facebook_pixel

Cotton Focus: Seed Planting And Technology

When cotton seed cost $350 per ton, the rule was to plant heavy and thin the stand later on if you needed to. But when seed hit $500 per bag, you sort of had to find a new rule book.

“Everyone with anything to do with cotton farming is aware that the genetically modified varieties have had a very big impact on agriculture. They have allowed us to improve our weed and insect control,” says Dr. Earl Vories, a USDA/ARS agricultural engineer at the University of Missouri Delta Center in Portageville. “But along with that, the cost has gone up, and there have been a lot of questions about what we can do to make sure we’re not wasting seed.”

So the research hypothesis becomes finding ways to minimizing seeding rates while maximizing yields. The most visible means to that end at the moment is site-specific, variable-rate planting, and the ability to do just that is already available.

“I am very confident in saying that we have the mechanics, the hardware, and even the software in place. If someone wants to variable-rate plant, the technology is there,” says Dr. Edward Barnes, Director, Agricultural Research at Cotton Incorporated.

What we lack, though, is the definitive data required to write the prescriptions. “One of the things that makes it difficult to say exactly how much benefit you can get with precision planting is that cotton is a great compensator,” Barnes continues. “Cotton can absorb a lot of variability in seeding rates, so it makes it very hard to collect the data it takes to make strong decisions on variable-rate planting.”

Vories agrees: “We don’t have economic data that would make us say with confidence that this is the way to go – we’ve only been working on the data for one year. … We as researchers are behind the equipment that is available. The technology to make the adjustments is there. But right now, our recommendations can’t match up with the equipment capabilities.”

Data Quest Begins

Most prescription-based applications of farm inputs starts with soil-type and yield-monitor maps.

“(Farmers) know what’s going on in a field. They know the highest yielding areas, and the lowest yielding areas,” says Vories. “One of the reasons we were able to start work on precision planting is because we are getting so much information from yield maps and Veris EC data.” 

What’s lacking at the moment is an understanding of how the relationship between soil types and planting rates impacts yields. Frank Groves, Cotton Verification Coordinator for the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension service has completed one year of research, and through a grant from Cotton Incorporated, will begin another three-year trial.

“We are looking at two varieties at low, medium and high seeding rates on variable soil types in three different locations in the state,” Groves says. “Ultimately, what we are shooting for is to be able to have a prescription that will fit each soil type as the planter moves across the field.”

The plots will run across light, mixed and heavy soils. Then each 12-row strip will be planted with one of five seeding rates.

“We are using a variable-rate planter, and we have a prescription, but we’re not changing it according to soil texture in this study,” says Groves. “When we harvest the plots, we’ll be able to lay the yield maps over the zones and see what seeding rate looked best in each soil zone.”

Irrigation can also impact prescriptions. For instance, there would be one seeding rate for areas of a field covered by the main span of a center pivot, another rate for the area covered by the end-gun, and yet another for areas not watered at all.

“Once we synthesize all of the information, we’ll be ready to go,” Barnes says. “Ideally we want a turn-key system that, based on the data points on soil type and yield, will give a farmer a variable-rate planting prescription that a researcher would be proud of.”

Groves agrees: “Absolutely. That is what we want to wind up with. With seed cost being what it is, ultimately our goal is to plant only as many seed as you need to.”

Leave a Reply

Planting Stories
Planting

Conservation Grant to Fund GA Cover Crop Research

February 16, 2018

A USDA-sponsored Conservation Innovation Grant will support ongoing University of Georgia research on cover crops and their effects on water quality and availability for row crop production.

Planting

Timely Rains Boost Panhandle Cotton

August 11, 2017

Timely and widespread rains in the Texas Panhandle arrived in time to help put fields on track for a good season.

Planting

TX Cotton Growers Watching Moisture Levels Closely

May 25, 2017

There is some concern that soil moisture in 2017 could be problematic, especially for Texas dryland cotton producers.

Planting

Seven Tips for Successful Cotton Planting

April 19, 2017

According to NC State Cotton Specialist Guy Collins, growers need to keep seven tips in mind at planting to help ensure a successful cotton stand.

Planting

More Cotton, Less Grain Likely in Texas in 2017

February 24, 2017

Cotton acres in Texas will likely increase this season, as producers seek an alternative to grains.

Planting

Optimize Irrigation and Fertility in High Plains Cotton

February 21, 2017

With many producers in the northern High Plains considering cotton this year, optimizing irrigation and fertility will be important to their bottom line.

Planting

Field Prep Underway for South TX Planting

February 2, 2017

With spring planting a few weeks away, growers in south Texas are making good progress on field preparation.

Around The Gin
Product News

Bayer Shares the Risk with Cotton Farmers

January 26, 2018

Bayer offers replant, crop loss and yield protection to growers who plant FiberMax and Stoneville cotton seed.

Product News

Americot Adds New Sales Support in GA, KS and TX

January 23, 2018

Americot has expanded its sales support team in Georgia, Kansas and the Rolling Plains of Texas.

Product News

Indigo Offers Premium for Indigo Cotton Production

January 9, 2018

Indigo Ag has announced a new program that offers significant price premiums for U.S. cotton growers who contract to grow Indigo Cotton.

Product News

New Bayer Varieties Focus on High Yield, Adaptability

January 5, 2018

Bayer releases five new FiberMax and Stoneville varieties for introduction in 2018.

Product News

New PhytoGen TRiO Guards Cottonseed Investment

January 3, 2018

New PhytoGen TRiO seed treatment helps provide early season protection for young cottonseed from diseases, insects and nematodes.

Product News

Americot Adds Seven to Sales, Research Teams

December 20, 2017

Americot has added seven new sales and research associates to the company’s staff across the Cotton Belt.

Product News

Seven New Varieties in Deltapine Class of 18

December 11, 2017

Seven new varieties – including five Bollgard 3 XtendFlex offerings – join the Deltapine product lineup as the Class of 18.

Product News

Special Roundup Ready PLUS Incentives for Arkansas

December 7, 2017

Monsanto is offering a special Roundup Ready PLUS Crop Management Solutions platform in Arkansas for 2018 for growers planting XtendFlex cotton and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybean varieties.

Latest News
Planting

Conservation Grant to Fund GA Cover Crop Research

February 16, 2018

A USDA-sponsored Conservation Innovation Grant will support ongoing University of Georgia research on cover crops and their effects on water quality and availability for row crop production.

Planting

Winter Wheat Feasible Cover Crop for Rolling Plains Cotton

November 27, 2017

A study led by Texas A&M AgriLife proved winter wheat can be a feasible cover crop for Rolling Plains cotton production.

Planting

Conservation Tillage Can Pay Off in Georgia

October 24, 2017

Conservation tillage saves time and money and improves the soil, but only a small percentage of Georgia farmers currently use the system.

Planting

Timely Rains Boost Panhandle Cotton

August 11, 2017

Timely and widespread rains in the Texas Panhandle arrived in time to help put fields on track for a good season.

Planting

TX Cotton Growers Watching Moisture Levels Closely

May 25, 2017

There is some concern that soil moisture in 2017 could be problematic, especially for Texas dryland cotton producers.

Planting

Seven Tips for Successful Cotton Planting

April 19, 2017

According to NC State Cotton Specialist Guy Collins, growers need to keep seven tips in mind at planting to help ensure a successful cotton stand.

Planting

More Cotton, Less Grain Likely in Texas in 2017

February 24, 2017

Cotton acres in Texas will likely increase this season, as producers seek an alternative to grains.

Planting

Optimize Irrigation and Fertility in High Plains Cotton

February 21, 2017

With many producers in the northern High Plains considering cotton this year, optimizing irrigation and fertility will be important to their bottom line.

Planting

Field Prep Underway for South TX Planting

February 2, 2017

With spring planting a few weeks away, growers in south Texas are making good progress on field preparation.

Planting

Cover Crop Costs Recovered on Rolling Plains Cotton

December 28, 2016

Irrigated cotton producers on the Texas Rolling Plains could potentially be reaping more dollars per acre if they include a cover crop on their continuous cotton.

Planting

Increasing Planter Capacity: Go Faster or Wider?

October 11, 2016

New technologies are giving growers more options to speed up planting. The best solution is the one better suited for your field shape and size.

Planting

Managing Cotton after Uneven Emergence

June 13, 2016

Mississippi State University specialists offer guidelines for managing cotton fields with uneven plant maturity.

Planting

Guidelines for Replanting Decisions

May 24, 2016

There are no definitive guidelines for making replant decisions. But a list of factors to consider may help make those decisions a bit easier.

Planting

Improved Soil Moisture for Most Texas Cotton Fields

May 4, 2016

Improved soil moisture in most cotton fields in Texas are pushing growth and maturity in early-planted acres and are setting up the state’s northern acres for good planting conditions.

Planting

USDA Projects 9.56 Million Cotton Acres in 2016

March 31, 2016

USDA’s March 31 Prospective Plantings report projects that U.S. cotton growers will plant 9.56 million acres in 2016 – an 11% increase over last year.