Dr. Joel Faircloth
We are now "in the short rows" of making variety selection decisions.
This may be the most critical decision a producer makes. Let's take a look
at three elements of variety selection.
Variety selection should be done on a field-by-field basis. A variety that
is a rockstar in one field may not work as well under different conditions
down the road. Consider soil type, pest and disease pressure and rotation
history. Consider varieties with strong storm tolerance in at-risk areas to
protect yield potential. Look at unusual conditions that may have affected
the field in question in previous years. Was yield affected by something
unrelated to variety selection? Might a different variety have handled
things like drought or disease differently? Consider these questions when
evaluating a variety that underwhelmed in the past.
A proven method for choosing varieties is to select those that perform
consistently over several years in multiple locations. A good rule of thumb
is to, when possible, analyze at least three years of data from multiple
locations. While a farmer in the Texas plains may not normally be interested
in how a variety performed in South Carolina, performance data across
a variety of locations under a variety of conditions indicates consistency.
Sources of data include university Official Variety Trials, also known as
OVTs, and large-scale field studies. Supplemental information can be
gained through replicated strip trials done by seed companies and in
county plots. Module plots also provide real-world data. Again, care must
be exercised in assessing the data.
Study the data. Measure local experience. Factor and filter coffee shop
talk. Remember to take into consideration weather events or pest infestation
that impacted a given year's data.
Agronomic factors such as plant height, growth potential, maturity and
response to plant growth regulators also affect yield potential. Under
stressful conditions, indeterminate varieties offer the advantage of spreading
the fruiting window over a longer, more forgiving period of time.
The breeding team at PhytoGen is committed to releasing varieties that
have been extensively tested over many years under a wide range of
conditions. New varieties aren't released unless the group is confident in
its ability to meet producer demands consistently. Cotton farmers can be
confident that PhytoGen is on the leading edge of technologies and
varieties to deliver outstanding fiber quality and yield potential.
Click here to ask Dr. Joel Faircloth a question or submit a comment about this month’s Cotton Consultant’s Corner.
• Dr. Joel Faircloth has been a cotton development specialist with Dow AgroSciences for more than four years.
• He and his wife Christine reside in Pfafftown, N.C., with
their two daughters.
• Prior to joining the Dow AgroSciences team, Faircloth
served as the Extension cotton specialist and assistant
professor with weed science and agronomy responsibilities at Virginia Tech for four years.
• He previously has worked as an assistant professor
in the agronomy department at Louisiana State University.
• Noted as a top researcher, Faircloth has given presentations at numerous field days and conferences and has authored many newsletter and journal articles.
• He received a doctorate in crop science from North
Carolina State University. He has a master's degree
in entomology and a bachelor's degree in wildlife and
fisheries, also from North Carolina State University.
Recap: Impact of
3 Keys To Successful Variety Selectiont
1. Select varieties on a field-by-field basis. Consider soil type, pest and disease pressure and rotation history. Consider varieties with strong storm tolerance in at-risk areas.
2. When choosing a variety, analyze at least three years of data from multiple locations when possible.
3. When conducted properly, OVTs are the most fair assessment of a variety's performance.
4. Under stressful conditions, indeterminate varieties offer the advantage of spreading the fruiting window over a longer, more forgiving period of time.
5. The breeding team at PhytoGen is committed to releasing varieties that have been extensively tested over many years under a wide range of conditions.