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Several cotton varieties shine in California.
University of California cotton specialist Robert Hutmacher continues to sample cotton varieties in various test locations across California.
As cotton acreage drops in California it becomes ever more important that what is grown across the state is of the highest quality possible. This is true for the markets as for the grower.
Cotton variety improvement has been the focus of the seed companies for decades, according to Bob Hutmacher, a cotton specialist with the University of California. A large focus, according to Hutmacher, has been the focus on new materials and appropriate growth habit materials as growers made the shift to Pima, he said.
Newer technologies have allowed for more glyphosate resistance in crops, though farm advisors caution growers continually to rotate the active ingredients and the products they use to avoid developing resistance to the products they are using. In cotton, developing resistance to Fusarium Race 4 is growing in importance, particularly as cotton acreages shrink and water availability dries up as well.
Pima cotton still reigns as the most popular type of cotton planted in California. About 187,000 acres of Pima was planted in California in 2013, according to the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. That compares to 93,000 acres of Acala.
Of the total acreage of Pima grown in California, Dow AgroSciences has more than 76 percent of total Pima seed sales across three PhytoGen varieties: PHY 805RF, PHY 802RF, and PHY 830. The PHY 805RF made up over 55 percent of California’s Pima crop in 2013, according to USDA statistics.