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Extension Agent: Cotton variety results released

Nov. 23, 2010 at 5:23 a.m.

Joe Janak

By Joe Janak

A month ago, we featured the results of the Victoria County corn, grain sorghum and soybeans variety results. Today, we'll release the results of the county extension's cotton variety results.

Farmers can benefit greatly by looking at well-designed variety trials and assessing the data.

Ten cotton varieties planted by Justin Leita near DaCosta, on March 31, at a seeding rate of 52,000 seeds per acre and replicated three times with yield results shows impressive yields of more than two bales per acre ranging from 1,050 to 1,378 pounds per acre.

While cotton lint qualities play an important factor in cotton value, so does yield, which really dictated the most profitable variety.

Lint value ranged from $569 to $698.70 per acre based on variety. Of course, production expenses need to be figured in to get the final lint value.

As noted in the table by the same letter (a) following each result, the yield of the top three varieties, Stoneville 5,458 B2RF, Phytogen 375 WRF and DeltaPine 0920 B2RF were not significantly different from each other. Thus, with 95 percent assurity, they should yield the same again.

Likewise, the top four varieties lint values were not significantly different from each other. See the Cotton Variety table for complete results.

More detailed results, including cotton demonstration results from 15 area counties, are available at the extension office or on our website: http://victoria-tx.tamu.edu.

COMMODITY PRICES INCREASE

According to notes from Jose G. Pena, professor and extension economist-management in Uvalde, commodity prices continue to soar as USDA further reduced corn, soybean and cotton production estimates.

He added that additional commodity price support is coming from speculators attracted to commodity investments due to up trending commodity prices and low investment returns from low risk alternative investments like bonds. Prices for nearby corn and soybean contracts reached life-of-contract highs recently at about $5.90/bushel and $13.20/bushel, respectively.

Cotton futures contracts were trading at record highs with December 2010 trading more than $1.50 per pound.

Improving commodity market prices are always welcome news to producers. While the potential impact of the change in the political climate in Washington has yet to be determined, the surge in prices and the change in the leadership in Congress may have a significant impact on Farm Bill 2012 negotiations, which should start in 2011.

Opinions of potential changes to agriculture policy vary widely from maintaining the status quo to some reductions in subsidy payments to putting pressure on federal agencies to reduce regulation.

With commodity prices high and a strong new objective in Congress to cut costs, some contend Congress may negotiate a farm bill, which would focus more on the market place, probably similar to the Freedom to Farm Act of 1996. This sentiment was recently expressed by the outgoing House Agriculture Committee Chairman Colin Peterson.

As commodity market prices have increased significantly, it may be very tempting for Congress to end or dramatically reduce price-triggered payments on the theory that they will no longer be needed because world crop prices remain high.

Only peanuts and cotton received counter-cyclical payments in 2009 and early estimates indicate that counter-cyclical payments will not be made for the 2010 crop year.

The 1996 Farm Bill was negotiated under a similar market situation. It was designed to phase out some farm payments over a transition period as farmers managed financial risk from the market. The program was abandoned as commodity prices weakened and the farm sector was left with substantial financial risk without a market price safety net in place.

Joe Janak is a Victoria County extension agent.

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