“I am convinced after looking at DP 444 BG/RR harvest results for 2003 that this variety offers a vast improvement in micronaire and other fiber quality traits,” says Tom Kerby, vice president of technical services for D&PL. “Many producers who grew large acreages of this product reported no discounts, and many reported getting a premium.”

Pete Hunter of Stovall Farms near Clarksdale, Miss., planted 609 acres of DP 444 BG/RR in 2003. About 81percent of the acreage was irrigated and it averaged 1,288 pounds of lint cotton per acre.

“I had some big fields of DP 444 BG/RR that yielded more than 1,400 pounds, including one field that picked 1,410 pounds per acre,” says Hunter. “The DP 444 BG/RR graded excellent. When I pick up a grade sheet, the first thing I look at is the loan price, and the best loan price you can expect to get in Coahoma County is 52.35 cents. We beat that with DP 444 BG/RR.”

Hunter thinks DP 444 BG/RR can be a good replacement for PM 1218 BG/RR, a variety Delta and Pine Land brought into its lineup from its merger with Paymaster Seed Co.

“I saw a little bit of split terminal in it, but it did not seem to have an effect whatsoever. DP 444 BG/RR seems like the kind of cotton that, if given everything it needs, will perform and grade extremely well.”

Brantley Farming Co. in England, Ark., grew 540 acres of DP 444 BG/RR in 2003 as seed increase for D&PL.

“We had an exceptional cotton crop – every one of our D&PL varieties performed very well,” says Laudies Brantley Jr. “All of them yielded in the 1,100 to 1,200 pounds per acre range. The DP 444 BG/RR was pure premium for us.”

DP 444 BG/RR yielded well and delivered perfect leaf grade, he says. “The average micronaire was 4.1, staple 36 and the strength was 28 or better. We plan to plant more acres of our crop to DP 444 BG/RR in 2004.”

DP 444 BG/RR has performed well across a wide area of the Midsouth and Southeast. Management requirements for DP 444 BG/RR are similar to those for PM 1218 BG/RR.

“DP 444 BG/RR tends to be one to two days earlier than PM 1218 BG/RR and SG 215 BG/RR,” Kerby says. “It has shown very good early-season vigor.”

DP 444 BG/RR, as well as all other D&PL Upland cotton varieties, will be packaged in new seed-count units. Bags will contain a minimum of 250,000 seeds, and Boll Box bulk delivery systems will contain a minimum of 8 million seeds to simplify pricing and production planning.

D&PL expects to have a supply of seed for DP 444 BG/RR in 2004, according to Kerby. 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. Headquartered in Scott, Miss, Delta and Pine Land has offices in eight states and facilities in several foreign countries. For more information, please refer to the company’s website at www.deltaandpine.com.

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com