Rich's 2016 Variety Review


Choosing which variety to plant is one of the most important decisions we make as growers. This decision impacts your price per pound as much as any decision you make other than pricing your cotton. It’s a decision that we often make months before we plant. Most of us rely on previous experiences, vendor input, and variety trials in order to make this important decision. I hope over the last four seasons you have also referenced the annual Variety Report that we have compiled for you. All four of these sources of information are important and each offer different information and perspectives.

The annual Variety Report provides valuable feedback to growers about the quality characteristics of each variety that is specific to our area and farms. The first section of the book contains your grades for all bales ginned at Cherokee Gin & Cotton Co. The next section contains a bale analysis for each of your reported varieties. These two sections are very useful when determining how varieties perform on your farms and soil types in the weather conditions you experienced.

The third section of the book contains a bale analysis for all bales ginned at Cherokee Gin. Finally, the fourth section contains bale analysis’ for all bales reported for each variety. These two sections prove very valuable in comparing each variety against the average and against each other. You can also compare the entire gin grades for a variety to your own.

For those of you who never read the book, but instead just wait for the movie to come out (I’m guilty), there is a page in the report made just for you! The last page of the book contains the Cherokee Gin Variety Summary. This is a one page summary that lists each variety contained in the report, the number of bales reported for that variety, the average loan value for that variety, and the average Micronaire, Staple Length, Strength, and Uniformity for each variety. The Color Grade and Leaf Content are not considered in this section because those characteristics are almost completely determined by weather and defoliation effectiveness.

I have prepared a couple of spreadsheets to further breakdown the information contained in this summary. The first spreadsheet identifies the top two varieties for each individual characteristic. I typically only consider varieties with more than 500 bales reported to be truly representative and have developed this spreadsheet accordingly.




As you can see here, Deltapine 1646 had the highest Loan Value ($.5627) followed by Phytogen 444 ($.5551). I will also mention that Deltapine Test Plot 15R513 had the actual highest Loan Value ($.5671) and FiberMax 1944 came in just under that ($.5622), but these two varieties had less than 500 bales reported. When looking at Micronaire, the premium range is 3.7 – 4.7, therefore 4.2 is right in the middle and is the target I used for determining best Micronaire varieties. Phytogen 333 had the best Micronaire (4.22) closely followed by Phytogen 339 (4.12). Phytogen 444 had the longest staple (36.85) followed by Deltapine 1646 (36.56). Deltapine Test Plot 15R513 had the actual second best Staple Length (36.57) but did not have 500 bales reported. Phytogen 444 came in first as far as Strength is concerned (31.20) followed by DPL 1612 (30.91). Phytogen 490 (32.16), FiberMax 1944 (31.32), and Stoneville 4946 (31.19) also scored within the range of the top two varieties, but had less than 500 bales reported. Lastly, Deltapine 1639 had the best Uniformity (81.50) and Deltapine 1614 had the second best Uniformity (81.34). Deltapine Test Plot 15R513 had the actual best Uniformity (81.86) but had less than 500 bales reported.

This information can be very useful if you are trying to pick out specific traits such as a longer staple and lower micronaire for droughty soils. However, if you are looking for the overall best varieties in order to leverage a quality premium in a cotton contract, individual qualities will not help you much. To obtain this information you must look at what percentage of bales in each variety met the premium criteria. The table below does just that.


Normally, a grower would be looking for a variety in which forty to fifty percent of the bales met the premium criteria. However, considering the extreme drought that most of area suffered from during the 2016 growing season, we must lower the bar somewhat. I have identified the three varieties being most likely to meet premium criteria as Phytogen 339 (39.6%), Phytogen 444 (31.3%), and Deltapine 1614 (19.1%). FiberMax 1944 (31.9%) and Deltapine 1612 both had high percentages of bales meeting premium criteria, but had less than 500 bales reported.

As I mentioned, we must remember that this was a drought year. This data can be used to determine how each variety will respond to drought. However, you may want to look back to previous Variety Reports to compare years.

Unfortunately, due to an inability to track the necessary information, this report does not reflect yield. Quality has an impact on the price you receive per pound of cotton sold and yield determines how many pounds you have to sell. Therefore, both are economically important and should be considered closely. We have put some variety trials (conducted by other companies and/or agencies) on our website under the new “Varieties” section in order to further assist with your research.

The accuracy of this report is directly related to the participation of our growers. The more participation we have, the more accurate the report. I am happy to report that this year’s report represents over 43,000 bales or about 83% of bales ginned. Furthermore, the accuracy of varieties reported is crucial to the validity of this report. It is much better to not report the variety for a module than to report the wrong variety for the module. I would like to personally thank each of you who take the time to accurately report varieties.

For our guests who may be reading this commentary and have not received a copy of our report, please feel free to contact our office (256) 927-3434 and we will be happy to send you a report that doesn’t contain any producer specific information.


Richard “Rich” J. Lindsey Jr.
Cherokee Gin & Cotton Co.