Right Choices Now Mean High Plains Cotton Profit Later
News from the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and AgriLife Research.
March 23, 2010
It's cold, wet and rainy across the Texas High Plains, but armchair decisions made now by cotton farmers could well mean the difference between a profit or loss at harvest time, said a Lubbock cotton expert.
Wet weather has kept many of the region's cotton farmers out of their fields, but once dry weather returns, preparation for the 2010 crop and its major accompanying expenses will commence said, Dr. Randal Boman, Texas AgriLife Extension Service cotton agronomist at Lubbock.
"With the advent of transgenic cotton, such as Roundup Ready Flex and Bt (specifically Bollgard II and WideStrike), as well as the excellent seed treatment technology we now have, many producers have to make a decision concerning how to spend a high percentage of their overall input dollars at planting," Boman said. "With the new transgenic cotton seeds running at $200 to 300 per bag, depending upon what variety and technology, or, $50-75 per acre or more, depending upon what technology and seed treatment packages are seed, once the decision of what variety to plant is made, it can't be changed. Whether that commitment is good or bad, they're married to that crop through harvest."
With today's skyrocketing input costs have made pre-planting strategies as important to success as adequate moisture once the crop is in the ground.
"Cost of seed should not necessarily be the main selection criteria though," Doman said. "The value of a carefully chosen high-yielding cotton variety with biotech traits, though expensive, can greatly reduce management costs and hassles and provide considerable convenience especially when multiplied over many acres.
"We're also continuing to see disease pressure building (verticillium and fusarium wilt and root-knot nematodes) in the High Plains. Tests targeting these diseases are providing excellent results for producers who are dealing with these issues. The main thing to remember is to plant diseased fields with the best varieties to use under those conditions."