Cotton Farming August 2020

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NexGen® Varieties Tested in Americot’s ACE Trial Program


mericot’s investment into the research and development (R&D) of high yielding, high quality varieties has expanded over the last three years into a full-scale field trial program called Americot Cotton Evaluation (ACE) Trials. This year, our nine Germplasm Specialists across the cotton belt have collectively planted 217 ACE Trials with cooperating growers. “These trials will be very helpful to not only our R&D and sales teams, but especially our growers. We are generating information on water utilization, plant growth regulator (PGR) response and input management that will provide our growers insight and confidence in our current variety line-up and future releases,” says Dr. Doug Jost, Director of Research and Germplasm. “Every piece of data, from heat tolerance to PGR management, provides knowledge to our sales teams and growers alike. It builds grower confidence in NexGen® varieties knowing they have the power to perform under their own growing conditions in their own specific regions.”

SHANE HALFMANN Central and South Texas 2020 started off dry in South Texas, causing growers to plant deep, chasing moisture. But as luck would have it some areas got a big rain event following planting, causing widespread replants. I was concerned about the late-planted cotton, but a wet summer has allowed the crop to reach full potential. The early-March planted cotton also looks beautiful. At the time of this writing, I do not want to speculate, but it’s a very strong crop with excellent yield potential. NG 4936 B3XF and NG 4098 B3XF look very good in the Coastal Bend. The Upper Coast had a similar weather pattern and insect pressure was light across the whole region. Fruit retention was high, allowing for easier management. I think this will also allow for an earlier harvest season, which is always beneficial as we strive to avoid any tropical weather events. NG 5711 B3XF remains our number one variety here, but NG 4936 B3XF looks very good and the two varieties complement each other on the farm. In central Texas many growers got a Father’s Day gift in the form of a timely rain. The cotton was just beginning to bloom, and soil

moisture was limiting. NG 4936 B3XF and NG 5711 B3XF are both looking strong here, as well. We are fortunate to have several new options in our ACE Trials this year. AMX 19B001 B3XF and AMX 19B003 B3XF are being tested for the first time in 2020. We implemented 27 ACE Trials across the region with excellent grower-cooperators and are looking forward to great trial results.

BROOKS BLANCHE, PH.D. South Delta The 2020 cotton season began with negativity surrounding the trade war and relations with China, a major buyer of US Cotton. Because of the depressed prices resulting from reduced U.S. exports to China, cotton acres dropped significantly below last year’s levels. In some areas, cotton acreage is estimated to be 50% lower compared to last year. A grower made the comment to me, “So far, 2020 tastes like toothpaste and orange juice.” That is the bad news. The good news is that planting conditions were better than last year, and replants were down significantly. Cotton has grown nicely and has benefited from better rainfall than we’ve seen in recent years. Going into the major bloom period, we are in a good position to make high yields a reality. One component of working in R&D is that we are living and working in 2020 but preparing for 2021. We have approximately 25 unique ACE Trials scattered throughout the South Delta and we will have a very good understanding of variety performance and characteristics of new varieties heading into 2021. In addition to multi-location yield data, I’m also looking at several trial sets evaluating soil type preferences of varieties. Attempts are made to manage planting date, location, fertility, etc. identically such that the only differing factor is soil texture. It never ceases to amaze me just how differently varieties perform on a Sharkey clay compared to a Commerce silt loam. As any grower knows, cotton varieties are often specifically adapted to certain soil characteristics, e.g., NG 5711 B3XF on clay-textured soils. This research gives us a better understanding of new varieties and their management characteristics beyond their “average” yields.

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