December 10, 2008

2 Min Read

Stoneville says its cotton seed varieties are recognized for their early emergence and seedling vigor, and this year, growers and consultants are seeing the advantage at harvest.

West Tennessee grower Eugene Pugh said his crop of new ST 4498B2RF showed high yield potential despite tough weather conditions.

“Even with cool, wet planting conditions and the mid-season drought we experienced in West Tennessee, the early season vigor and stand establishment of ST 4498B2RF got my crop off to a great start,” said Pugh, who farms about 4,000 acres of cotton near Halls, Tenn. “When the plants come up with strong vigor they can fight insect pressure better, and we think this gives us better boll retention later in the season.”

Pugh, who planted about 600 acres of ST 4498B2RF on irrigated and dryland acres, said his boll retention rate ranged from 92 percent to 95 percent. He planted the variety on varying soil types.

Pugh’s consultant, Billy Beegle from Dyersburg, Tenn., agreed the early season vigor helped overcome difficult weather. He consults on cotton acres in Tennessee and the Missouri Bootheel and was impressed with the emergence and boll load of ST 4498B2RF throughout the area.

“At planting, it was barely dry enough to get through the field, and then it would usually rain right behind the planter,” Beegle said. “ST 4498B2RF and the other Stoneville varieties came up growing well this year under those difficult conditions. With the wet weather, you would expect to see a lot of replants, but that was not the case with the Stoneville varieties.”

Beegle said varieties that thrived in the early season of 2008 will have a good future in his area. Early emergence means plants begin to develop bolls faster and set more fruit, which gives growers a chance for higher yields. In drier mid-season conditions, boll development slows down; but a good, early fruit set can offset potential yield loss later in the season.

“When you start out early with healthy plants, you are able to withstand any pests or environmental factors going against you later in the season,” said Macon LaFoe, Bayer CropScience Mid-South cotton agronomist. “Negative environmental factors cause delayed maturity and can impact yield. With good emergence and early season vigor, you get healthy plants that push through the season toward maturity and harvest, and this means increased yields and profitability.”

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