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Adjust for seed size, vigor in planting 2019 cotton crop

A shift in germplasm moves cotton specialist towards smaller seeded cotton.

When a cotton variety has fewer than 5,400 to 5,500 seed per pound, that should raise caution flags for growers, says Dr. Tyson Raper, Extension cotton specialist with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture.

“When you get any smaller than 5,400 seed per pound, you could have some real issues getting cotton up in a stressful environment,” said Raper, speaking at the Winter Production Meeting held by the Extension staffs in Fayette and Hardeman counties in Middleton, Tenn.

“I love the vigor you find in 4,500 seeds per pound,” he said. “We’ve seen a shift in germplasm; we’ve moved toward that smaller seeded cotton. “Now we’re taking a step back based on some issues with vigor. I would say that if you have an acre where you typically have an issue getting a stand, don’t select these smaller-seeded varieties.

“If you do, I would encourage you to up the seeding rate a little bit. There are some exceptions to the small-seeded category where varieties have good seedling vigor.”

Raper said the decision-making becomes even more important if you’re planting a cover crop. “You definitely need to lean toward the larger-seeded cultivars in these kinds of conditions.”

For more on Raper’s comments, visit (link to first video Cotton variety selection more complicated in 2019 than before)

TAGS: Crops
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