August 5, 2020
Americot’s investment into the research and development (R&D) of high yielding, high quality varieties has expanded over the last three years into a full-scale field trial program called Americot Cotton Evaluation (ACE) Trials. This year, our nine Germplasm Specialists across the cotton belt have collectively planted 217 ACE Trials with cooperating growers. “These trials will be very helpful to not only our R&D and sales teams, but especially our growers. We are generating information on water utilization, plant growth regulator (PGR) response and input management that will provide our growers insight and confidence in our current variety line-up and future releases,” says Dr. Doug Jost, Director of Research and Germplasm. “Every piece of data, from heat tolerance to PGR management, provides knowledge to our sales teams and growers alike. It builds grower confidence in NexGen varieties knowing they have the power to perform under their own growing conditions in their own specific regions.”
SHANE HALFMANN Central and South Texas
2020 started off dry in South Texas, causing growers to plant deep, chasing moisture. But as luck would have it some areas got a big rain event following planting, causing widespread replants. I was concerned about the late-planted cotton, but a wet summer has allowed the crop to reach full potential. The early-March planted cotton also looks beautiful. At the time of this writing, I do not want to speculate, but it’s a very strong crop with excellent yield potential. NG 4936 B3XF and NG 4098 B3XF look very good in the Coastal Bend.
The Upper Coast had a similar weather pattern and insect pressure was light across the whole region. Fruit retention was high, allowing for easier management. I think this will also allow for an earlier harvest season, which is always beneficial as we strive to avoid any tropical weather events. NG 5711 B3XF remains our number one variety here, but NG 4936 B3XF looks very good and the two varieties complement each other on the farm.
In central Texas many growers got a Father’s Day gift in the form of a timely rain. The cotton was just beginning to bloom, and soil moisture was limiting. NG 4936 B3XF and NG 5711 B3XF are both looking strong here, as well.
We are fortunate to have several new options in our ACE Trials this year. AMX 19B001 B3XF and AMX 19B003 B3XF are being tested for the first time in 2020. We implemented 27 ACE Trials across the region with excellent grower-cooperators and are looking forward to great trial results.
BROOKS BLANCHE, PH.D. South Delta
The 2020 cotton season began with negativity surrounding the trade war and relations with China, a major buyer of US Cotton. Because of the depressed prices resulting from reduced U.S. exports to China, cotton acres dropped significantly below last year’s levels. In some areas, cotton acreage is estimated to be 50% lower compared to last year. A grower made the comment to me, “So far, 2020 tastes like toothpaste and orange juice.” That is the bad news. The good news is that planting conditions were better than last year, and replants were down significantly. Cotton has grown nicely and has benefited from better rainfall than we’ve seen in recent years. Going into the major bloom period, we are in a good position to make high yields a reality.
One component of working in R&D is that we are living and working in 2020 but preparing for 2021. We have approximately 25 unique ACE Trials scattered throughout the South Delta and we will have a very good understanding of variety performance and characteristics of new varieties heading into 2021. In addition to multi-location yield data, I’m also looking at several trial sets evaluating soil type preferences of varieties. Attempts are made to manage planting date, location, fertility, etc. identically such that the only differing factor is soil texture. It never ceases to amaze me just how differently varieties perform on a Sharkey clay compared to a Commerce silt loam. As any grower knows, cotton varieties are often specifically adapted to certain soil characteristics, e.g., NG 5711 B3XF on clay-textured soils. This research gives us a better understanding of new varieties and their management characteristics beyond their “average” yields. My trials this year include standards like NG 5711 B3XF and NG 4936 B3XF along with several experimental lines being considered for variety launch in 2021. ACE Trials such as these are essential to understanding new varieties, so growers can be confident and successful growing them for the first time. If you are interested in the data from these trials, please reach out to me or your local NexGen rep, and we’d be happy to share it with you!
TODD SPIVEY, PH.D. Carolinas
2020 has been a season of extremes thus far. From low temperatures in the 30s into the second week of May, to rainfall totals as high as 28” in some areas. Consequently, we have already seen a full season of cotton stress events. Our ACE Trial program in the Carolinas and Virginia is in full force again this year, expanding our geographical reach out to the Blacklands in eastern North Carolina; north to Sussex County, Virginia; and south to Kline, South Carolina. This year’s program includes an improved variation of irrigated and non-irrigated trials, a wide range of tillage options from strip-tilled cover crops to conventional, raised beds, as well as a couple of double-cropped plots behind winter wheat.
Because of the tough spring weather, many fields were planted under less than optimum conditions. As a result, many fields were planted late and early-season growth was slow, so growers are working hard to manage for earliness. Plant growth regulator management is key to insuring we protect against rank growth, improving pest control and harvestability.
Across the board, our NexGen varieties showed outstanding vigor, despite the terrible planting and early season growth conditions. Great stands of NG 4936 B3XF and NG 5711 B3XF are a common sight across the region, and the new standout, NG 4098 B3XF, is off to a roaring start with market-leading vigor! Despite all the hinderances already encountered, the NexGen portfolio of Bollgard® 3 XtendFlex® varieties is primed to turn heads in 2020.
KAREN GELDMACHER Arizona
This time of year, cotton in Arizona is approaching cut-out along the Colorado River and peak bloom in the central growing regions. We are watching the weather, specifically for temperatures associated with cotton heat stress. Meteorological reports for the region suggest monsoon humidity and above average temperatures will continue through the summer growing season. We have a research program in Maricopa, Arizona collecting heat stress data, including pollen dehiscence, floral morphology and boll formation. Over the years, this research has shown us that NG 3729 B2XF, NG 4936 B3XF and NG 5711 B3XF possess excellent heat tolerance. This research provides the information we need to assist our growers with proper variety placement. Arizona ACE Trials are at various developmental stages across the state, including peak bloom, cut-out, and some getting the final irrigation. Our ACE Trial grower-cooperators are very excited about NG 4098 B3XF. They were very impressed with its large seed size, excellent stand establishment, very high early-season boll retention and ease of management.
SCOTT RUSSELL South Alabama and Georgia
This is the best start we’ve had in several years! I have seen exceptional stands on fields that typically have emergence issues. The stand establishment and early season performance of the NexGen Bollgard 3 XtendFlex varieties has been excellent. We are really standing out against the competition. NG 4936 B3XF demonstrated outstanding emergence and growers are very impressed with its strong early season growth. Another variety worth noting is NG 4098 B3XF. We were a little dry early in the planting window and we were planting deep, chasing moisture. Growers that planted NG 4098 B3XF couldn’t stop talking about its outstanding emergence. One grower told me he’s never seen that kind of vigor in the 25 years he’s been farming. Two experimental lines, AMX 19B001 B3XF and AMX 19B003 B3XF have us excited about their potential fit in southeast Georgia. Overall, we’re very pleased with our crop and the performance of the NexGen varieties!
For further information on Americot Cotton Evaluation Trials in your region, contact your Americot Germplasm Specialist. Visit www.americot.com/research-team for contact information.
From Cotton Farming Magazine – August 2020