Daniel Fromme, Guillory, Brad M., Dickson, John I., Leonard, Billy R., Hayes, James A., Stapp, John, Woolam, Brandi C., Talbot, Timothy, Caldwell, William D., Boquet, Donald J., Clawson, Ernest L., Price, Joshua S. | 2/5/2009 3:16:00 PM
Variety selection is one of the most important decisions a cotton farmer will make for the entire growing season. The variety, and associated traits in that variety, set the stage for harvest at the time of planting. All other input decisions become supplemental after the variety is selected. Variety selection has become increasingly important since the introduction of transgenic cottons and concurrent increases in seed costs and technology fees. Moreover, variety selection is the one decision a producer makes that is not influenced by weather or other environmental factors. Therefore, choosing a high-yielding variety with acceptable fiber quality that is adapted to local growing conditions should be given careful consideration because of the tremendous importance of this decision for the entire season.
Choosing a cotton variety can be difficult, and the availability of many different transgenic traits complicates the process. The more informed the decision the better; therefore, this publication strives to provide as much information as possible to growers concerning cotton variety performance over a wide range of conditions. The information reported concerning measured performance of cotton varieties in Louisiana should be extremely useful as a primary source of information for choosing varieties.
Producers should be mindful that OVTs can never identify the best single variety for all soils and conditions. Producers should always plant multiple varieties – selected from the top performers in the OVTs that are closest to their production region. This decision is one of the best to spread crop management activities and mitigate risk from adverse environmental conditions. There are always differences in performance of individual varieties from one year to the next. However, in most years those among the top 10% of the highest-yielding varieties generally remain there for several seasons. So the best variety for a particular farm very likely resides among the top yielders in the OVT, but no one can be certain exactly which of those top yielding varieties will be the highest yielder for the upcoming year. This is actually a good thing because it gives producers the option to select from as many as 5 to 10 varieties with different traits, knowing that any one of those may be the best for next year’s crop. The majority of a grower’s acreage should be devoted to proven varieties. Newer varieties should be tried on limited acreage until further testing is completed.