Cotton Varieties for Organic Production

by Dr. Jane Dever, TAMU Cotton Breeder – Lubbock

Cotton harvest is wrapping up at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center breeding tests and plots. It was a tough year for cotton. Dr. Carol Kelly, Research Scientist and Assistant Cotton Breeder, pictured above with a plant from the nursery that has bolls, summed 2022 up with a Haiku poem:

Pretty and green field. Hot and dry summer we had. Leaves fall, no bolls, sad!

Ginning and data analysis is ongoing, but results from second year testing of candidate organic cultivars at the furrow-irrigated location in Lubbock indicate more bolls than we thought. Twenty experimental lines were tested with four commercial cultivar checks in a randomized complete block design with four replications. Test average for yield was 1,350 pounds/acre and quality, except for higher than desired micronaire (5.1), was excellent. Average fiber length, 1.22 inches; uniformity ratio, 84.1; strength, 36.1 grams/tex. Line 19-4-517 produced 1,622 pounds/acre compared to ‘FM 958’ at 1,586. Candidate for 2023 release with the first real improvement in Verticillium wilt resistance since the late ‘90s – early 2000’s, 19-4-446, produced 1,503 pounds/acre with 1.23-inch fiber length, 85.5 uniformity ratio, and 37.1 g/tex fiber strength.

Data from other locations will be available soon, so feel free to reach out to us for the results. We did not anticipate harvesting the dryland location at Lubbock but caught some late moisture and ended up with a nice test. Favorite organic candidate okra-leaf cultivar, in the third year of testing, produced almost 300 pounds on dryland compared to ‘FM 958’ at 260 pounds. We look forward to analyzing all the test and nursery data and getting fiber quality results early next year.

Happy and prosperous New Year to the organic cotton producers and community from the Texas A&M AgriLife cotton breeding team at Lubbock.

Jane Dever

Author: Bob Whitney, Regents Fellow & Extension Organic Specialist

Agriculturalist, extension educator and researcher, organic agriculture enthusiast and promoter, international program developer, Christian, husband, father and friend.

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