HARTSVILLE, S.C. – John Deere, Delta and Pine Land Co., and Monsanto have put together a project aimed at helping growers adapt their farming practices for producing cotton in 15-inch rows.

In what is thought to be a first of its kind collaborative effort, the three companies will work closely with Gill Rogers, a grower in Hartsville. Each will provide the products, tools and support a producer like Rogers might need to successfully produce a high-quality crop of narrow-row cotton.

Rogers’ experiences throughout the growing season will be documented on the web site www.15inchcotton.com.

The Rogers operation should be an excellent proving ground for the various tools used in narrow-row cotton. “Most of our acreage is coastal plain soil, so there’s a lot of variation to contend with, even within individual fields,” he noted.

“We first tried 15-inch rows in 1998. The idea is to utilize all the heat units you can, to set and retain more of the first- and second-position fruit. Plus, we thought we could save a little money and farm some of our irregularly shaped fields. We had success producing the crop, but at that time we had to harvest with a stripper, so the market wasn’t as good.”

A new system from John Deere – the PRO-12 Vari-Row Cotton Picker Units – offers a spindle-pick solution to the harvest challenges that have traditionally plagued growers of narrow-row cotton. But, as one of the principals in this joint effort notes, this is only one of the new tools available to help growers succeed in 15-inch rows.

“In the past six years, since Gill first started growing narrow-row cotton, there have been tremendous advancements in seed, equipment and crop care technology,” notes Peter Peerbolte, marketing director for D&PL.

“We’re excited about partnering with John Deere and Monsanto to harness all these innovations and provide growers with new insights into growing a high-quality, narrow-row crop that has the potential to return maximum profits at harvest.”

The new web site www.15inchcotton.com is up and running now. Check the site throughout the growing season for updates on the crop as well as Gill Rodgers’ opinions on the equipment, chemicals and seed that can help make narrow-row production successful.

John Deere is the world's leading manufacturer of agricultural and forestry equipment; a leading supplier of equipment used in lawn, grounds and turf care; and a major manufacturer of construction equipment. Additionally, John Deere manufactures engines used in heavy equipment and provides financial services and other related activities that support the core businesses. Since it was founded in 1837, the company has established a heritage of quality products and services providing performance that endures to customers worldwide.

Delta and Pine Land 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., D&PL 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.

Monsanto Co. is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. For more information on Monsanto’s products, see www.monsanto.com.

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com