Most everyone in Southeast cotton production agrees that there will likely never be another single cotton variety that will cover as much of the acreage as DP 555 BG/RR.
Although the transition period is still in its early stages, researchers can point out some differences that will require management adjustments from producers.
Jared Whitaker, University of Georgia Extension cotton agronomist, says, as far as the shift goes, the crop is faring well thus far.
Whitaker says one change is that obtaining a good cotton stand will likely be easier with the variety transition.
“Most of the new varieties will likely be easier to get out of the ground than DP 555,” he says.
However, Whitaker notes, Georgia farmers have scaled back on the number of seed they plant because of cost.
“We have been able to decrease the number of seed planted per acre and still maintain good yields,” he says. “This may have been related to the growth pattern of DP 555 BG/RR and its ability to compensate for thin plant stands. This is not to say that new varieties can’t be planted at these seeding rates, but when less than perfect stands occur, we haven’t had enough experience with individual varieties to say that yields will remain where we want them.”
New Varieties More Typical
“DP 555 was an aggressive, full-season variety that would grow vigorously, but if the weather turned dry, it could sit in a dry spell and not cut out,” says Guy Collins, University of Georgia Extension agronomist. “These newer ones tend to follow a more typical growth model and do not seem to have the capacity to grow and continue to set fruit after a dry spell.
“We traditionally have to apply PGRs before flowering occurs to control the vigorous growth of DP 555 BG/RR, and these early applications could have a negative impact on less vigorous varieties,” Whitaker says.
The reason for this is that with a more determinate growth pattern, some varieties may not reach their full potential if PGR applications stunt growth and reduce the number of sites where the variety sets fruit, especially in dryland situations.
“But,” he says, “we do have some varieties that have been growing very quickly, and an early season PGR application may be necessary.
“Producers should be cautious and not overly aggressive,” Whitaker adds. “As the bloom period progresses, these varieties may not need an additional application of PGRs.”
Long Way To Go
Whitaker says most producers are pleased with the new varieties.
“I think that the yield potential of these new varieties is as good or better than DP 555 BG/RR, but we’ll need to see a little more of them in a more typical Georgia growing season to really see which ones can fit our area.”
Contact Amanda Huber at (352) 486-7006 or firstname.lastname@example.org.