UT student wins competition at Beltwide Cotton Conference


Credit: Ginger Rowsey

JACKSON, Tenn. – Shawn Butler, a doctoral candidate in the University of Tennessee's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, won first place in a student oral paper competition at the 2017 Beltwide Cotton Conference in Dallas. Butler's presentation was titled, "Influence of Droplet Size and Number of Orifices on Fungicide Efficacy in Corynespora cassiicola Infected Cotton."

Corynespora cassiicola is a fungal pathogen that causes target spot in cotton and soybeans. Target spot is a relatively new disease in the Southeast but has already caused significant yield losses in cotton fields near the Gulf coast. While target spot is not currently considered a major threat in Mid-South crop production, researchers with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture are evaluating measures to reduce its impact.

Butler's study concluded that neither droplet size nor number of exit orifices had an effect on disease control or yield in cotton infected with target spot. Butler also noted that within the study there was no significant difference in disease control or yield between cotton treated with a fungicide application and untreated cotton.

"This is a common occurrence in Tennessee in that, although symptoms may become severe, the timing in which infection occurs is not currently affecting yield in the northern portion of the cotton belt," says Butler. "In more southern areas, such as Alabama and Mississippi, yield loss is often noticed, requiring a fungicide application to protect the crop."

Butler's presentation involved research conducted while he was completing his masters degree with UT's Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. Dr. Heather Kelly served as his major professor. The two-year study took place at the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center in Jackson, Tennessee. Butler evaluated the efficacy of broadcast applications of a locally systemic fungicide when using two droplet size ranges (fine-medium and coarse). Within each droplet size range, two nozzles were utilized possessing either a single or dual exit orifice.

He presented his research during the Beltwide's Cotton Disease Council Student Oral Paper Competition on January 5, 2017.

Other notable achievements by UT CASNR students at the Beltwide Cotton Conference include Scott Graham, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, who received second place in the Cotton Insect Research and Control – PhD Student Competition and Cole Condra, Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, who received second place in the Cotton Engineering and Ginning Systems Conference. Freeman Brown, a UT Martin student and student assistant at the West Tennessee AgResearch Center, received first place for his poster entry in the Cotton Agronomy, Physiology, and Soil Conference.


Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. ag.tennessee.edu

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Ginger Rowsey
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