Experts say collaborative AgriLife Extension and Angelo State University effort should prove a boon to area farmers
Writer: Steve Byrns, 325-653-4576, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: Bill Thompson, 325-653-4576, email@example.com
SAN ANGELO – Experts with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Angelo State University said their “Cotton Root Rot Return to Treatment Calculator,” a producer decision aid for iPhone/iPad and android device users, is now available.
“Cotton root rot is a fungal disease that for decades has essentially eliminated thousands of acres of cotton across wide swaths of Texas,” said Bill Thompson, AgriLife Extension economist at San Angelo, one of the apps’ authors.
Producers who utilize Apple mobile devices, iPhones and iPads, can download the app from Apple’s iTunes Store www.apple.com, while android device users can download the app from the Google Play Store https://play.google.com . A spreadsheet version of the decision aid can be found at http://sanangelo.tamu.edu/extension/west-central-agricultural-economic/analytical-tools/ . All three versions of this producer decision aid are free to download and use.
“After years of work, AgriLife personnel cooperating with a number of producers discovered the fungicide TopGuard to be effective in controlling cotton root rot,” Thompson said. “But that control comes with a price, which today can easily exceed $40 per treated acre at recommended application rates. These recommendations also call for annual treatment of affected areas. This new decision aid is meant to help producers evaluate their cotton root rot control options by identifying economic thresholds for expected yields based on the percent of a field affected by cotton root rot.”
Thompson was joined in developing the app by Rick Minzenmayer, AgriLife Extension entomologist for Runnels and Tom Green counties, who was also one of the work’s key field investigators, and Dr. David Drake, AgriLife Extension agronomist at San Angelo. Thompson credits information technology personnel at Angelo State University for providing expertise to craft the programming and technical work into the much-needed app calculator.
“The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Root Rot Return to Treatment calculator only measures per acre changes to gross revenue directly attributable to the application of TopGuard,” Thompson said. “To keep the app simple, most other production practices are assumed to remain unchanged. As a result, this calculator only uses 10 variables that can be input by the user. Pre-set default values are also programmed into the calculator to give the user a starting point and help with any unknown figures.”
Thompson said the variables cover treatment costs (cost of Topguard and application rate) and any additional harvest and ginning costs associated with the anticipated increased cotton production, and finally, the value of the extra produced cotton and cottonseed.
The results will give the user a return to treatment at yields both above and below the expected yield and at different percentages of a field affected by cotton root rot, he said. With this information a producer can decide whether or not it is economically feasible to treat the field with TopGuard.