FMC Corporation is introducing Managed Maturity, a new, late-season cotton management practice that utilizes low rates of Aim herbicide to reduce unproductive top growth, in order to concentrate moisture and nutrient transport into the maturing crop. Benefits for cotton growers, says FMC, are additional management control and earlier harvest of maximum-yielding, high-quality cotton fiber.

“Managed Maturity applications with Aim herbicide control late-season terminal growth, allowing additional sunlight and air penetration through the canopy, which is a precursor to an easier, more profitable harvest for cotton growers,” says Sam Wilson, FMC product development manager responsible for Managed Maturity.

“By removing unproductive leaves, blooms, squares and immature fruit, growers can often increase the earliness of their crops.”

In Managed Maturity applications, a low use-rate of Aim is aerial-applied in solution with water and a crop oil concentrate (COC) adjuvant, when the cotton crop is at approximately 15 percent open boll stage. Growers and cotton consultants are urged to read and follow the Managed Maturity usage directions within the approved cotton labeling.

In addition to enabling earlier harvest, potentially increasing yields, and minimizing adverse weather losses, the Managed Maturity practice may hold additional benefits, Wilson says. “Removing rank terminal growth is likely to reduce boll rot and late-season insect pest pressure. Improved sunlight and air flow through the canopy means a less favorable environment for pathogens. This may eliminate the need for a late-season spray, meaning savings on crop protection.”

Field trials conducted in 2007 showed that, on average, Managed Maturity applications with Aim controlled more than 50 percent of upper terminals, with approximately 20 percent defoliation of the upper canopy.

Using Aim resulted in 10 to 15 percent more open bolls at the time of defoliation, allowing for easier, more efficient defoliation. In 57 percent of the Aim Managed Maturity field trials conducted by independent crop consultants, Aim herbicide boosted yields by approximately 35 pounds of lint per acre.

For Managed Maturity applications, Aim should be used at a rate of 3/8 ounce per acre and applied at the 15 percent open boll stage on cotton, including pima and upland varieties.