Comparison Shopping for Farmers

It’s that time of the year again when cotton farmers are making decisions about which direction to take their farming operations. There are so many choices that face farmers when deciding what to plant, what the market will do and what the greatest return for their dollar will be.  Nothing in the world of farming is cheap, making each decision pivotal when trying to get the most money back in return. One of the most important decisions is what seed variety to plant.  This can make quite a difference on your bottom line based on the cost per bag, how many acres one bag will plant, and what that variety is expected to do throughout the year.  While it really is a best guess scenario as to what the year will hold for the crop; nobody expected the amount of rain we had last year or the rapid influx of resistant weed issues several years ago; looking at data collected from previous years on that certain variety should give you a good estimate as to what it is capable of producing.  Texas A&M AgriLife Extension conducts Replicated Agronomic Cotton Evaluation (RACE) Trials in every county each year.  This is an unbiased view of varieties from each of the seed companies pitted against each other.  The data collected from these trials indicate the various yield and fiber quality potential in varieties that are all treated the same; same fertilizer, herbicide, irrigation (or rainfall for dryland trials) and planting and harvest date. In addition to utilizing the RACE trial results it is necessary to determine the net return for the cost of the seed.  In a report that is available on the Collingsworth County Extension website ( the net return per cost of seed based on lint yield and loan value has been determined for the varieties in the 2015 Collingsworth County irrigated and dryland trials.  The return does not take into account the cost of fertilizer, herbicide or additional items as each farmer will have different inputs, however all seed utilized in the trials comes treated.  The report is meant to showcase where dollars spent can be better utilized based on what type of production and value you are getting out of the cotton.  It is important to make an educated guesstimate on whether the most expensive bag of seed gives you the most bang for your buck, or whether the more economical bag of seed gives you a more proportional rate of return when factoring risk associated with it as well.  Ultimately, looking at previous year’s data, both from the RACE trials and your own experience with particular varieties, will give you a good implication of what varieties will fit into your operation and get you more profit.

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