2005-10-26 / Farm & Home

Ag Line: Cotton defoliation update

By Wade Parker

County Extension Coordinator

We have experienced beautiful harvesting weather since the passing of Tropical Storm Tammie. As I travel the county, the majority of cotton fields

have been def o l i a t e d . H o w e v e r , there are still a few fields that will be d e f o l i a t e d shortly.

This is the

first week we

have experienced significantly lower temperatures. The weather channel predicts this week’s high temperatures to range from 66-75 degrees, and the low temperatures to range from 40-55 degrees F. As the daily high temperatures fall below 80 degrees and the lows fall below 60 degrees, the defoliation recommendations change. many decided to leave a regrowth inhibitor out of their defoliation plans. The decision not to include a regrowth inhibitor three weeks ago may have been risky.

However, as we move into cooler temperatures, I recommend using a defoliant + a boll opener. Tank-mixes that contain ethephon (Prep, Cotton Quik, Finish 6 Pro) + any defoliant (Def, Folex, Ginstar) should be used at higher rates to speed boll opening.

Using Finish at 1.5 pints + 16 ounces of Def/Folex will cost approximately $16.80. Another choice is using any ethephon product (Prep) at 2 pints + 1.25 pints of Def/Folex will cost approximately $14.80. University data does show that the use of Finish/Cotton Quik will open bolls faster than other ethephon products, thus allowing you to harvest 4-5 days earlier.

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Asian Bird Flu Many people have been very concerned about the current Asian Bird Flu. I would like to share with you some important information regarding this topic. The following information came from the UGA Department of Poultry Science, American Association of Avian Pathologists, National Chicken Council, and the National Turkey Federation.

Asian Bird Flu has never infected poultry in the United States. Ever vigilant, the U.S. poultry industry tests continuously to insure the virus that causes Asian Bird Flu does not get a foothold in commercial poultry flocks.

There is no danger of contracting Asian Bird Flu from eating or handling chicken or turkey. Since Asian Bird Flu does not exist in U.S. poultry, there is virtually no chance of coming into contact with meat from infected birds. The U.S. has banned poultry imports from all countries where Asian Bird Flu has occurred. In addition, proper cooking and food handling practices essentially eliminate any chance of food related disease.

Most experts do not believe Asian Bird Flu is likely to become a serious human health issue. At present, the virus that causes Asian Bird Flu does not easily infect humans.

In spite of all the media attention, a very small number of people (only about 100 mainly in Thailand and Vietnam) have contracted Asian Bird Flu. Almost all of those infected have had very close, direct contact with diseased birds. The virus does not spread easily from one person to another. It does not spread easily from birds to man either.

There is concern that if the virus mutates in such a way that it begins to spread from human to human, that many more people could become infected; however, public health professionals in affected countries are working diligently with support from the international community to control the virus and eliminate the potential threat.

Again, the chance of large numbers of people contracting Asian Bird Flu is very remote because the virus is not easily spread between people or from birds to people.

Great effort is being made to prevent Asian Bird Flu from being introduced into the U.S. Extensive plans have been developed to minimize the chance that Asian Bird Flu might infect U.S. poultry and to quickly eliminate it in the unlikely case it does.

Federal, state, university, public health, poultry industry trade groups and poultry companies have all worked together to develop a coordinated, rapid and comprehensive response. If Asian Bird Flu is detected, a wide area around the outbreak will be immediately quarantined, infected birds will be humanely destroyed and disposed of in an environmentally sound way to stop the chance of any additional spread.

The U.S. poultry industry has had success in controlling similar virus caused diseases, and thus is prepared to contend with this threat.

The modern methods of poultry production in the U.S. make an Asian Bird Flu outbreak much less likely here. Most poultry in Asia are kept in people’s backyards or allowed to roam free. Wild birds carry the virus that causes the disease and spread it to these “outdoor” poultry. In the U.S., commercial poultry flocks are kept in environmentally controlled poultry houses where they are protected from contact with wild birds and other vectors that may cause disease.

The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service offers educational programs, assistance and materials to all people without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability.

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