As Americot Cotton Breeder Tom Brooks took the microphone at a September field day in Lubbock, TX, he told the hundred or so growers attending that he might get repetitive.
“One of the things you’re going to hear me repeat about our varieties – especially our experimentals – is staple length,” he said. “There’s a big push in our pipeline to move that needle in our products going forward.”
This move for market advancement continues to drive Americot’s business. After surprising the cottonseed market in 2016 by vaulting into second place in market share – plus the country’s top planted variety that year – the company continues to hold its own in terms of popular high yielding varieties and market expansion.
In 2019, according to the USDA Cotton Varieties Planted report, the company’s NexGen brand holds 23% of the total U.S. market and leads the Southwest market with 32% of region’s acres. Three of their varieties – NG 4545 B2XF, NG 4777 B2XF and NG 3406 B2XF – are among the top ten most planted this year.
But to maintain success, the product line must evolve. And it’s a key reason why the end rows along the Americot Cotton Evaluation Trials in Lubbock were full of interested growers.
For starters, they came to see and hear about how several new NexGen varieties were faring in their first year on the market, primarily:
- NG 3930 B3XF (early-medium maturity variety that has shown good performance across the Cotton Belt, especially on Verticillium wilt acres)
- NG 4936 B3XF (medium maturity Beltwide variety with high yield potential and excellent fiber package)
- NG 5711 B3XF (full season variety for dryland and limited irrigation in the Southern High Plains and Rolling Plains)
- NG 3956 B3XF (early-to-mid maturity variety for West Texas with strong seedling vigor and high grades on turnout) and
- NG 2982 B3XF (early maturing “bread and butter” variety for the Northern Plains).
Brooks – one of five Americot cotton breeders across the U.S. – also shared information about six potential new varieties in the plot. “We have five B3XF experimental varieties and one XF variety,” he explained. “At least three of these could be on the market next season, but we haven’t made a final decision yet.”
One of the experimentals is a broadly adapted early-to-mid maturity variety with the potential to be the next workhorse in the NexGen line. “It’s our first year looking at it with traits added, and we’re talking about one to two staple lengths longer than NG 3406 B2XF. It will be a general contender everywhere we place it.”
Among the other B3XF experimentals is a potential dryland variety for West Texas with bacterial blight resistance and a good fiber package; a larger seeded, disease tolerant variety with exceptional staple length for the High Plains and Rolling Plains; a new mid-maturity variety with a good fit in the Southern High Plains; and a mid-maturity variety with great staple length and good disease tolerance for dryland and irrigated acres in the High Plains and Rolling Plains.
The potential XF-only variety offers early-to-mid maturity, bacterial blight resistance, high yields and improved staple length for West Texas acres north of Lubbock.
“Next year, there will probably be closer to 20 new experimentals to talk about,” said Brooks. “We see our pipeline growing each season and look forward to being able to move our game up each year.”