VARIABILITY OF yield is one of the major problems facing Arkansas cotton producers, said Derrick Oosterhuis, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture cotton physiologist.

“What it boils down to is that Arkansas yields vary widely, from very good one year to disastrous the next year,” Oosterhuis said. “It's become so problematic that we focused our entire 2001 Cotton Research meeting on how we're addressing it with research.”

Summaries of the research meeting presentations and of on-going cotton research projects are printed in a new publication from the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station. The book, “Proceedings of the 2001 Cotton Research Meeting and Summaries of Cotton Research in Progress,” was edited by Oosterhuis and is available free from the Experiment Station. Call 501-575-5670 and request Special Report 204.

Oosterhuis said fluctuations in yield are affected, in broad terms, by genetics and environment. “We're looking at genetics to find traits breeders can use to develop new varieties with more consistent yields, and we're also doing a lot of research in physiology to see how the plants respond to environmental factors that may affect yield,” he said.