An early-season, Bollgard/Roundup Ready stacked-gene variety, DP 444 BG/RR was tested in State Official Variety Trials across the Cotton Belt in 2002, according to D&PL. In these trials, it demonstrated a strong ability to produce good fiber quality, especially in the micronaire category.

DP 444 BG/RR has also been through D&PL field-testing across early season markets in the Mid-South and Southeast. In 2002 in these regions, not one fiber sample of DP 444 BG/RR produced in company tests hit the high-mike discount level.

Extensive testing has shown that DP 444 BG/RR is another early maturing D&PL stacked-gene product that offers very good fiber quality potential, says Jim Willeke, vice president of sales and marketing.

''In 2002, we demonstrated that cotton yields could be pushed to new heights with the high-powered DP 555 BG/RR,'' he says. ''This season, in a limited commercial release of DP 444 BG/RR, we will show that early-season, stacked-gene varieties can offer farmers excellent fiber quality potential.''

D&PL collected fiber data from 203 individual DP 444 BG/RR testing locations across the Cotton Belt in 2002. The locations included D&PL Agronomic Services Tests, D&PL breeder plots, state OVTs, county Extension agent trials and private crop consultant trials.

In 92 percent of the 203 locations tested, DP 444 BG/RR avoided micronaire discounts. None of the testing locations in the Mid-South or Southeast recorded high mike, and 54 percent of the total 203 locations were in the premium micronaire range.

In field testing across early-season markets in the Mid-South and Southeast to date, DP 444 BG/RR has demonstrated an ability to yield similar to PM 1218 BG/RR and a wide adaptability, similar to that of SG 215 BG/RR.

''Based on our testing, DP 444 BG/RR should be an excellent early-maturing variety for growers in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia,'' Willeke says. ''DP 444 BG/RR is another outstanding product in a group of varieties making their way through D&PL's breeding and testing programs that will offer farmers new and better choices for yield and fiber quality stability.''

Delta and Pine Land Company is a commercial breeder, producer and marketer of cotton planting seed, as well as soybean seed, in the Cotton Belt. For almost 90 years, the company has used its extensive plant breeding programs, drawing from a diverse germplasm base, to develop improved cotton varieties.

Delta and Pine Land Company (NYSE: DLP), headquartered in Scott, Mississippi, has offices in eight states and facilities in several foreign countries. For more information on D&PL 444 BG/RR, go to the company's website at www.deltaandpine.com.

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com