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Choose Wisely For A Strong Start, Big Finish

Scott Asher, Ph.D. Regional Agronomy Manager, BASF Spring Hope, North Carolina

  • B.S., agronomy, Texas A&M University. M.S. and Ph.D. in crop science with an emphasis in weed science, Texas Tech University.
  • 2016 distinguished alumnus: Texas Tech University, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
  • Held various technical, marketing and managerial roles during 20-plus year career with BASF. Currently manages the agronomic service team in the Delta, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast that support the Stoneville cotton seed and Credenz® soybean seed brands for BASF.
  • From a family farm that still operates today, raising cotton, corn and grain sorghum for seed in the Texas panhandle.
  • Celebrated 20 years of marriage to Stephanie in September.

Harvest season is a rewarding time. It is the celebration of a little luck, lots of hard work and the result of many decisions that were made during the year in the effort to produce a successful crop. Taking time to reflect on the season is also an important task, especially with regard to your cotton variety selections.

Here are some things to consider in making choices for 2020.

  • Did the cotton varieties I selected in 2019 help me reach my yield and fiber quality targets?
  • Did they meet my expectations in terms of emergence, stand establishment, vigor and management style?
  • Are there gaps in my variety lineup that need to be addressed to help me meet challenges, such as root-knot nematode pressure?

The Stoneville® cotton seed lineup offers trait packages that growers and consultants are looking for when making variety choices. We are seeing great performance across the Stoneville portfolio. It offers choices in traits, maturities, and disease and pest control packages tailored to the specific needs of our customers. The roster of GlyTol® LibertyLink® TwinLink® Plus varieties, such as ST 4550GLTP and ST 5471GLTP, continue to perform across the entire Eastern Cotton Belt. Also, our newly commercialized XtendFlex® varieties — ST 5600B2XF, ST 4990B3XF and ST 5610B3XF — have done extremely well, and we are excited to offer this technology in a Stoneville bag.

Getting a good stand was challenging in many parts of the Eastern Cotton Belt due to the weather and seed quality issues in 2019. Selecting varieties with good seed quality and early season vigor are important considerations to help ensure a strong start to the season.

Increased insect and disease pressure in some parts of the Eastern Cotton Belt will also be a driver in cotton variety selection. In parts of the Delta and the Mid-Atlantic, increased worm pressure will push cotton seed variety selection to three-gene Bt varieties, such as ST 5471GLTP and ST 4990B3XF. Damage from root-knot nematodes in 2019 will be on some growers’ minds as they search for high-performing resistance varieties, such as ST 5600B2XF.

Minimizing risk, especially associated with weather, is something else to consider. One way to help reduce the risk or even maximize the opportunity that weather brings is to plant multiple varieties on the farm, especially those with different maturities. Some varieties are better able to withstand tough situations, and others have that top-end yield potential that can be achieved under optimum conditions. Planting the entire farm to one variety puts you at increased risk if it can’t handle challenging conditions or maximize favorable conditions.

Take time to celebrate and reflect on the success you achieved but don’t wait too long to start planning for the 2020 season. As part of that plan, consider Stoneville cotton seed varieties that are tailored to help you start strong and finish strong in 2020.