Balancing New Varieties with Established Varieties

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Performance of the Deltapine Class of ’09 cotton varieties is generating tremendous interest across the Cotton Belt, Delta and Pineland says.

It is clear that growers are anxious to get the new varieties on their farms while maximizing the operation’s profitability, the company says. With these things in mind, a “smart transition” approach that calls for balancing these new varieties with other proven top-performers is recommended.

“Large-scale tests on more than 100 commercial farms in 2008 demonstrated the outstanding yield potential of these new Deltapine varieties, resulting in great demand for the products this spring,” said Dr. Dave Albers, U.S. cotton germplasm lead at Monsanto. “We recommend farmers devote up to 30% of their cotton acres this season to the new Class of ’09 varieties to see for themselves how these new products can take their yield potential to the next level. Growers will want to take note of how these respond to management – I think they will agree these products are easy-to-manage.”

In regions like the Mid-South where farmers have been growing high-yielding Bollgard with Roundup Ready varieties such as DP 555 BG/RR, DP 444 BG/RR and DP 445 BG/RR, it is important to continue to rely on these consistent, proven performers to maximize profitability, he said.

“These proven Deltapine varieties have shown that, year-in and year-out, they can help cotton farmers make the most of their cotton acres,” said Albers. “When every pound counts, it is smart to use these proven varieties as the foundation for a farm’s cotton acreage.”

Albers referred to this as a “smart transition” approach which creates a win-win situation. “Growers are looking to make the move to second generation traits. We’re all looking to balance gaining experience with varieties that represent the future of cotton, while continuing to benefit from the strength of varieties that have helped them maximize performance potential over the years.”

Arkansas crop consultant and farmer Adam Chappell says traditionally his recommendation for trying new varieties on a farm is no more than 25% of the total acreage. The speed at which variety improvements are made today may require a change of strategy, he says.

“Because of the quick development and delivery of new varieties to the market, many growers and consultants feel compelled to allocate up to 50% of their acres to new varieties to try and stay ahead of the curve,” Chappell said. “But it is also important to continue to plant varieties proven on your farm. In trying new lines, however, you should try and minimize risk by planting several different new varieties so you don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. And when choosing new varieties, you should always try to gather as much data from University Extension and industry trials as possible to determine how the varieties you are interested in performed in as many different environments as possible, paying particular attention to soil types similar to your own.”

When considering which Deltapine Class of ’09 varieties to try this season in conjunction with traditional performers like DP 444 BG/RR, DP 445 BG/RR, DP 555 BG/RR and DP 164 B2RF, Albers said farmers should consider the following:

DP 0912 B2RF is an early-maturing variety (similar to DP 444 BG/RR) that showed outstanding yield potential across many growing regions on both irrigated and non-irrigated ground in 2008 trials. This variety was often the top-yielding Class of ’09 variety in the 2008 Deltapine New Product Evaluator tests across the upper Mid-South and the Southwest.

DP 0920 B2RF is an early-maturing variety that demonstrated potential to offer high yield and good fiber quality in tough, non-irrigated conditions of the Mid-South and Southwest last season. It shows yield stability similar to DP 444 BG/RR.

DP 0924 B2RF was in the top yield group across 14 University of Arkansas test plots last season and showed consistent yield across soil textures and in irrigated versus dryland situations. It has a maturity similar to DP 445 BG/RR.

DP 0935 B2RF and DP 0949 B2RF are longer season varieties, each with benefits ranging from high yield potential to a nectariless trait in DP 0935 B2RF that can make the plants less attractive to plant bugs. DP 0949 B2RF is a mid- to full-season variety which has demonstrated improved staple, strength and uniformity versus DP 555 BG/RR.

To calculate how new and established Deltapine cotton varieties maximize your profit potential, see: www.compare.cottoncommunity.com.

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