The seventh season of the Deltapine New Product Evaluator (NPE) program is underway, with growers planting and evaluating six different variety candidates for the Class of 15, including two new lines bred for root-knot nematode (RKN) resistance.
Also, as part of the Monsanto Ground Breakers Field Trials Under Permit, four NPE farmers – each located in a different region of the Cotton Belt – will evaluate the first Bollgard II XtendFlex variety candidates under regulated trial conditions.
“The NPE program allows us to commercialize advanced and improved genetics that are being adapted by farmers across the Belt at a fast rate,” said Keylon Gholston, Deltapine cotton products manager. “Variety candidates anticipated for the Class of 15 – pending regulatory approvals – include exciting herbicide-resistant technology, as well as more root-knot nematode-resistant lines to add to the leading lineup of Deltapine cotton varieties.”
Each season, pre-commercial Deltapine variety candidates are evaluated by farmers across all growing regions, in large-acre plots, under different management systems and conditions. When all data and farmer feedback are collected, what emerges is a true picture of growth habits, performance potential and best management practices for the newly-commercialized Deltapine varieties.
This year, cotton growers will be monitoring 200 NPE farms for information on how the new variety candidates perform across different moisture levels and other growing conditions.
Each new class of Deltapine varieties introduced since 2009 has offered improved production potential for targeted regions and management systems. The NPE program has been responsible for commercialization of cotton varieties that are in high demand for planting this season, such as DP 1321 B2RF, DP 1410 B2RF and DP1454NR B2RF – a variety bred for nematode resistance and released for planting in the Class of 14.
“The Deltapine varieties have come on strong in West Texas the past four or five years, and I believe a big part of that is the NPE program,” said Jerry Stanford, an NPE farmer from Whiteface, TX. “The varieties that have been commercialized through the program are so much better in yield and fiber quality, and they’re getting people’s attention.”
Stanford has experienced yields of four bales per acre with the newer Deltapine varieties in his drip-irrigated fields. He has also seen other Deltapine varieties bred for nematode resistance and dryland production turn a potential insurance claim into a harvestable field.
The exposure generated by the NPE program has also contributed to the brand’s growth in Texas. Area farmers often visit Stanford’s NPE plot, and Stanford said he finds himself discussing what he is evaluating in the field with his colleagues.
“The NPE program allows me to be a contributor in a positive way,” Stanford said. “I participate in conference calls with farmers and talk to neighboring farmers about the NPE plot, so information on these varieties spreads. I see friends who have been planting most of their acres to a competitor brand now trying more Deltapine.”
Johnny Cochran, an NPE farmer in Sylvester, GA, says farmers should feel comfortable planting acres to newly-commercialized Deltapine varieties.
“Companies are developing new varieties so fast that farmers have to rely more on company data before trying something new,” said Cochran. “The NPE program gives Deltapine an advantage, because pre-commercial varieties are evaluated in large-scale, on-farm plots before they are sold. I think, for the most part, farmers are comfortable with the NPE data, especially when they know the farmer that evaluated the varieties in their area.
“The program has also given the Deltapine cotton team the ability to develop varieties that fit the growing conditions of specific regions. They seem to keep developing better and better varieties.”
Source – Deltapine