PGRs Key for Cotton Producers

Clint Thompson Cotton, Georgia

File photo shows a cotton field.

By Clint Thompson

The Georgia Cotton Commission reminds producers about the importance of plant growth regulators (PGRs) this time of year.

Camp Hand

Camp Hand, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Cotton Agronomist, discusses the significance of using PGRs, which are chemicals that help slow down the cotton growth, not shrink it.

“With most of the crop squaring, I’d be in the field looking, especially, in those areas where you’ve got a lot of nitrogen under your crop, aggressive varieties and it’s irrigated and then you’ve got a high likelihood of rank growth,” said Hand, who added that at least 52% of Georgia’s crop is squaring. “Growers know their fields better than anybody. There are hot spots where cotton will get rank more in some spots than it will in others. Those areas are the ones I’d be focused on in terms of PGRs.”

Hand stresses the importance of getting ahead early and applying 8 to 12 ounces of Pix. He said for dryland producers, it’s key to wait closer to bloom to decide, as PGRs could stunt the growth.

Why Do it?

PGRs improve harvesting efficiency. If PGRs were not used, the cotton plant could grow as high as it wanted. That would not be ideal come harvest time.

“At the end of the year, it’s a whole lot easier to pick something that’s 4- or 5-foot tall than it is something that’s 7- or 8-foot tall. If you didn’t use PGRs, a lot of that cotton would end up growing just as long as it could,” Hand said.

PGRs can also control rank growth and any subsequent boll rot and disease issues.

“This is a very complex decision. There’s a lot of things that go into it, whether it be variety, historic growth in that field, fertility. Is it irrigated or dry land? There’s a lot of things that contribute to the decision to pull the trigger on PGRs,” Hand said.