Doing your homework when selecting cotton varieties is one of the most critical decisions you will make all season.
The cottonseed varieties you choose to plant rank as one of the most important decisions you’ll make all season. Keep in mind that yield potential and fiber quality varies with each variety, so choosing wisely gives the most potential for highest profits.
Choosing the most adapted variety with the highest fiber quality is essential because more than 70 percent of U.S. cotton is sold for export. International mills demand higher quality standards and specifications than domestic mills.
With the many varieties, traits and seed treatments available, it makes good sense to take the time to do your homework. You will need to sort through information and decide what’s best for your individual fields, soil types and overall farming operation. Consider a checklist as you make decisions about selecting varieties:
- Seek advice
Talk to your neighbors, consultant, seed company representatives, university cotton specialists and ag retailers. Tailor your variety choices to individual fields.
- Trial data
Look for variety trial and performance data over multiple years. Universities, seed companies and retailers conduct yearly trials of varieties that are standard choices as well as the new varieties entering the marketplace.
- Multiple varieties
Plant three or more cotton varieties each growing season. Weather conditions, soil types, disease and insect pests can affect the performance of a specific variety. Planting multiple varieties spreads out your risk and provides the opportunity to learn which ones work best for individual fields.
- Early-Season Vigor
Choose varieties with early-season vigor to enhance your overall crop outcome. Early vigor can help diminish threats from weeds, insects and diseases. The first 40 days after planting are critical to cotton seedling vigor and plant health.
- Seed genetics
Select cottonseed genetics carefully. Plant newer varieties plus your tried-and-true varieties. Select diverse cotton varieties with various traits, maturities, disease and insect susceptibility, as well as herbicide tolerance to control tough-to-manage weeds. Planting diverse varieties is a sound management practice that will help spread risk and enhance your chances for achieving high quality and yields.
Choose the seed traits, both native and transgenic, that are needed in your cropping system. For example, several varieties protect against various diseases, insects and nematodes. Decide which ones best fit your circumstances.
- Seed treatments
Use a professionally applied seed treatment containing fungicide, insecticide and nematicide to help protect your seed investment, establish a good stand and enhance yields.
- Maturity ratings
Closely examine the maturity ratings of varieties. Think about your projected planting dates and which cottonseed variety choices will fit. Another consideration is that selecting different maturity ratings can help even out harvesting times.
Bayer offers a portfolio of products to help cotton growers maximize yields and enhance fiber quality, including Stoneville® and FiberMax® cotton seed. Use the cotton variety selector tool to find the seed variety that best fits your farm, or contact your local Bayer representative.
Bayer, the Bayer Cross, Stoneville and FiberMax are registered trademarks of Bayer.