Virginia Cotton: Variety Decisions – Tweaking the Plan

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    We make a lot of our cotton variety decisions based on the technology package, past performance, as well as suitability to our management style. As we look at the hand we are being dealt in terms of weather, we all need to anticipate what is going to be different about this season compared to our fairly recent past. Here are the high points:

    • Simply put, the 2020 crops will be later.
    • That is going to put some pressure on our full-season varieties which have done quite well for several years. I would start with these type varieties if you have been having success with them whenever things warm back up.
    • Our medium maturing varieties are the ones that are most popular and are typically targeted to be finished by May 20 to 25th.
    • The earliest varieties are suitable for planting into early June.
    • All cotton varieties can be manipulated to be earlier or later based on management.
    • I would like to get a little further in the week before getting too specific on variety by variety because the weather forecast could improve which would change any comments today.
    • However, go back to the report card and make sure you do not have more than 25 to 30% of your acreage committed to full season varieties.
    • DP 1646 is not a full season variety being more of a medium maturing variety, but it has lower than average vigor and a reputation of slow early growth. You cannot plant it in marginal conditions and it is riskier to plant it in the last days of May or early June.
    • We will probably only have about a week to maybe 10 days of suitable planting for 1646 assuming that we will have to wait longer to start with it. Therefore,  if you do not think you can plant all the DP 1646 between May 15 and May 25, then consider a high seedling vigor variety that is safer to start earlier with or a faster-maturing variety to finish with.



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