OSU's New Cotton Specialist Seth Byrd Offers His Advice for Growing Cotton in Non-Traditional AreasTue, 15 May 2018 12:30:00 CDT
Oklahoma State University Extension recently welcomed Seth Byrd on board as the state’s new Cotton Specialist, replacing recently retired, Randy Bowman. Byrd spoke with farmers from north Oklahoma last week during the Lahoma OSU Field Day, touching on best practices and considerations farmers should think about when planting cotton this year - a crop not traditionally seen in this area. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Associate Farm Director Carson Horn caught up with Byrd during the event to share in some of his advice offered producers that day. You can listen to that complete conversation between Byrd and Horn, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
“Really, it’s just getting back to the basics,” Byrd began. “When we’re in an area that’s probably not traditional cotton ground, we’re sort of just going back to what varieties work here and how to manage those varieties. Areas like this have a very short season environment. So, this crop is a little different from others in how we need to manage those inputs to make those pounds of lint high quality and marketable for the producer.”
While comparisons can be made to the extensive research that has been done on cotton in other traditional growing regions, Byrd says he has tried to step away from that research - instead looking more closely at the local environment to try and establish growing recommendations for area farmers.
“These are fairly new areas and cotton has become pretty popular, but we really need to have some local-based recommendations from trials that are conducted in these environments,” he said, “because it is different.”
Byrd encourages farmers that are interested in planting cotton in northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas, to stick to early maturing varieties that he insists will work best in the short season environment. Once you’ve landed on the right variety for your operation, he suggests you then carefully consider your resources and how you will manage your crop’s inputs. The rest is up to Mother Nature and how cooperative she will be. With the right planning and adequate research, though, Byrd maintains even the novice cotton grower will have a good chance of success.
“We’re in a great environment to grow cotton,” he said. “Just don’t overthink it. It’s not that complicated, certainly different, but no more complicated than growing a wheat or corn crop.”
Prior to joining OSU, Byrd worked on the cotton scene in Lubbock, Texas where he eventually landed after moving from his home state of North Carolina.
“It’s a really neat situation to walk into with the growth of Oklahoma cotton and a new set of challenges,” he said. “I’m just thrilled to be here and excited to get the 2018 season started.”
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