Making A Difference in Our County
With the seemingly endless choices a producer has in cotton varieties and their different trait packages, often leaves growers scratching their head as to which variety to plant. The Clay County Extension Agent responded to this need by conducting on-farm cotton variety trials. This information has been used by farmers to choose a variety or varieties that perform well in their area and conditions.
Clay County plants on average 12,000 acres of cotton each year. Cotton prices have been stagnant for the last year with only a short run to .69 cents for a few days and then falling back to the .64 cent range and production cost has steadily been going up. Continued profitability is essential to the continued success of cotton production in Clay County regardless of the price of cotton a profit has to be made on this highly important rotation commodity. This is why it is vitality important to for the cotton producer here in Clay County to choose the right variety for their farm with the highest potential for making a profit.
Cotton Variety Selection - In the last 10 years several new varieties of cotton have been released, especially with Monsanto’s new molecular breeding program, each trying to gain its share of the market. Each has a claim to out yield the others, to have the best traits and fiber quality, and to increase profits. The Clay County Agent worked with local producers to initiate a randomized and replicated cotton variety trial. No fewer than twelve varieties have been evaluated for the last 14 years and fifteen the last 2 years. These trials have utilized over 580 acres of cotton in 16 variety trials.
Cotton growers in the area were able to look at multiple years of county data to make a better decision on varieties they had no experience with. Through these variety trials we have found varieties with trait packages that yield well and have also discounted others. The fact that producers in Clay County can plant a variety with confidence, that it has the potential to give him or her a profit because they have seen local data on the variety, saves them time and money. The top yielding varieties from these trials have consistently yielded over 200 pounds of lint per acre over the bottom varieties. By choosing these higher yielding varieties, producers have the potential increase of $128.00 per acre at the $0.64 price or over $1,536,000 as a county annually.