“Yield stability is the single most important factor in variety selection,” says Gaylon Morgan, PhD, Texas Extension cotton specialist.
“And one year is never the same as the next,” he says, “so be sure to look back at the last few years to evaluate yield stability, if the data is available.”
Yield stability and performance across multiple locations are among leading criteria, but Morgan advises producers to consider several other factors, such as fiber quality, when evaluating cotton varieties. Morgan also suggests producers plant a diversity of varieties.
“Each variety has its strengths and weaknesses, so choose wisely based on the limiting factors in each field,” he says. “Match the variety and technology to your major pest — whether weed or worm — in that field.”
Another advantage to planting multiple varieties is improved ability to manage harvests and preserve the quality of the cotton.
“We never know from one year to the next what will come our way. We can have early or late-season hurricanes, so it’s best to spread risks across maturities,” Morgan says.
PhytoGen Cotton Development Specialist Robert Lemon concurs.
“As Morgan indicates, planning two or more varieties, especially of differing maturities, makes good agronomic sense,” Lemon says.
He explains the addition of PHY 333 WRF and its excellent fiber quality package is the perfect complement to the midmaturing PHY 499 WRF.
“In the South Texas Extension RACE trials, PHY 499 WRF and PHY 333 WRF took the top two positions at 4 out of 5 locations,” Lemon says. “And in the Corpus Christi ‘Monster’ variety trial, PhytoGen occupied 6 of the 7 top positions. — Now that’s the measure of consistency.”
Overall, Morgan adds, the best thing producers can do is to learn from quality sources such as Extension replicated variety trials.
Byler Engelking of Robstown, Texas, agrees. After closely studying local Official Variety Trials and industry trials, Engelking first planted PhytoGen® cottonseed in 2008.
“It boils down to profitability of a variety,” Engelking says. “Yields vary from year- to- year, depending on moisture, but on average, PHY 499 WRF outyields everything else. And we’ve had it consistently come back at 41 to 42 percent turnout. That’s about as good as we see for commercially produced cotton in this area.”
Engelking plans to add PhytoGen® brand PHY 333 WRF to his operation in 2015. He says he’s been very impressed with the yield and quality of the variety in test plots and encourages others to consider it.
“It has high yield potential and it’s an early season variety,” he says. “We can experience late-season tropical storms here, so having an earlier variety that performs as good as 499 is very promising.”
Producers can access numerous cotton variety trials and other information pertaining to cotton production systems at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension website, http://cotton.tamu.edu, or by contacting their local PhytoGen cotton development specialist. To hear more from other growers and local data sheets, go to www.PhytoGen.com.