Variety selection is one of the key decisions for cotton farmers. Variety trials provide unbiased comparisons of performance on different locations and soil types. Credit: Libbie Johnson, UF/IFAS

In last week’s Cotton Marketing News, we learned more about the seemingly consistent low price of cotton brought on largely by decreased demand. Even with that being the case, cotton is part of the standard crop rotation for many growers in the Panhandle and surrounding areas. We’re gonna grow cotton in the Panhandle, so it’s time to look at the results of some of last season’s variety trials to get a better idea of what varieties had top yields in the region.

The first variety summary I’ll showcase is from Santa Rosa grower, Mickey Diamond. Greenpoint Ag tests many of the new varieties they carry in his field along with some additional varieties from other companies. The fourteen varieties were planted in side by side strips on May 18 by Mickey’s operator Terry Bauldree and harvested on November 14.  The seeding rate was 29,000/acre in 36 inch rows. The soil type of the field is Red Bay sandy loam and Orangeburg sandy loam.  The field was previously planted in peanut with a cover crop in the winter of 2021-22.  No irrigation was applied to the field, but ample rain was received.

Entries are listed according to value in $/acre based on $.52/lb +/- premiums/discounts. Color and leaf given base grades of 41 and 4. Vigor, stringout ratings listed  were 1 to 5, 1=best. Phytogen 400 consistently performed well in that field, but other varieties were very close.  Special thanks to Drew Schrimsher, Greenpoint Ag, for working on this variety trial and sending the samples for micro-ginning.


The next field test summary came from Mr. Fulford’s trial over in Jefferson County. When taken together with the Santa Rosa County trial these two trials show how the varieties performed across a wider range of locations and soil types. I’ve highlighted the higher yields in these plots in green. The yellow one represents one of the most widely grown varieties, DP 1646, that still does very well throughout our area. Recall that this is a 2 gene GMO variety, and many companies have moved fully to 3 genes. 


I give some REAL credit to Auburn University.  If you want to look up some detailed information on variety trials, those folks have it!  The table below shows info from their full season cotton variety trial in Brewton.  Remember, we had a lot of rain during the growing season, so yields aren’t as stellar as they could be. Once again, I highlighted the top varieties in green. Notice the similarities.


Though there is less information provided, the following chart shows the lint yield and value of the cotton varieties test at the Wiregrass Research and Education Center, Headland, Alabama.

We can’t leave out the National Champion Bulldogs, the following is the variety trial summary from UGA’s most southern research station, Tifton. This trial was irrigated. 


Now is the time to talk to company representatives and farm supply dealers about the varieties you are interested in purchasing. If you are near Santa Rosa county, many of the reps will be at the Crop Meeting at the Jay Community Center on January 31.  Another opportunity will be at the Crop Meeting at Grace Fellowship in Atmore, on February 8.  Ethan Carter will also host a Crop Meeting, in Marianna, on March 2, where reps will also be on hand to share information. 


Special thanks to Drew Schrimsher and his FANTASTIC Greenpoint Ag Team. Also, thanks to Mickey and his ever diligent farm crew for working with us annually.