Maturity range also will dictate if a producer wants to select a certain cultivar, says Beasley. Currently, there is one early maturing cultivar, AT 215, but the seed supply on it will be extremely limited in 2011.

“Georgia Greener and Tifguard have what we call the ‘normal’ or medium maturity range. Under normal growing conditions in which there are no factors delaying or speeding up maturation, these cultivars are ready for harvest in 135 to 140 days after planting. Georgia-06G, Florida-07, and Georgia-07W all mature about seven to 10 days later than Georgia Green. Our experience with Georgia-06G is that it can mature about the same as Georgia Greener and Tifguard, or in some cases, it matures about seven to 10 days later.

“The one late maturing cultivar we currently have is Georgia-02C, but seed supply will be very limited in 2011. It typically takes two to three weeks later to mature than Georgia Green or Georgia Greener. It is recommended that growers do not plant Georgia-02C after May 15.”

Another factor that might have a bearing on cultivar selection is seed size, says Beasley. Several of the new cultivar releases have considerably larger seed size than Georgia Green. These cultivars include Georgia-06G, Florida-07, Tifguard and Georgia-07W.

Their seed size results in it taking 30 or more pounds per acre to plant when sown at the same seed per foot of row rate as Georgia Green, he says.

“For example, when planting Georgia Green at six seed per foot of row, it typically requires 105 to 110 pounds per acre. At the same six seed per foot of row rate, Georgia-06G, Tifguard, Georgia-07W and Florida-07 will end up planting 135 to 140-plus pounds per acre. At approximately 75 cents per pound for seed, it costs about $20 to $25 more per acre to plant large-seeded runner cultivars than Georgia Green.

“Georgia Greener and Georgia-02C have what we refer to as ‘medium’ size seed, similar to what the Florunner cultivar had and planting those at six seed per foot of row will result in planting about 120 to 125 pounds per acre or about 10 to 15 pounds per acre more than Georgia Green.”

Marketability doesn’t seem to be an issue with any of the available cultivars, says Beasley.

phollis@farmpress.com