From Cotton Grower Magazine – November 2017
How do you follow up a year when you surprised the market and nearly turned cotton seed market share on its head? For Americot, the answer is to keep moving ahead and fill out the product line to reduce geographic gaps.
For 2017, so far, so good.
“We’re hoping to continue our momentum” says Brad Littlefield, product manager for Americot. “In areas where we had good market share, we want to keep that, especially with our first year growers. In other areas, we’re still in the climb and looking to make our mark.”
This season, Americot’s NexGen varieties increased overall market share to 27% of all U.S. cotton acres – a 4.5% jump. Five of the company’s varieties were among the top 20 most popular for the year, led by its workhorse NG 3406 B2XF, a high-yielding, early-to-medium maturing variety with excellent fiber quality that fits a broad Cotton Belt geography.
“NG 3406 B2XF is an animal all its own,” states Littlefield. “There are growers who love it, and they don’t want anything else.”
Other top performers for the year include NG 4545 B2XF, a West Texas cotton with potential for movement farther east; NG 3699 B2XF, a mid-early variety with a good disease package and high end fiber quality; and NG 3640 XF, which also offers high yield and quality potential, plus Verticillium wilt and bacterial blight tolerance.
Both NG 3699 B2XF and NG 3640 XF were introduced this year. Good supplies of each variety is expected for 2018.
For 2018, Americot plans to add four new varieties to its product line, led by NG 5711 B3XF – the first NexGen offering with the Bollgard 3 Bt technology. Littlefield is excited about its potential.
“It won’t be a traditional launch, because we have the production plan in place for plenty of seed,” he explains. It’s a B3XF and is bacterial blight resistant. Because of its disease package and maturity range, it’s going to be a positioned in the Southeast, lower Mid-South and Coastal Bend of Texas. It has good feet under it in terms from moving from east to west.”
The other three new varieties feature the B2XF and XF technologies. NG 3780 B2XF is early-mid maturity and a companion variety to NG 3699 B2XF. NG 4777 B2XF offers medium maturity and is a sister to NG 4545. The third new XF-only variety is more indeterminate, with a longer maturity and larger geographic footprint.
But perhaps the biggest change for 2018 is the expansion of the Americot/NexGen sales and technical team. That means a higher level of service and visibility in all key geographic regions.
“We’ve made a significant investment in additional people,” says Littlefield. “In the past, we had some gaps in our portfolio, especially in the Southeast and Mid-South. With those gaps filled, we’ll have more boots on the ground. We can spend more time with our retailer and grower customers. We’ll also be increasing on-farm, local trials – not just OVTs – to get more exposure for our varieties. That will give us a better chance of retaining and adding acres.
“Our pipeline is coming into fruition, and we have the right genetics with the right traits,” he adds. “We feel like we’re finally there.”