Cotton Incorporated and the Cooperative Extension cotton specialists across the Belt have partnered to combine field variety trial data in a single webbased resource called SeedMatrix.
This online program provides access to new variety performance data. It is just one example of how the Cotton Research and Promotion Program leverages its funding to produce unbiased research, which generates information important to a producer’s bottom line.
“Cotton Incorporated is supporting research to provide valid comparisons of new varieties as soon as we can get hold of the varieties,” says Dr. Bob Nichols, senior director of ag research at Cotton Incorporated.
The SeedMatrix program allows producers, crop consultants and researchers to access data from seed variety tests across the Belt. It can help the producer make the best variety selections for their operations. The program can be accessed from smartphones and tablets and computers at https://seedmatrix.com/Cotton- IncRegistration.
Assistance From Specialists
In the SeedMatrix database, the Cotton Incorporated designated trial data is generated in large-plot, replicated trials conducted by cotton specialists with Cotton Incorporated support. The data is available at no cost to cotton producers through a contract between SeedMatrix and Cotton Incorporated.
Because producers requested unbiased results on new varieties, Cotton Incorporated has sponsored rigorously conducted, replicated, large-plot trials. Each trial encompasses approximately 20 acres and compares 10 to 12 new and standard commercial varieties.
Gaylon Morgan, Extension cotton specialist at Texas A&M University, calls SeedMatrix a powerful variety selection tool.
“The power is there to make it a very good decision-aid tool for making variety selection,” he says. “It’s a good way to compare varieties across a number of locations and years to determine yield stability and where a variety performs its best and worst.”
The tool was developed by Dale Logan at PLAN, Inc. of Collierville, Tenn. While SeedMatrix is a tool that compares yields of varieties from several different crops, Cotton Incorporated has developed a cooperative agreement with SeedMatrix that allows cotton producers to receive open access to view public variety data, including important data developed by the Cotton Incorporated/Cotton Specialist Partnership.
Data from replicated, large-plot trials of new cotton varieties in respective states give producers an idea of how those same varieties may perform on their farms. The program includes key information on plot location, soil type, water management, yield, turnout, fiber strength, staple length and micronaire.
Data in the SeedMatrix program can be viewed as the overall means or split out by type of trial, year and state and used to make comparisons.
For example, Bill Robertson, Extension agronomist at the University of Arkansas says, “We don’t have five years of data for many varieties, so SeedMatrix is a good way to evaluate varieties using data from several trial sites with similar characteristics.
“For Northeast Arkansas, trial site comparisons in the Bootheel of Missouri or in West Tennessee might be more applicable than trial sites further south in the Delta.” The map tool is one that Morgan finds very helpful. It uses mapping to plot variety tests, linking them to trial results. The data can be sorted according to specific criteria, such as regional location or soil type. Comparisons can then be made between varieties or single variety results.
Guy Collins, Extension associate professor for cotton at North Carolina State University, says that the robust data system is a valuable tool that will assist the producer in making decisions that can affect their profitability. He has begun to publicize the program to producers and consultants at county meetings in his state, calling it an important one-stop shop for viewing variety performance.
Cotton Incorporated remains committed to seeking cost-cutting tools and practices that can improve the cotton producer’s bottom line.
The Cotton Board, which administers Cotton Incorporated’s Research and Promotion Program, contributed information for this article.