Cotton farmers who are preparing to “pull the trigger” on their 2007 crop may find that some defoliants will help produce lint bales with better grades than others, according to a new study.

FMC Corp. says field trials conducted in Arkansas indicated that more than twice as many bales treated with Aim EC herbicide as a cotton defoliant graded G2 or higher than those treated with a competing product.

All told, 35.5 percent of the bales defoliated with Aim EC in the tests were graded G1 or G2 while only 16.6 percent treated with other defoliants were graded as highly.

“Our study results show that cotton defoliated with Aim EC defoliant produces lint of equal or better quality than cotton treated with other defoliants,” said Stu Throop, FMC product manager.

“Aim is an ideal defoliant for cotton because it performs consistently, even in fluctuating autumn temperatures, and it desiccates problem broadleaf weeds effectively, meaning less wear and tear on equipment, less trash in the lint and increased profitability for the grower.”

Throop said the field studies in Arkansas were conducted under extremely wet conditions in 2004. Each of the eight test sites were replicated in a paired comparison between defoliation tank-mix programs with Aim EC at a rate of 0.5 to 0.75 ounce per acre vs. other tank-mix programs without Aim EC.

Besides a higher percentage of bales that received grades G1 and G2, bales defoliated with tank-mixes containing competing products also had higher amounts of pin trash, according to Throop.

Plots treated with Aim EC, for example, had only half as many bales that received a (pin) trash grade of TR3 compared to those treated with other products, he noted.

“Overall, under adverse weather conditions, cotton bales ginned from cotton defoliated with Aim EC had a higher percentage of bales at superior grades than cotton treated with other materials,” he said.

Aim EC effectively desiccates and controls such weeds as cocklebur, hophorn copperleaf, morningglories, nightshade, pigweed, prickly sida, tropical spiderwort and velvetleaf while defoliating cotton, he noted.

It also removes juvenile growth and suppresses juvenile regrowth after defoliation if weather conditions remain favorable for cotton development. Additional applications may be recommended to remove cotton regrowth even after cotton has been defoliated.

Effective under a wide range of temperatures, the rate flexibility of Aim and adjuvants provides efficient defoliation without sticking leaves or boll. Used with a boll opener, Aim may also enhance boll opening.

Depending on use rates and application programs, growers can save up to $3.50 per acre versus applications of other products, said Throop.