Deltapine NPE Program Begins 12th Year of On-Farm Variety Evaluations

Growers in the Deltapine New Product Evaluator (NPE) Program will evaluate Bollgard 3 XtendFlex variety candidates this season for the Deltapine Class of 20.

“In every region of the Cotton Belt, there are variety candidates – nine in all – being evaluated that have shown yield potential greater than or equal to DP 1646 B2XF,” said Keylon Gholston, Deltapine cotton products manager. “The Class of 20 is as strong of a class I’ve seen since the program began and has potential varieties that offer outstanding fiber qualities and significantly more disease tolerances than previous classes. The Class of 20, which will be introduced in December, has the potential to continue driving average yield for U.S. growers upward.”


Regionally, Deltapine NPE growers will plant a larger number of candidates than in previous seasons, including six candidates in the Southeast, Mid-South and Far West regions, and seven candidates in the Southwest region. A focus of this year’s NPE program is identifying Bollgard 3 XtendFlex varieties for each production region that offer similar or better performance than DP 1646 B2XF and other high-performing Deltapine varieties currently on the market.

Based on company breeder testing the past two seasons, highlights of the Class of 20 variety candidates are:

  • All nine of the NPE candidates have shown yield greater or equal to DP 1646 B2XF in at least one region of the Cotton Belt
  • Two of nine candidates show potential for staple length greater than 39, with four of the nine candidates showing staple length greater than 38
  • Two of nine candidates show potential for fiber strength greater than 31.5 g/tex, and five of the nine candidates have demonstrated strength greater than 30 g/tex
  • Six of nine candidates are resistant or moderately resistant to bacterial blight
  • Five of nine candidates being evaluated in Texas are moderately tolerant or tolerant to Verticillium wilt

“I can’t express how important the NPE Program has become to my farm and my neighbors’ farms,” said Jason Waltz of St. Matthews, SC, an NPE grower since the program began in 2008. “It’s an amazing program putting farmers on the forefront testing new genetics and traits, and I am excited about it every year. We need the Bollgard 3 gene in varieties that yield and grade like DP 1646 B2XF, so evaluating for the Class of 20 this season will be exciting.”

NPE growers will plant and evaluate Class of 20 candidates on large-acre plots for a true farm test. The plots will be managed accordingly to each grower’s practices, consist of both irrigated and non-irrigated fields, planted on various soil types and be subjected to local environmental conditions. Feedback from the approximate 200 NPE growers across the Cotton Belt helps Deltapine determine which candidates to commercialize.

Now in its 12th season, the Deltapine NPE Program has increased the level of confidence growers have in new seed genetics, says Gholston, citing DP 1646 B2XF, which was first planted commercially in 2016 and in two years has become the most widely planted cotton variety in the country, based on 2018 USDA data.

“Farmers are confident in new Deltapine varieties because they know the NPE growers have evaluated them and given them their approval,” Gholston said. “The NPE growers are key to this program’s success. Their willingness to share data and information, the network they have created among themselves, their dedication to doing large-scale plot work correctly – it all shows how unselfish they are. They are doing this for the benefit of their own farms and the entire U.S. cotton industry, which they want to be successful.”


Based on information from Deltapine