Variety trials are important tools. “The best option is a trial on your own farm,” he said. “The next best is a trial on a field with similar soil, a similar season and similar moisture.” Replications, within the field and across several years, also add value to the trials. That’s currently a missing element for many Southwest dryland cotton farmers, Drake said. “We don’t have dryland variety trials for the past two years because of drought. We’re having to look back three years, and some of those varieties are no longer available.”

He recommends growers look at field trials with limited irrigation to fill in some information gaps. “A farmer may find something that fits dryland conditions.”

Farmers should pay attention to what they know about their own farms. “Particular varieties will perform better on specific farms. Find out what fits. It may not be the same variety your neighbor is using.”

Drake recommended farmers pay attention to Texas AgriLife “pick lists,” selections that have performed best in replicated trials. These lists are available for specific regions and growing regimes—irrigated and dryland.

Drake said the 2012 top picks for irrigated acreage in the Concho Valley area include: AM 1550 B2RF, ATX Epic RF, Croplan 3787 B2F, DP 1219 B2RF, DP 1359 B2RF, DP 0935 B2RF, FM 9170 B2F, FM 2484 B2RF, NG 1511 B2RF, PHY 499 WRF, ST 5458 B2F, and ST 4946 GLB2.


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