Cotton producers who catch their own seed for planting should pay particular attention to seed quality this year.

“High-quality seed is crucial for establishing a good stand. Some producers are reducing seeding rates due to seed costs and new precision planters. This makes seed quality even more important,” says Randy Boman, a Texas Extension cotton agronomist based at Lubbock. “Many growers still opt to plant conventional varieties using delinted, treated and bagged seed from the previous crop.

“We experienced cool, wet fall conditions on the South Plains in 2004 and we harvested some immature cotton. Both can reduce seed quality,” he says. “If you plan on reducing seeding rates in 2005 or planting saved seed from conventional varieties, you should take extra steps to ensure seed quality.”

Boman recommends having your seed checked by a reputable lab. To find a lab, consult your local Extension office. Fuzzy seed should be tested. If its free-fatty acid content is less than 1.5% its quality is suspect, says Boman.