Last year, producer Gary Evitt, of Lubbock County, Texas, harvested his 40th cotton crop on Evitt Farms. When he grew his first crop in 1970, the southern High Plains was stripper cotton country. Evitt remembers planting stripper varieties like Paymaster 303 and Paymaster 909.
Today, Evitt, in partnership with his wife Virginia, farms a little more than 1,800 acres – mostly cotton. Out of 1,750 cotton acres, 1,400 acres are irrigated, and the rest are dryland.
Thanks to great strides made by dedicated cotton breeders, Evitt now grows picker-type varieties that he harvests with a cotton stripper. In 2010, he planted FM 9170B2F, FM 9160B2F, FM 9180B2F, FM 9103GT, DP 1032 B2RF, NG 3348 B2RF and NG 4012 B2RF.
Different Variety Criteria
Producers Face Challenges On The Texas High Plains
When asked what factors he considers when making variety choices, Evitt says each of his farms has different criteria. For example, he has some farms with verticillium wilt problems. In that case, he has to plant varieties with the most tolerance to verticillium wilt.
Another consideration is a farm’s irrigation water.
“If a farm has adequate water, we need to plant a variety that will respond to that increase in water,” Evitt says. “If one of the farms doesn’t have as much water, then we plant a more indeterminate variety that has more capability to wait on a rain.”
One of the varieties Evitt planted last year contained new GlyTol glyphosate-tolerant technology.
According to Bayer CropScience, GlyTol gives cotton producers season-long, in-plant tolerance to glyphosate herbicide and offers them the flexibility to select any brand of glyphosate labeled for use on cotton without concern for crop safety.
Evitt believes GlyTol cotton creates competition and “competition is good,” he says.
“However, even if 9103 didn’t have the GlyTol technology, it’s a very good variety, and the bolls are huge,” Evitt adds. “That particular field of cotton was rained on, hailed on and even withstood a 50 mph wind and didn’t blow out. I was real impressed with 9103’s stormproofness. That’s real important in West Texas.”
West Texas PGR Program
Evitt says his plant growth regulator program is important, too. He typically applies Stance at pinhead square or just a “hair” before.
“With some of the more aggressive varieties, we may come back with another application as needed, but we’ve found that it’s easier to prevent a problem rather than fix it,” he says. “If you’re using a plant growth regulator, the yields will be the same, sometimes the grade is a little better, and it may speed up plant maturity from eight to 10 days.
“The main thing” Evitt says, “ is that a plant growth regulator determines whether you have a big plant or a little one. And the little one is a whole lot easier to strip.”
Contact Carroll Smith at (901) 767-4020 or firstname.lastname@example.org.