Boman says cotton farmers need to look carefully at transgenic traits and determine which ones best suit their production program. 

“Ask which herbicide-tolerant trait do I need? Weed control has been catapulted forward by the advent of transgenic Roundup Ready Flex and GlyTol, both of which provide excellent glyphosate tolerance. 

“Liberty Link technology adds glufosinate tolerance, and now some GlyTol plus Liberty Link (stacked) cotton varieties are available. The agronomic capabilities of glyphosate tolerant cotton varieties continue to improve and the weed control system is very effective if properly executed. The Liberty Link system has thus far been more widely adopted in other regions because of weed control considerations. The widely anticipated GlyTol, the proprietary glyphosate tolerant trait from Bayer CropScience, has been approved by regulatory agencies and has been launched.”

Insect resistance is another important consideration in variety selection.  “Bollgard II and Widestrike have provided outstanding caterpillar pest control,” Boman says. “These technologies have been widely planted on Oklahoma cotton acres. Because of the lack of disruption of beneficial arthropod populations by insecticides used to target bollworms and other caterpillar insects, aphids likely will not be flared, which is of considerable value.”

Boman says cost of a particular variety should not be the deciding factor in choosing whether to plant it. “But it is important. The value of a high yielding cotton variety with biotech traits to ease management requirements across a large number of acres is a serious consideration. Over the last several years, we have seen significant producer interest in transgenic varieties.”

He says more than 100 varieties from several companies are being sold this year in the region.

Boman recommends the Plains Cotton Growers 2012 Seed Cost Comparison Worksheet as a useful tool in variety selection decisions. PCG developed the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, which can be used within a Web browser or downloaded and saved to a computer.  

“Oklahoma is in the same seed/technology pricing zone as the Texas High Plains. Nearly all of the commercial varieties available in our region are listed.

“Users may select up to nine varieties to simultaneously compare total seed and technology fee costs based on a specific seeding rate. The user enters the row spacing and seed per row-foot and the spreadsheet calculates the seed drop rate on a per acre basis. Cost per acre is automatically calculated based on published pricing for the various seed varieties and technology fees.”

The 2012 Plains Cotton Growers Seed Cost Calculator Excel Worksheet is available at www.plainscotton.org.

NTOK Cotton is a cotton industry partnership, which supports and encourages increased cotton production in the Rolling Plains of North Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. For more information on the cotton scene, see ntokcotton.org and okiecotton.org. For questions or comments on Talkin' Cotton, contact bustersbarn1@yahoo.com.