Virginia Cotton: Micronaire Primary Source of Quality Concern

Cotton harvest. ©Debra L Ferguson

Harvest approaches two thirds complete.  Ginning is about 2 and a half weeks behind the call-in dates.  Our gins are operating at record pace which is helping us keep our yards from filling up; however, a lot of cotton has been picked during the last few weeks and we might get another week behind before we start closing the gap.  At any rate, our projected finishing date is still before Christmas.  It has helped us, as well as our customers to add to our capacity this year to keep ginning closer to harvest.

Grades:

  • Overall, fiber length is awesome.  One of the good things about long staple is that it will reduce deductions by a cent or more on off color or trashy cotton.
  • Color is very good, and leaf is low.  Color may not be as good during the second half of picking and that long staple is going to help.
  • Micronaire is the primary source of quality concern so far this year.  Micronaire relates to bolls that mature during hot periods in the summer and long days, lighter soils that do not make a top crop, extreme earliness, delayed defoliation to allow for over maturity, and/or early defoliation and not waiting for the top crop open.  Those top bolls and second and third positions have lower micronaire and average overall crop down.  Genetics is also a factor in addition to these environmental considerations.

Varieties:

  • This year we had two standout varieties on the report card, and a lot of newer options to pick from and many are not letting us down. Even some that were bad last year are doing good.
  • We have a lot of data to analyze before we start to make recommendations for 2020, and I am sure the top two will remain in the BEST category. The big question is what will join them, and there are a few promising challengers stepping up to the plate.
  • Some of the testing is showing that the varieties that only made 1600 pounds are losing. We are definitely going to have some best-case scenarios.
  • When all the dust settles, the winners are going to be the ones that can yield the best over thousands of acres and multiple years and not just a location here or there.



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