Results from the 2011 Cotton Variety Trials conducted by Nueces County Extension Staff and cooperating farmers have been posted online at the Nueces County Extension website at http://nueces.agrilife.org/ under the “Publications” link. A detailed report is available at this Web site or may be obtained in the County Extension Office upon request. Yields were above average, despite the limited amount of rainfall received during the growing season. Growers were pleased with results.A Liberty Link Cotton Variety Trial was conducted by Darrell Lawhon in the Concordia area in which four varieties were evaluated. The best performing variety was FiberMax 1845 LLB2 at 944 pounds of lint per acre, while the trial averaged 879 pounds of lint per acre.

A Uniform Stacked-Gene Cotton Variety Trial was conducted by Jim Massey IV near Robstown in which nine commercial varieties were evaluated. The best performing varieties in this trial with no statistical difference were PHY 499 WRF at 858 pounds of lint per acre and DP 1044 B2F at 804 pounds of lint per acre. The trial averaged 766 pounds of lint per acre.

A Conventional Cotton Variety Trial was conducted by Edward and Russell Jungmann north of Bishop in which eight commercial varieties were evaluated.

The best performing varieties in this trial with no statistical differences were; ARK 222-12 at 994 pounds lint/acre, ARK 114-53 at 991 pounds lint/acre, ARK 9803-23-04 at 963 pounds lint/acre and SSG HQ210CT at 935 pounds lint/acre. The trial averaged 934 pounds lint/acre.One cotton planting system that seems to be growing in popularity in recent years in the Coastal Bend is that of skip-row cotton. In an effort to address the economics of comparing the skip-row vs. solid row or conventional planting system, a trial was established with Edward and Russell Jungmann north of Bishop. The cotton variety PHY 375 WRF was planted in a replicated study with four replications in a randomized complete block design in 30-inch row spacing.In the final analysis, there was not a statistical difference in lint yield per acre between the solid row and skip-row systems.

The solid row yield was 803 pounds of lint per acre while the skip-row yielded 729 pounds of lint per acre. In a partial budget analysis, assuming a lint price from a USDA report on 9/29/11, the gross lint value ranged from about $750/acre for solid row vs. $690/acre for skip row.

If one factors in the input costs of each system, in this particular trial, there was a $7.95/acre advantage with the conventional system if you owned the cotton picker, and a $15.92/acre advantage with the conventional system if one used a custom operator to harvest. In another year with different weather conditions, results might have been different, thus more side by side evaluation of these two production systems is needed and is planned.

Another cotton trial that was conducted with Darrell Lawhon, near Concordia, evaluated different cotton plant densities. Cotton variety FM 835 LLB2 was planted in a replicated study in a randomized complete block design with three replications at two, four, and six seed per foot, with seed costs per acre ranging from $34 to $102 per acre.

There was not a statistical difference in yield between the three planting densities and yields were as follows; 2 seed/ft - 822 lbs. lint/ac, 4 seed/ft - 869 lbs. lint/ac, and 6 seed/ft - 852 lbs. lint/ac.

However, when the seed cost is considered the 4 seed/ft is the most economical.

This same trial was conducted last year and the 4 seed/ft density was also the most economical as well.

Jeffrey Stapper is the Agricultural and Natural Resources Agent for Nueces?County. Readers may contact him at (361) 767-5217.