At deadline, Jonathan Andrews of Andrews Farms in Dos Palos, Calif., was still waiting for data from Olam Gin in Firebaugh, where his cotton is ginned. While he is confident that his PhytoGen 725 RF was his highest yielding cotton of three Upland varieties planted this season – he also planted PhytoGen 755 WRF and the Bayer CropScience-FiberMax Acala Daytona RF – he is waiting on yield and quality reports.

Andrews’ sole Pima variety planted was the new PHY-811, which he seemed pleased with. Andrews said he may plant more of the Pima next year based on early indications of good cotton prices and the variety’s overall performance on his farm.

While Bayer’s Daytona does offer good wilt tolerance, according to Kenny Melton, an agronomist with Bayer CropScience in Lubbock, Texas, it does not offer Race 4 resistant technology. Bayer is screening different products for Race 4 but is not ready to release information related to that, Melton said.

Fusarium Race 4 is another issue growers must contend with, according to Hutmacher. Resistant cotton varieties include Monsanto’s DP360 and DP358. The PHY800 was the first seed quite resistant to Race 4, he said. Other good performers in soil with Race 4 include PhytoGen’s 800, 802 and its new 811 seed. The PHY805 seed had moderate success against Race 4, he added.

Given the 15-20 percent difference in heat units between the southern end and northern end of California’s cotton growing region, Hutmacher said it is difficult to recommend cotton varieties to growers in the state. Soil types range widely from one end to the other and further add to the issues growers must weigh when opting on a particular variety for their particular operation. Hutmacher has variety trial data at http://cottoninfo.ucdavis.edu/Variety_Selection/.

Soil type is also a consideration in choosing cotton varieties, Hutmacher said. High fertility soil such as that in the dairy region of Tulare County can make it difficult to control plant size. Conversely, plants with a tendency to grow quite vigorously – such as Hazera – might do better in less fertile soils and where heat units can retard plant growth.

“Some of the Hazera varieties will have their first fruit set a little bit lower on the plant and a little bit earlier,” Hutmacher said. “With some of those varieties that’s a good thing if you can get that to happen, because it sets the plant off and keeps it under control so that it has a more balanced type of vegetative growth.”

Exacerbating issues for cotton growers in the San Joaquin Valley this year, though unrelated to varieties, has been the late and somewhat intense arrival of the Silver Leaf White Fly.

“The last two years the white fly has appeared in spotty areas in the Valley,” he said. “It’s been more wide spread this year than in the past five or so.”

                                             

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