Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Plant Growth Regulators: Why & How We Use Them


Selective breeding is a powerful tool. It has allowed us to take cotton, a perennial bush, and breed it to be cotton, an annual field crop. Sometimes however, breeding can’t do everything for us. Sometimes we need to rely on other means to achieve a good harvest at the end of the year. That’s why we have tools like plant growth regulators, commonly referred to as PGRs.

Why do we use PGRs?

Different types of PGRs exist, but the PGRs we use on our farm allow us to prevent the excessive vegetative growth of the cotton plant. Despite hundreds of years of selective breeding, cotton still has some tendencies of a perennial bush, and PGRs allow us to control those tendencies, resulting in an overall better harvest. When a cotton plant puts too much focus on growing leaves and branches, it doesn’t produce as many flowers, which will turn into bolls. Those bolls are what we harvest from the cotton plant, which is where the cotton lint is housed. We want our cotton to focus more on producing bolls than producing too many leaves because in the end, we get paid by how much lint is harvested. Under certain conditions, cotton plants will actually cannibalize young bolls to put on more vegetative growth. This is the exact opposite of what we want.

Another factor PGRs let us manage is the maturity of the bolls. Unlike corn which stops growing vegetation once it enters its reproduction cycle (also known as a determinate plant), most cotton varieties are indeterminate plants, meaning they can still put on more leaves and branches even after they have started to set bolls on lower branches. This is a challenge for farmers because the bolls on the bottom of the plant could be ripe weeks in advance of those on the top of the plant without the proper use of PGRs. This can result in bolls that are either 1) ruined by overexposure to the weather for bolls at the bottom of the plant or 2) left in the field because they aren’t ripe at harvest for bolls at the top of the plant. This, again, results in money lost for the farmer.

How do we know if/when to use PGRs?

Cotton will often start to take off growing when the weather is wet and cooler than normal. Throughout the cotton’s life cycle, we monitor closely the length of the main stalk between branches, known as the internode. While the actual length at which farmers determine to use a PGR depends on many factors, the practice of measuring the internodes for excessive growth is common throughout the Cotton Belt. If the length of the internode exceeds the recommended length for our expected yield, geography and length of season, we will administer an application of a PGR.

How do we use PGRs?

Like other chemical applications we make to our cotton, we apply the PGR using our sprayer at the recommended rate. We pay close attention to the amount applied to the cotton so that we don’t waste money on over-applying a chemical that could adversely affect the crop. Spraying too much or too often with PGRs is detrimental to growing cotton because it can result in a plant without enough leaves to fuel the production of flowers and bolls.

As with any chemical application farmers use on a crop, it is a careful balance between not spraying and spraying too much. Farmers monitor their crops very closely to determine if and when a chemical application may be needed to control the loss of yield. They will then have to determine if the loss of yield would result in a greater economic impact than the price of the chemical. It is tricky, but that’s what make farmers great at their job. They don’t just throw money (aka chemical) at crops if the crop doesn’t need it.



Above: Here's an inside view of the sprayer. This monitor controls the autosteer, which allows the operator to make the application without overlapping. Autosteer is controlled through GPS and is accurate within inches! The GPS follows the sprayer through the field, tracking what has been sprayed and what hasn't. As the sprayer reaches a place that has been sprayed, the booms of the sprayer will stop spraying based on what the GPS tells them. This has allowed for much more targeted and precise application of chemicals.



Above: Another photo taken from the cab of the boom applying the PGR to the cotton. Most of the liquid being sprayed is water with just a very small portion of the solution being the actual PGR. 



And here's my adorable husband riding comfortably in the sprayer - no crazy white suit necessary! 

What questions do you have about PGRs, growing cotton, or applying chemicals to crops? 

2 comments:

  1. Creative design, responsive themes, functional websites, great apps and custom software is what we do.http://www.aqtsoft.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, I am Theresa Williams After being in relationship with Anderson for years, he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to my friend and she suggested that I should rather contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that never believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I mailed the spell caster, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4 pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem. email: drogunduspellcaster@gmail.com you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or any other Case.

      1) Love Spells
      2) Lost Love Spells
      3) Divorce Spells
      4) Marriage Spells
      5) Binding Spell.
      6) Breakup Spells
      7) Banish a past Lover
      8.) You want to be promoted in your office/ Lottery spell
      9) want to satisfy your lover
      Contact this great man if you are having any problem for a lasting solution
      through drogunduspellcaster@gmail.com

      Delete