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Cotton variety selection more complicated in 2019 than before

Agronomists studying 58 new varieties.

Agronomists with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture are looking at 58 new varieties in the Official Variety trials the scientists are conducting in the western part of the state this year.

“When I started here we were looking at 35 varieties in the OVTs,” said Dr. Tyson Raper, Extension cotton specialist with the University of Tennessee. “Now we’re looking at 58. A lot of this is introduction to Bollgard 3. We have a lot of experimentals to look at.”

Raper, who was recently named Cotton Specialist of the Year at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences, said variety selection may be the next most important decision growers make after deciding which crop to plant in 2019. He also noted the selection process is much more difficult than it was 30 years ago when growers had only a few parameters to consider.

Besides the Official Variety Trials, Raper and UT agronomists are also conducting 12 county standard trials covering west Tennessee from the Mississippi to the Kentucky lines and three large, on-farm trials looking at from 12 to 18 varieties.

His comments were made at the Winter Production Meeting held by the Extension staffs in Fayette and Hardeman counties at the University of Tennessee’s Lone Oaks Farms near Middleton, Tenn.

For more information on variety selection, visit

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