Howell Presents Big-Plot Cotton Study Results

Thursday, January 18, 2018
Clay County Extension Agent Allison Howell with a poster used in her cotton plot research presentation.
courtesy photo

Earlier this month Clay County Extension Agent for Agriculture, Allison Howell, traveled to Texas to present the findings gathered from cotton plot variety tests conducted in the area. The findings were shared at the Beltwide Cotton Conference, held Jan. 1 to 5, in San Antonio, Tex. During the research, Howell had worked to compare costs, and prices, on various cotton plots based on size and had worked with a local producer to reach the conclusions presented.

“Small plot cotton variety trials are conducted all throughout the south and in Arkansas, but little information is available with regard to the influence of fiber quality from a commercial ginned study,” Howell explained of her work. “The Big Block Cotton Plot was implemented on David Cagle’s farm. We planted 72 rows of 10 different cotton varieties from five different companies on May 8, 2017, and Cagle treated this field just like any other cotton field throughout the growing season.”

At the end of the season, the cotton varieties were then picked according to readiness.

“Fifty-four rows were picked out of each variety to make a module. The modules were then taken to Graves Gin where they were ginned separately,” Howell added. “Barbi Anderson worked hard to sell the modules individually and put them into the loan separately. This allowed us to be able to see the quality of each of the varieties of cotton and not just the yield.”

Howell noted this helped determine the income per acre, lint yield, leaf grade, turnout, staple, strength, mic and uniformity. “Discounts associated with excessive leaf and micronaire are common in Arkansas, so that is one thing that made this plot stand out. It showed the leaf and micronaire of each variety to help farmers compare varieties not just by quantity, but by quality,” she offered. “Sampling and selling each variety separately shows the differences in quality of each as well as the yield and the price earned from each acre. All varieties defoliated and performed well, but there were differences in leaf.” She indicated these differences were associated with variety characteristics.

“Some varieties may be high lint yielders, but others may be better quality and bring more money dollars per acre even though they might not have picked as much as another variety,” Howell explained. “Although this form of test plot requires more work from the farmer and gin, it can greatly help local farmers better understand how cotton varieties in our area do in a whole-field situation on Northeast Arkansas soils.”

Those wanting additional information about the Big Block Cotton Plot research may contact the extension office in Piggott at (870)-598-2246, or visit

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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