NPE program kicks off its fourth year this season with nearly 200 farmers evaluating six variety candidates offering high yield potential and a range of maturities for the Class of 12.
Excellent plant vigor is the common response in early evaluations of the Deltapine Class of 12 variety candidates being tested in the New Product Evaluator (NPE) Program. The unique and innovative Deltapine Cotton NPE program kicks off its fourth year this season with nearly 200 farmers evaluating six variety candidates offering high yield potential and a range of maturities for the Class of 12. Many farmers are seeing good emergence and early vigor in the young cotton plants. “All three Class of 12 candidates we are evaluating came flying out of the ground with great vigor,” said Coley Bailey of Coffeeville, Miss., a fourth-year participant in the program. “I like that aspect of these variety candidates. They look good and will make it to true-leaf stage before all other varieties planted on our farm.” Bailey planted his NPE plot as well as other fields on a Thursday. That night, his farm received two and a half inches of rain. Although he wondered if the rain had ruined his chance for a stand, all Deltapine cotton he planted that day did emerge. The Class of 12 candidates, however, emerged a day before all other varieties planted on that Thursday. “I can tell these new varieties will be strong growers and may require some aggressive plant growth management. That will be a good problem to have in my opinion,” Bailey said. Blaine Nichols planted an NPE plot on an irrigated circle at his family’s farm in Seminole, Texas and liked what he saw early on. “They all came up looking good, considering the severe dry conditions we’ve had.” The NPE program has resulted in notable cotton variety commercialization over the past three years. Deltapine cotton varieties DP 0912 B2RF and DP 1044 B2RF, two of the top-performing varieties in their respective markets, are graduates of the NPE program. In the program, farmers evaluate pre-commercial varieties in plots large enough to make at least one module, under their own management systems and in their own fields. Just three weeks after planting his NPE plot Nichols was preparing to conduct a walking evaluation of the entire NPE plot. Nichols understands the value of the NPE program. “We’ll walk and evaluate the entire plot throughout the season and make notes so we can share with representatives from Deltapine and other NPE participants in conference calls after harvest. It is not just the final yield we evaluate. We’re looking at different aspects of each variety,” he said. Deltapine representatives conduct regular dialogue with each NPE farmer throughout the season to get feedback on the products they are testing. Final results are collected from each NPE farm and the farmers provide a full download about each variety tested. Few cotton trials are as thorough and provide such realistic evaluations as the NPE Program. The program has helped Monsanto in the process of commercializing proven Deltapine varieties and placing those varieties in regions where they offer real value to the farmer. Monsanto also works to create opportunities for NPE farmers to share their experiences with non-NPE farmers in their region, therefore allowing the non-NPE farmers to benefit from the information generated from the program. Erich Schneider of Sinton, Texas says his NPE plot attracts the attentions of neighboring farmers. “Farmers swing by our NPE plot to see how these new variety candidates are growing throughout the season,” he said. “These visits will often result in me telling them how each variety grows and how I have managed it.” The same thing happens in Mississippi at Coley Bailey’s NPE field. “Everyone within 50 miles of my farm knows I am an NPE grower and we have calls from people wanting to know where the plot is located,” he said. “We have the plot marked so people can find it. As soon as we planted we received calls from other farmers asking how many Class of 12 candidates we planted. They appreciate the fact I am helping communicate information about these potential new cotton varieties and I think many people benefit from this program beyond just the NPE farmers.” All Deltapine Class of 12 variety candidate seed was treated with Acceleron Cotton Seed Treatment Products. Exclusive to Deltapine cotton varieties, Acceleron Cotton Seed Treatment Products help maximize the performance potential of Deltapine cotton right from the start, providing protection from diseases, insects and nematodes. To learn more about Acceleron Seed Treatment Products, visit http://www.acceleronsts.com. To learn more about Deltapine cotton varieties, go to www.deltapine.com. To learn more about Monsanto and the company’s commitments, please visit: www.monsanto.com.