The innovative Deltapine Cotton New Product Evaluator (NPE) program kicks off its fifth year this season with over 200 elite farmers evaluating five variety candidates offering high yield potential and a range of maturities for the Class of 13.
NPE farmers are excited about the varieties they are evaluating this season, as well as the NPE graduates they currently grow on their farms.
“I’m proud to be a Deltapine NPE famer,” said Neil Lee of Dawson, GA, a participant in the program since its start in 2008. “It’s a great opportunity to test out the latest varieties before they’re sold commercially. I’m interested in how all of the Class of 13 variety candidates will perform, but I’m especially excited about seeing DP 11R159 B2R2 again. I grew it in my plot last year, and I know that Deltapine is excited about its potential. I’m going to watch it closely this year, and make sure I manage it with plant growth regulators. It’s a real aggressive grower. I think it’s got real potential to be a fit in this region.”
Lee’s statement isn’t unusual. Other NPE farmers across the Cotton Belt are excited about the potential of their NPE plots. Jim Massey planted an NPE plot on his farm in Robstown, TX and likes what he’s seen.
“All of the NPE varieties came up quickly. We planted our plot in mid-March after a rain. They’re all looking good now, considering the dry conditions we’ve had. Right now, I’m waiting on another rain. If we can get some moisture, we’ll have a good year to evaluate these variety candidates.”
Over the past four years, the NPE program has defined itself as the industry’s premier variety evaluation and commercialization program, resulting in notable cotton variety introductions such as DP 0912 B2RF, DP 1044 B2RF and DP 1252 B2RF. In the program, farmers evaluate each pre-commercial variety candidate in 20-25 acre plots, large enough to make at least one module, and under their own management systems, growing environment and soil types. Massey has kept close eye on his plot this season, walking through the crop and preparing himself for the variety evaluations that go along with being an NPE farmer.
“We watch the plot throughout the season,” Massey says. “The information that NPE farmers provide during the growing year is invaluable to both Deltapine and the cotton industry. The NPE program is good at getting trustworthy information to cotton farmers. NPE farmers evaluate Deltapine pre-commercial varieties on large plots, providing more useful data and real-world experience for the entire cotton industry.”
Monsanto follows up with each NPE farmer throughout the season to get feedback on the variety candidates they are evaluating. Final harvest results are collected from each NPE farm and the farmer provides a full review about each line. Few cotton trials are as thorough, and provide such realistic evaluations, as the NPE program. The program has allowed Monsanto to commercialize proven Deltapine varieties and to place those varieties in regions where they offer real value to the farmer with optimum yield and fiber quality potential. Outside of his plot acres, much of Massey’s commercial acres are planted to NPE program variety graduates.
“I plant NPE variety graduates DP 1219 B2RF and DP 1044 B2RF on my farm. DP 1044 B2RF is a consistent dryland performer that I’ve planted for several years. It’s my first year planting DP 1219 B2RF, but I’m really excited about it. I didn’t have it in my NPE plot last year, but I saw how it produced not only in my region, but across the entire Cotton Belt. I’ve learned a lot about not only NPE varieties, but about growing cotton too.”
Lee has found similar success on his farm in Georgia.
“I grow four Deltapine NPE graduates on my farm,” Lee says. “The varieties I grow, DP 1252 B2RF, DP 1050 B2RF, DP 1137 B2RF and DP 0912 B2RF, were all tested first as NPE candidates on my farm. These varieties were commercialized by Monsanto because they offered yield and fiber quality improvement over other commercialized varieties. These Deltapine cotton varieties have helped me maximize my profit potential year in and year out.”
To learn more about Deltapine cotton varieties, go to www.deltapine.com.