Virginia Cotton: Consider Management Intensity When Choosing Varieties

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A focus on management intensity might be the best idea for describing what I believe to be the challenge for the greatest cotton success of 2018. 

  • The first reason is that probably the two most popular varieties are also going to be two of the most management intensive varieties.  So at this point rather than begin describing the details, when it comes to variety selection, I will just summarize my thought here by saying, generally “know thy self”.
  • If you feel your farming operation’s resources are stretched, if you are highly diversified with other enterprises taking higher priorities at times, or if you might have your daughter’s wedding in early to mid-August, you might not plant quite as much of the top two varieties on the report card and move down to some excellent choices that are a bit simpler to grow.
  • Or perhaps look at some of the new varieties with 3 bt genes for best worm control and the better genes for weed control, particularly on the farms that are further away.
  • Here is another way of saying the same thing. While I think there is a lot of value in the yield results in the local research, I think it is as important to match the growth characteristics and to know the insect and herbicide traits that fit your operation the best.  I know, sounds like preaching to the choir as you guys are on top of these ideas.  Just saying.
  • A second reason this is the year of management intensity is a fact that that does not change much and it relates to some more challenging land, both really heavy bottoms and woods edges or either deep sand.
  • Sometimes our production is limited and we are challenged with spending more dollars on soils or parts of fields that have less productivity.  At any rate, look for some newsletters in the coming weeks to bat around some ideas of increasing profitability and managing risk by adding a few management variations.
  • A third reason that our management may need to be more intensive is that we have generally moved towards an overall more aggressive approach with nitrogen.  We have crossed over the line for fields that carry high residual levels of N and fields that follow certain crops that left a good amount of N

The Bottom Line –  Many of the decisions we make early will have an impact our aggressiveness during the season.  Sometimes, it does not have to be so hard and there is good money to be made with cotton using easier varieties and less intensive practices in combination with intensive varieties and more aggressive practices.  It’s going to be a fun year.  I am pumped.

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