Boll weevil eradication and insect-resistant cotton have either eradicated or minimized the impact of two very important pests in cotton and opened the door for more full-season varieties. In addition, changes in the market have made fiber quality a big concern for producers and cotton breeders. With this in mind, here are new variety and technology offerings for the 2005 season from some of the cotton seed companies.

Delta and Pine Land

New commercial varieties from Delta and Pine Land include one conventional, three Roundup Ready varieties and one stacked variety:

DP 393 is an early maturity, smooth leaf conventional variety with medium plant height, excellent fiber quality and excellent yield potential.

DP 432 RR is an early-maturing hairy leaf variety, with good storm resistance, improved fiber quality and excellent yield potential.

DP 434 RR is an early maturity, smooth leaf variety with very good storm resistance, reduced micronaire and excellent yield potential.

DP 494 RR is a mid-full season maturity, semi-smooth leaf variety with outstanding fiber quality and excellent yield potential.

DP 488 BG/RR is a mid-full season maturity, semi-smooth leaf variety with excellent yield potential and excellent fiber quality potential. Performs best in full season environments, particularly, south Texas, south Delta and the Southeast.

Promising new experimental strains include one Roundup Ready variety, two stacked varieties and one Bollgard II, Roundup Ready variety. According to Delta and Pine Land, the first two varieties on the following list offer growers the combination of yield and quality the international market is demanding.

DPLX 01W93BR is a mid-maturity, or earlier, variety with outstanding fiber quality and excellent yield potential.

DPLX 01X39BR is a mid-maturity, smooth leaf variety with high gin turnout, excellent quality package and outstanding yield potential.

DPLX 02T57R is a mid-maturity, or earlier, smooth leaf variety with excellent heat tolerance, improved fiber quality, improved yield versus DP 5415 RR.

DPLX 03W301DR is a Bollgard II/Roundup Ready, mid-full season maturity variety with very good fiber quality.

Delta and Pine Land Co. has acquired licenses from Syngenta to develop and commercialize Syngenta's insect resistance technology in cottonseed. The first product to be commercialized under the agreements will be VipCot, a novel insect control trait.

Depending on the timing of regulatory approval for VipCot cotton, D&PL expects to have limited quantities of seed available as early as 2006. Subsequent varieties are expected to contain VipCot stacked with a herbicide trait and thereafter with another insect resistant gene.

Emergent Genetics

Emergent Genetics, Inc., will release eight new Stoneville varieties in 2005. Six new picker offerings include four new stacked varieties — two with Bollgard II technology — and two new Roundup Ready varieties for 2005:

NG 3969R is a Roundup Ready NexGen variety which will be released for High Plains growers who need early-maturity, high-fiber quality, storm-proof cottons.

ST 3636B2R is a new Bollgard II/Roundup Ready variety which provides growers the option of planting a very-early variety without sacrificing yield or fiber quality, according to Stoneville. It also allows more opportunity under replant conditions with the benefit of Bollgard II for increased lepidopterous control.

ST 4575BR and ST 4686R provide the improved fiber quality that growers need without losing yield potential. They are slightly earlier than ST 4892BR with excellent pickability. “These varieties represent some of the latest fruits of the commitment by Emergent Genetics to supply growers with better fiber quality while maintaining high yield potential with the technology that they demand,” said Mike Robinson, an Emergent Genetics breeder based in Stoneville, Miss.

ST 5454B2R is a smooth-leaf, medium-maturity variety with the Bollgard II/Roundup Ready technology. It is a little earlier than ST 5599BR and has a desirable fiber-quality package that should reduce discounts, including micronaire.

ST 6636BR is a full-season Bollgard/Roundup Ready variety that offers good yield potential and tremendous fiber quality, according to Stoneville.

ST 6848R comes from the same new full-season maturity germplasm as ST 6636BR and is perfect for growers who prefer a single-gene Roundup Ready variety or need an option for refugia.

Both ST 6636BR and ST 6848R are smooth-leaf varieties that offer excellent fiber quality that may be better than ST 5599BR and other leading competitive varieties, particularly in staple and strength, according to Mark Barfield, manager of Emergent Genetics Southeast Research Station. “The varieties represent new germplasm that has never had bronze wilt detected in it.

“Both varieties make a very good middle and top crop. Their full-season maturity is well-suited to both dryland and irrigated production on coarse-textured soils of the Coastal Plain. When the weather turns dry and hot, this germplasm has a tendency to hunker down during the day.”

NG 3969R is the latest addition to the high-fiber quality, storm-proof NexGen brand of cotton varieties. This high yield potential variety responds well to irrigated production. NG 3969R is a smooth-leaf variety with mid-season maturity. It has excellent staple length, strength and micronaire.

ST 3664R has fiber length and strength similar to ST 4793R, but with a little lower micronaire. This stripper variety yields as well as, or better than, ST 4793R and its storm-proof boll type allows greater flexibility with harvest timing. ST 3664R is well-suited to dryland production; its fuller-season maturity gives it the benefit of more flexibility on dryland production so growers have more time to take advantage of moisture when it falls.

ST 3664R and NG 3969R are capable of moving into areas south of Lubbock, Texas, where growers have turned to picker varieties for higher yields and fiber quality that are associated with a fuller season maturity.

“With these new varieties, growers can enjoy the benefits of longer-season picker varieties without the risk that comes with an open picker-type boll,” says Southwest Research Station manager Steve Calhoun.

Limited seed supplies of all eight varieties are expected in 2005. Large quantities will be available in 2006.

PhytoGen

Pending EPA approval, WideStrike cotton will be available for 2005 in three PhytoGen upland varieties.

PHY 440 W is an early- to mid-maturity WideStrike variety with consistent yield potential and broad adaptation. Most similar to PSC 355, with improved micronaire, staple and grade.

PHY 470WR is a WideStrike and Roundup Ready stacked variety with early- to mid-maturity and broad adaptation. Most similar to PSC 3555, with improved micronaire and grade.

PHY 480 WR is a WideStrike and Roundup Ready stacked variety with early- to mid-maturity and broad adaptation. Similar to PHY 470 WR with improved lint yield, staple and strength.

WideStrike received deregulated status for cotton from USDA in July 2004. Full registration of the trait by the EPA is anticipated later this year. WideStrike is a new, stacked insect-protection trait introduced by Dow AgroSciences. The stacked trait expresses the Cry1F and Cry1Ac proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) in cotton plants.

Extensive field trials conducted throughout the Southeast, Mid-South and Texas from 2001 to 2003 show season-long protection from a broad spectrum of lepidopterous pests such as cotton bollworm, tobacco budworm, pink bollworm, beet armyworm, fall armyworm, southern armyworm, cabbage loopers and soybean loopers.

Other new upland cotton varieties from PhytoGen:

PHY 310 R is a new early season Roundup Ready variety adapted for the northern Mid-South and portions of the Southeast. High-yield potential.

PHY 510 R is a new full season Roundup Ready variety adapted for the southern areas of the Mid-South and Southeast. High yield potential.

New Pima cotton varieties from PhytoGen:

PHY 810 R is a Roundup Ready Pima variety. Extremely high yields and excellent fiber package.

PHY 800 is a new conventional Pima variety with outstanding yield potential and excellent fiber quality.

New Acala variety from PhytoGen:

PHY 72 R is a new Roundup Ready Acala with very high yield potential and excellent fiber quality.

Bayer Crop Science/FiberMax

In 2004, cotton producers were introduced to the first Liberty Link cotton lines, available in FiberMax cotton varieties. Liberty Link cotton varieties have a genetically-based resistance to Ignite herbicide, which received federal registration for use on Liberty Link cotton in January 2004. Ignite provides fast non-selective control of most major weeds, including morningglory,” says Andy Hurst, cotton herbicides product manager Bayer CropScience.

Top FiberMax varieties for 2005 include FM 960BR, FM 960B2R, FM 958LL and FM 966LL. South Delta and Southwest selections include FM 800B2R and FM 832LL.

New FiberMax varieties with Liberty Link and Bollgard II will be available in very limited supply in 2005.

Beltwide Cotton Genetics

Beltwide Cotton Genetics will release one new stripper cotton variety in 2005, BCG 50 R, for south Texas and west Texas. It's a stripper type cotton with picker-type fiber quality. According to BCG's Rick Rice, “It is a completely smooth-leaf variety. It's looked real good in all the tests and farmer evaluations.”

American Cotton Breeders, Inc.

American Cotton Breeders will release three Americot brand cotton varieties this year, all Roundup Ready. The company expects to release varieties with Bollgard II and Roundup Ready Flex in the future.

“We want our varieties to yield consistently in the top 25 percent, including our tests and university trials,” said David Bush, breeder for the company. “If you're up there and you have good fiber, you're going to sell the variety. You may not have the one that everybody wants, but it's going to be successful.”

According to Bush, yield stability is the key for long-term grower profitability. “I'm as much interested in that as in huge amounts of cotton. That's what a farmer has to have. He has to be able to count on the variety.”

Americot 427R is a compact, early, picker-type variety. Americot 262R is a full-season, high yielding variety. Both are Delta varieties.

Americot 821R is a mid-season, stripper type variety. “It's a real good yielder, and we're finding that farmers are liking it because it seems to hold up to moisture stress real well.”


e-mail: erobinson@primediabusiness.com