For a second year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted Texas cotton growers emergency approval to use Topguard fungicide to control cotton root rot. The emergency exemption will be in effect from Feb. 1, 2013 until June 30, 2013.

Topguard will allow cotton growers to shorten their rotation cycle between cotton crops as well as consider growing cotton in fields that they have avoided in years due to cotton root rot, according to Cheminova, the manufacturer of Topguard. It has the active substance flutriafol, which is the only one identified as the true solution for growers that must control cotton root rot.

Cotton growers asked the EPA for the use of Topguard because the root rot makes some fields unusable for growing cotton, and because of the flutriafol active ingredient’s control of root rot in 2012 treated fields, cotton yields were saved. EPA granted the first emergency exemption for the cotton use of the chemistry in early 2012, and the fungicide was used widely throughout Texas

"In South Texas, cotton root rot is a tremendous problem," said Mark Sugarek, a Beeville, Texas, cotton grower. "I put Topguard on an irrigated farm that dies 90 percent or better from cotton root rot when planted to cotton. The product worked. I would try it elsewhere in a heartbeat."