Despite disastrous late-season environmental conditions throughout much of the Mid-South in 2001, cotton farmers shouldn't have a problem finding plenty of high-quality cottonseed in 2002.

Extended periods of high humidity and heavy rainfall throughout August and early September 2001 caused boll rot, hard-lock and cottonseed that germinated in the boll, all disasters for many Delta cotton farmers. It also could have caused a shortage of high-quality cottonseed for the 2002.

However, most major cottonseed suppliers hedge their bets by spreading seed production acreage across the Cotton Belt, diminishing the effects of adverse weather conditions in any one region.

Stoneville

“Our Mid-South seed supply was devastated, not unlike any other seed company growing seed in the Mid-South,” says Danny Rogers, national marketing manager for Stoneville Pedigreed Seed in Memphis. “We had to turn much of our Delta seed production away because the quality wasn't there. We might have brought in 10 percent of what we grew in the Mid-South.”

Fortunately, however, Stoneville shifted a large portion of its 2001 seed production out of the Mid-South and into Texas, Arizona and California. “We are fortunate we made that move,” Rogers says.

“The bottom line is that we have a good supply of high-quality seed, even factoring in our Mid-South losses,” he says. “The only variety that may be a little bit tight is ST4793R. We have a good supply of that seed, we just don't fully understand what demand will be in 2002.”

Delta and Pine Land

Jim Willeke, vice president of sales and marketing with Delta and Pine Land Company in Scott, Miss., says, “I'd like to alleviate any concerns growers may have about seed supply in 2002. We have an excellent inventory of high-quality seed, as well as good inventories of key products across the company's entire cottonseed product line. In fact, the overall quality of our cottonseed in 2002 is better than it was in 2001.

“We are raising significant quantities of seed in four major production areas. 2001 was the best seed production year we've had in 10 years in our locations, both in Texas and in the Southwest,” he says.

According to Willeke, Delta and Pine Land increased production of several popular cottonseed varieties, including PM1218, DP451, DP458 and SG215BR, in anticipation of the 2002 season. The company also has two new cottonseed releases — DP491 and DP555BGRR — which will be available in limited supply in 2002.

FiberMax

According to Lee Rivenbark with Aventis, that company has already filled substantial orders for 2002 for FiberMax cottonseed varieties 958, 966, 832B and 989BR. “Even after filling the orders to date, we have a very solid supply of most of our varieties.”

In the Southeast, Rivenbark says, FiberMax may run into a shortage of 989RR and 991RR. The reason, he says, is that a March 2001 Roundup Ready agreement with Monsanto didn't give Aventis adequate time to produce a large quantity of seed in time for the 2002 crop season. “We had to get that seed from our Australian partner company. We bought all that they had, but their seed was in short supply,” he says. “All of our 2003 seed will be grown in 2002 in the United States.”

In the Southwest, Rivenbark says, 989RR is the only variety that could run short in 2002. “At this point, we've filled all of our south Texas seed orders except 989RR.”

Rivenbark recommends growers book what they need for 2002 as soon as possible.

Phytogen

Bobby Haygood with Dow Agrosciences, which produces Phytogen cottonseed, says indications are that his company too will have a good supply of high-quality cottonseed in 2002.

All three of the company's conventional cottonseed varieties are produced in west Texas.

“We have plenty of PSC355 seed available. Our other two varieties, which are tailored to Southeastern cotton growers, will be available in 2002 as certified seed. We hope to go to 100 percent certified seed in the future because it helps us insure our customers are receiving seed with 100 percent genetic purity,” Haygood says.

“As a smaller company, we have the flexibility to go through the certification process required to offer certified seed.”


e-mail: dmuzzi@primediabusiness.com.