ST. LOUIS, Dec. 14, 2009 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) announced today that the Deltapine Class of 10 will include six new cotton varieties. More than 160 farmers across the Cotton Belt participated in the New Product Exposure (NPE) program this summer, testing some of the 13 candidates on their farms. The feedback from these farmers and the data from plots show an increase in on-farm profitability potential.
"This weekend we had the chance to preview the Class of 10 with a lot of the farmers who helped us decide which would be commercialized," said Brett Begemann. "The yields they reported with our new products provide a real bright spot for the cotton industry."
Begemann says "Arkansas farmer Ron Holthouse told us as he harvested his plots he thought about acreage for next year. He had considered cutting his cotton to one-third of the area he had in 2009 but the performance he saw with our new varieties convinced him to stay with his full 3,000 acres."
Holthouse explains, "Our NPE plot consisted of five Class of 10 candidates plus other varieties we've grown before including competitor varieties. Our overall cotton yield was bad off this year due to excessive rain the entire fall. The NPE plot was in a field that averaged only 956 pounds per acre across all varieties, but the Class of 10 candidates averaged between 1,050 to 1,200 pounds per acre. I was very impressed by the Class of 10. They were by far the best yielding products on my farm. I feel comfortable growing cotton next year because of the yield and fiber quality I saw from these new Deltapine varieties."
Other farmers agree that the performance of the new varieties was strong on their farms:
- Kirby Lewis of Lubbock, Texas said "I grew two Class of 10 candidates and they both exceeded 4 bales to the acre - over 2,000 pounds. One product went 4 2/3 bales per acre and the other made 4 1/3 bales per acre and the quality on both was excellent. They stripped well and they were not too loose in the boll. They were fairly storm-proof and excellent yielders. We are pleased."
- Don and Mike Pearson farm in Jackson, TN. Don said, "I wish we would have had better growing conditions for the plot because it was a real test this season to grow cotton. We averaged 950 pounds per acre across 7 or 8 varieties planted on our farm and the Class of 10 varieties were 100 to 200 pounds better than everything else. We were very pleased. They are certainly worth planting again for another look."
- Steve Bullard gins cotton in Quitman, Georgia for farmers in three counties. He had several Class of 10 candidates get harvested and ginned. "Everyone around here is looking for a replacement for DP 555 BGRR by trialing these new candidates. Most of our farmers are good about tagging modules with variety information so we can compare the new candidates to 555 easily. A couple of the Class of 10 varieties have averaged 100 lbs/acre or so better than 555 this year, and that is very promising and fiber uniformity has improved which adds to the price a farmer gets for his cotton."
Dr. Dave Albers, Monsanto's cotton germplasm lead, says the yield improvements were seen across the Cotton Belt. He said, farmers in Texas saw an average of 40-50 pounds of lint per acre with the Class of 09 compared to commercial standards and the Class of 10 brought an additional average of 50 pounds. In field trials east of Texas, yield averages were 50-100 pounds more per acre with the Class of 09 compared to current standards and the Class of 10 yielded an additional 100-200 pounds, Albers says. With these figures, farmers could harvest one or two more bales of cotton per bag of Deltapine Class of '10 seed purchased.
The investments Monsanto has made in counter-seasonal seed production resulted in wide availability of the Class of 09 for its introductory season. In fact, the USDA estimated that the class was planted on more than 10 percent of the cotton area last year. Seed production in some areas was challenged, but the company says availability of the Class of 09 should be significantly higher in 2010 and the Class of 10 will be in a good introductory supply.
The new varieties bring the latest in genetics and technology resulting in such high performance potential. There are two varieties - DP 1048 B2RF and DP 1050 B2RF - that are particularly well-suited to the mid & full-season areas that stretch from Georgia to South Texas. For those early- to mid-maturing areas from North Carolina through the Delta, DP 1028 B2RF and DP 1034 B2RF have a good fit. Water-availability differences in West Texas drove the selection of DP 1032 B2RF and DP 1044 B2RF for use in that region. Additional information on these varieties will be available at the 2010 Beltwide Cotton Conferences in New Orleans January 4-7, 2010.