University of Arkansas releases 2020 county cotton variety testing update

• By Bill Robertson •

Bill Robertson, University of Arkansas
Bill Robertson,

Harvest of the final large-plot county variety test was a long time coming with only one location where we were unable to beat the picker to the field. We strive to release yield information as quickly as possible to allow for unbiased comparisons to assist in the variety selection process for next year.

Seed providers are encouraging producers to book seed now. Early booking does often increase the likelihood of availability of some of our most popular varieties.

Twelve varieties were included in our 2020 testing program including DP 1646 B2XF, which represented the most widely planted variety in 2019. Average rankings were calculated across only the locations in which all 12 varieties were included.

This table will be updated to include value per acre once HVI fiber quality data is available. Planting dates and final plant population data are included to better allow evaluation of varieties as influenced by these factors.

Variety selection is perhaps the most important decision a producer makes. Once planted, no amount of worry, work or money can make up for a poor decision. Our recommendations for planting is that roughly two-thirds of your acres be planted with varieties that are proven on your farm.

Of the remaining acres, limit new varieties to no more than 10% of your total acreage. The remaining 25% should be dedicated to those varieties in which you have limited experience. This strategy provides stability while allowing for evaluation of new varieties.

arkansas cotton harvest
“Pickers were rolling in this field of DP 2012 B3XF near Marianna, Arkansas, trying to get out in front of the rain expected from Hurricane Delta,” says Arkansas cotton specialist Bill Robertson. “There were actually four pickers out there, but I could only capture three in this photo” — Photo by Bill Robertson

There are a number of unbiased information sources available to assist in selecting new varieties. Our primary source is the University Variety Testing Program. Results from the county tests and the Arkansas OVT conducted by Dr. Fred Bourland may be found at

A great deal of information is collected in the OVT and presented in a way to help evaluate fiber quality, maturity, growth characteristics and other variety traits as well as yield. County data included in this blog will also be included in the University Variety Testing Program publication.

Don’t restrict yourself to your home state or area. In Arkansas, it is appropriate to evaluate variety performance trials from neighboring states in the Mid-South. Evaluating the consistency of a variety under a wide array of conditions will be beneficial.

Contact your local county Extension agent for assistance in obtaining or interpreting variety performance data and to get the date and location of upcoming county production meetings.

2020 Arkansas Summary of County Cotton Variety Tests
Dr. Bill Robertson is University of Arkansas cotton agronomist. He may be reached at

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