Given the increase in herbicide resistance among weeds, scientists and Extension weed specialists recommend integrated weed management (IWM), an approach that draws on physical, cultural, and biological strategies to augment the impact of herbicides.
Weed management is especially important for cotton, which needs better control for longer periods than crops such as corn and soybeans, as it grows slowly early in season and in wide rows.
Planting cover crops is often the foundation of an effective IWM strategy. In the presentation "Cover Crops for Cotton Weed Management," Charlie Cahoon and Camp Hand present research showing that planting cover crops has many benefits for cotton: improved Palmer amaranth control, reduced herbicide input over time, higher yields on dry land, reduced labor (compared with tillage), mitigated wind and water erosion, and higher moisture conservation.
Despite these findings, some cotton growers are hesitant about planting cover crops, because they can negatively impact cotton stand as a result of blowout.
However, research conducted over a 3-year period showed that cotton stand can be improved in adverse conditions with the use of a cover crop and that cover crops reduced Palmer amaranth emergence by 50 to 80%. Cahoon and Hand also address how to maximize weed suppression and how best to combine cover crops with herbicides.
This 34.5-minute presentation is available through the "Focus on Cotton" resource on the Plant Management Network.
This resource contains more than 100 webcasts, along with presentations from a number of conferences, on a broad range of aspects of cotton crop management: agronomic practices, diseases, harvest and ginning, insects, irrigation, nematodes, precision agriculture, soil health and crop fertility, and weeds. These webcasts are available to readers open access (without a subscription).
The "Focus on Cotton" homepage also provides access to "Cotton Cultivated," a resource from Cotton Incorporated that helps users quickly find the most current cotton production information available. These and other resources are freely available courtesy of Cotton Incorporated at