By Bill Robertson, Extension Cotton Agronomist
As of November 12, approximately 90 percent of the states’ cotton acreage has been harvested. Unfortunately we are not that far along with our variety trials. We still have 6 locations across the state that have yet to be harvested. We have 4 locations harvested and ginned with results included in the pdf linked below.
Many producers are in the process of evaluating varieties for next year. Attached is a sneak preview of the data we have right now.
Variety selection is perhaps the most important decision a producer makes. Once planted, no amount of worry, work, or money can make up for a poor decision. Our recommendations for planting is that roughly two-thirds of your acres be planted with varieties that are proven on your farm. Of the remaining acres, limit new varieties to no more than 10% of your total acreage. The remaining 25% should be dedicated to those varieties in which you have limited experience. This strategy provides stability while allowing for evaluation of new varieties.
There are a number of unbiased information sources available to assist in selecting new varieties. Our primary source is the University Variety Testing Program. Results from the Arkansas OVT conducted by Dr. Fred Bourland may be found at https://arkansas-variety-testing.uark.edu/cotton.aspx soon.
A great deal of information is collected in the OVT and presented in a way to help evaluate fiber quality, maturity, growth characteristics, and other variety traits as well as yield. County data included in this blog will also be included in the University Variety Testing Program publication.
Don’t restrict yourself to your home state or area. In Arkansas, it is appropriate to evaluate variety performance trials from neighboring states in the Mid-South. Evaluating the consistency of a variety under a wide array of conditions will be beneficial.
Contact your local county Extension agent for assistance in obtaining or interpreting variety performance data and to get the date and location of upcoming county production meetings.