapes, we need to make the second application of Liberty. An example would be the heavy rains we got this year. The pigweeds were getting too big, and we had a lot of grass coming in, so we combined the Liberty with Roundup.”
“The main thing with Liberty is coverage,” he adds, “so we have Greenleaf tips, spray a medium droplet, and slow down to get good coverage. Also, since pigweeds are finicky about how they take herbicide up, we have to get the spraying done in the morning.”
Stoneville Varieties Allow Flexibility in Weed Control
Richardson points to the herbicide-tolerant traits in Stoneville varieties as a big boost for his cotton yields.
“Stoneville cotton varieties give us the flexibility of using chemicals with different modes of action while protecting our crop,” Richardson says.
He has found success with new varieties from Stoneville. A believer in the Bayer® Cotton Agronomic Performance (CAP) trial program, Richardson has seen new varieties in action on his farm before their commercial release.
Richardson had ST 4946GLB2 in CAP trials on his farm back in 2012 before its commercial release. He banks on the Stoneville total package — Liberty and glyphosate trait technologies, high yields and excellent fiber quality — to push yields and protect his crop against weeds and pests. “It’s widely adapted to our different soil types and has good yield and quality,” Richardson says.
Nematode Resistance Also Available
Nematodes are another reason Richardson plants ST 4946GLB2 on about 75 percent of his cotton acres. “We load up on that variety because we’re planting cotton behind cotton, and it has root-knot nematode tolerance. Behind pigweed, nematodes are one of our major problems. ST 4747GLB2 also held up in fields that had disease problems and nematodes,” he says.
On dryland, cotton yields hit 1,200 pounds per acre with ST 4946GLB2. Yields were 1,300 pounds under irrigation. Other top Stoneville varieties on the farm include ST 5032GLT, a GlyTol® LibertyLink® TwinLink® variety that regularly averages 1,300 pounds per acre under center pivot.
“I’d have to say if it weren’t for the traits and varieties we get with Stoneville, we would more than likely have low cotton acreage and would have been forced to switch to more soybeans,” Richardson says. “Liberty herbicide and Stoneville varieties have helped us sustain our cotton acres.”
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