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Cotton Variety Selection

January 2014

By Michael A. Jones, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Extension Cotton Specialist
Clemson University
843-662-3526 ext. 255

Watch Presentation (36 min 43 sec)

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Summary: Variety selection is the first and perhaps the most important management decision a grower makes each season. Variety decisions are now more complex due to the fact that numerous new varieties have been offered for sale by seed companies during the past few years with fewer years of public testing than most growers, consultants, and university personnel need for proper evaluation. There are many factors that govern the choice of cotton varieties, and one major factor or trait that growers must now consider when choosing varieties is the addition of “value-added” transgenic traits. The number of varieties offered by seed companies containing “value-added” transgenic traits (Bollgard II, Widestrike, Liberty-Link, Roundup-Ready Flex, Glytol) for herbicide and insect resistance and the resulting planted acreage (approximately 99 % of acreage in 2012) has increased dramatically across the U.S. The value of transgenic traits is an extremely important consideration for growers when selecting varieties; however, the “value-added” traits are not the most important traits to consider. Yield potential and stability has always been the most important factor to consider in the selection of a good variety and is still the number one factor today. Without good genetics and high yield potential, any benefits obtained from the “value-added” transgenic traits are negated. This presentation will help consultants, growers, and others in the cotton industry make informed decisions on how to select new cotton varieties.

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