As the Deltapine New Product Evaluator (NPE) Program kicks off its tenth season this spring with nearly 200 growers evaluating pre-commercial variety candidates for the Class of 18, the program is being credited with helping significantly increase yield and quality expectations across the Cotton Belt.
“Since it began in 2008, the Deltapine NPE Program has resulted in the commercialization of new cotton varieties that have raised the bar for cotton performance in all regions from a production and pest management standpoint,” said Keylon Gholston, Monsanto cotton product manager. “In addition, the involvement of our NPE growers and their hard work has benefitted the entire cotton industry.”
The Class of 18 variety candidates being evaluated in 2017 show yield potential on par with, or above, current Deltapine cotton variety standards. Feedback from the NPE growers about the candidates will help determine which ones are commercialized as the Class of 18 and how to best position and manage those new products. Included in this season’s evaluations are 12 variety candidates – all containing XtendFlex technology. There are seven Bollgard 3 XtendFlex variety candidates, three Bollgard II XtendFlex variety candidates with resistance to root-knot nematodes, and five candidates that offer resistance to bacterial blight.
Bollgard 3 XtendFlex technology marks a major innovation milestone in cotton, giving growers access to best-in-class germplasm while providing enhanced, season-long protection against damage caused by key lepidopteran pests, plus the ability for in-crop use of dicamba for weed control. Bollgard 3 XtendFlex technology is built on the proven and effective success of its predecessors and contains a third protein – VIP3A – that provides a third mode of action in addition to the Cry1Ac and Cry2Ab Bt proteins found in Genuity Bollgard II cotton varieties. The introduction provides three unique proteins and modes of action, helping provide better insect control while increasing the longevity of the technology.
History of NPE
In 2007, high-performing varieties were being replaced due to the introduction of newer technology. Monsanto, having just acquired the Deltapine seed brand, met with growers to discuss their concerns. The result of those conversations was a partnership with the brand to find solutions and identify new and better varieties. The Deltapine New Product Evaluator Program was hatched.
Select growers from every region of the Cotton Belt were invited into the NPE Program to evaluate pre-commercial variety lines on their farms and in their growing systems. The first season of NPE (2008) resulted in the Deltapine Class of 09. Each new Deltapine class of varieties since has raised the bar of what growers expect in yield and fiber quality performance potential. The NPE Program has also played a significant role in the rapid adoption of varieties with the latest pest management technologies, such as Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton with tolerance to dicamba, glyphosate and glufosinate.
Planting his tenth NPE plot this season, Kent Wannamaker of St. Matthews, SC, said Monsanto and NPE growers should be proud of their accomplishments.
“The NPE Program has created teamwork between Monsanto and growers, allowing us to evaluate new Deltapine varieties on large-acre plots on our farms,” he said. “It has helped the cotton industry by delivering improved cotton varieties with better traits to grow cotton more efficiently and with increased yield potential that improves the bottom line. What it all boils down to is, we want to improve pounds per acre, and that is what the NPE Program has done.”
The Deltapine NPE Program is instrumental to the Monsanto cotton team’s ability to continually deliver better cotton varieties that meet or exceed grower expectations.
“It’s the final phase of cotton variety testing, and what separates Deltapine cotton varieties from competitor commercial varieties,” Gholston said. “All cotton producers should have confidence in Deltapine cotton varieties because they are proven to perform by NPE growers.”
Source – Deltapine