The success of the program, they say, was largely attributable to the dedication of the UGA county Extension agents, industry leaders such as Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences and Monsanto Company, the Georgia Cotton Commission, and cooperating growers.

“The implementation of this program has undoubtedly helped to address a current need of Georgia cotton growers and will make an incalculable impact in the 2011 growing season and beyond,” say the specialists.

“As the 2010 season approached, it became difficult to effectively evaluate dryland variety performance due to the abnormally wet weather that was experienced throughout most of Georgia during 2009. As variety selection was drastically becoming much more important, due to the loss of DP 555 BR beyond 2010, the UGA Extension cotton agronomists decided to establish this variety testing program in 2010,” they say.

Industry leaders — Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences and Monsanto Company — were asked to provide three of their commercially available cotton varieties that were their best-adapted varieties for dryland environments in Georgia. This uniform list of CORE varieties was planted in replicated trials in grower fields throughout Georgia’s cotton belt, as arranged by the county agents. Additional non-commercially available varieties (potentially future releases) were also included in a smaller set of trials.

The trials were replicated and managed/maintained by the grower with the assistance of participating county Extension agents, in order to achieve realistic and statistically sound results. A seed cotton sample of each variety was collected at harvest and ginned at the UGA Microgin to provide a more realistic value for lint percentage and fiber quality.

Additionally, the design of this program allowed for a much broader assessment of variety performance across a wide range of environments, ranging from 400 to more than 1,300 pound per-acre yield environments in 2010 alone.

This was a “first-ever” approach in that it illustrates how variety performance can change across a range of environments, which provides information on how to place varieties in environments where they will likely perform their best. The full report of the 2010 program can be on the UGA Cotton Webpage at http://www.ugacotton.com.

To assist in variety selection, the UGA Cotton Variety Performance Calculator has been updated to include all trials which have been conducted in 2009 and 2010. This calculator also can be found on the UGA Cotton Webpage http://www.ugacotton.com.

phollis@farmpress.com