As Arkansas cotton breeder Fred Bourland noted in last month’s issue of Cotton Farming, the landscape has changed for varieties. Before the mid-1990s, producers had to decide which conventional varieties they would plant. Transgenic cotton had yet to be introduced, so it was not an option at that time.
However, once transgenic cotton did become available to farmers, Bourland says, “Transgenic cotton in Arkansas increased from less than one percent of the acreage in 1995 to more than 99 percent in 2004, and similar shifts occurred in most other states.”
Recently, a shift back to conventional varieties has occurred on some cotton acres as producers battle gly-phosate-resistant weeds, such as Palmer amaranth, and, according to Bourland, “newly developed insecticides can provide worm control comparable to Bollgard II and WideStrike.”
Last month, Cotton Farming asked its readers if they are planning to include any conventional varieties in their mix for 2012. Nineteen percent of the respondents say they do intend to add conventional varieties to their mix, and eight percent say they might give them a try.
The majority (seventy-three percent) of the respondents indicate that they are sticking with transgenic varieties for now.
Following is a sampling of the comments that we received from Cotton Farming’s Web Poll respondents who wished to share their thoughts regarding how they voted.
• “I believe there are conventional varieties on the market that will do as well or even better than most tech cotton varieties here in the Mid-South. They will just require more aggressive management practices.”
• “The tech cotton does not always do better. In the south Texas dryland, DPL 491 still will outdo any tech cotton over 80 percent of the time. With the unpredictable, extremely dry, then extremely wet weather, the risk of high seed cost does not come back on the last six years’ average.”
• “I planted a non-Bt cotton variety in 2011 on a few acres, but it didn’t work out for me. I will stay with Bollgard II as well as a mix of Round-up Ready and LibertyLink cotton in rotation on my farming operation.”
• “I live in Canoe, Ala., (60 miles east of Mobile) where I performed a major experiment with three conventional varieties this year. The yields ranged from 900 pounds to 200 pounds per acre. There were several factors that determined the yield difference.
“Planting dates ranged from April 15 to the last week in June. Part of these acres were a replanting substitute. I planted some cotton three times. CT Linwood did the best for me.
“Next year, I plan to plant CT310CT – a taller variety. Envoke, Intensity One and Staple cleaned it up. I never had to pix it and never sprayed for insects. I didn’t see a stink bug until September. It cost $88 for a 60-pound sack that was double treated. Then I had CPS add Avicta.” Wiley Farrar, Canoe, Ala.
• “As long as the seed and tech companies offer a refund for a drought loss, I am staying with herbicide-resistant Bt cotton.”
Winter is planning time for cotton producers, and one of the decisions they have to make is how many acres of cotton they intend to plant in 2012. With this thought in mind, Cotton Farming is asking its readers what factor will have the most influence on their decision.
Go to cottonfarming.com to cast your vote and share your comments. Please include where your farming operation is located, so readers can better relate to what you are talking about. Results of the December poll will be reported in the January issue of Cotton Farming.
Web Poll Results
Are you going to include any conventional cotton varieties in your mix this year?
• Yes – 19%
• No – 73%
• Maybe – 8%
December Web Poll Question
Which of the following factors will have the most influence on the number of cotton acres you plan to plant in 2012? Explain your choice in the “Comments” section.
(3) Long-term weather forecast
(4) New Farm Bill
Register your vote at www.cottonfarming.com