Yield tops the list of priorities cotton farmers look for in new varieties, followed by improved quality characteristics and then herbicide tolerance, and insect resistance.

More and more are also watching for better disease resistance packages and most hope to see drought tolerance incorporated to their favorite varieties within the next few years.

“Good yield and tolerance to verticillium wilt” are what Athens, Ala., farmer John Newby wants in a new variety. “We also need some storm tolerance in our area,” he said during a Deltapine new variety announcement in Charleston, S.C.

“We also need good fiber qualities and drought tolerance. Drought can be an issue in our area.”

Newby currently uses stacked gene cotton and tested several varieties in 2009 to “get a handle on Flex cotton. This was the first time we used Flex varieties,” he said.

Steve Chapman, Lorenzo, Texas, says yield and quality are his benchmarks. “We also need good storm proof cotton,” he said.

“I would not disagree with that,” added Bret Hogue. Lubbock, Texas.

Chapman and Hogue also are selecting varieties that stand out in both irrigated and dryland situations.

Ryan Williams, Farwell, Texas, wants varieties with “equivalent yield with less water demand. Water is a crucial issue and our No. 1 limiting factor,” he said. “We can water everything, but not all at one time.” Williams, who farms on his own but in cooperation with his father, Mark, plants some stacked gene cotton and some Roundup Ready. “We don’t have a lot of bollworm pressure, here,” he said. “We always pick the variety that works best for our conditions.”

email: rsmith@farmpress.com