What is in this article?:
- Group effort in tackling northeast Arkansas Roundup-resistant pigweeds.
- Effort paying off for cotton producers in Clay County.
COTTON PRODUCER GREG Engle, left, and Andy Vangilder, Clay County Extension staff chair, are part of a northeast Arkansas group dedicated to combating resistant pigweeds.
Resistant pigweeds have led to difficult choices for producers.
“One grower who rented ground with pigweeds told me he had to let his main farm slip a little because he was so intent on getting that new land cleaned up,” says Vangilder. “It cost him a little because he didn’t do as well on the main farm as he normally would.”
There is also the financial tightrope farmers are walking.
“Around here, everyone is making at least an effort to control pigweeds,” says Vangilder. “One dryland farmer did some things I’d recommended. Then, we didn’t get any rain and he quit.
“Well, I can’t say I don’t understand – there’s only so much money you can put into a dryland crop. Of course, that will hurt the farms around him with pigweeds migrating quickly. He knows that and feels bad about it. But what’s he supposed to do without the cash flow?
“So, the dryland issue is another issue with these pigweeds. What if you’re non-irrigated and don’t get a rain to activate the pre-emerge herbicides? Economically, where do you stop?”
However, if vigilant pigweed control is financially difficult now, what happens when the price of cotton slips?
Clay County producers, says Vangilder, “are committed and looking to the future. Right now, they’re making less profit on some of their fields by going zero-tolerance but they’re willing to do it.
“One reason for tackling it now is there’s no guarantee of $1-plus cotton in a year, or two. And you can’t do what they’re doing with 52-cent cotton. While they’ve got a chance to clean up and make some money at the same time, they’re on top of it.”