The Deltapine New Product Evaluator (NPE) program kicks off its eighth season with nearly 200 farmers planting and evaluating pre-commercial Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton variety candidates for the Deltapine Class of 16.
Each season in the NPE program, pre-commercial Deltapine variety candidates are evaluated by farmers across all growing regions under different management systems and conditions. Each NPE farmer is given enough seed to grow at least a module-worth of cotton per candidate. These farmers manage the plots as they would manage the rest of their farm, offering a true picture of a candidate’s performance potential. Only candidates proven to perform in the NPE program are commercialized.
“In recent years, Deltapine NPE growers have helped us commercialize varieties that use water more efficiently and varieties resistant to the root-knot nematode pest,” said Keylon Gholston, Deltapine cotton product manager for Monsanto. “The NPE program is becoming even more valuable as we continue to advance new insect, disease and weed control solutions through our product pipeline, and this year as we add new Bollgard II XtendFlex varieties to the Deltapine portfolio.”
Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton – part of the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System, which is pending regulatory approvals – is tolerant to three different herbicides: glyphosate, glufosinate and dicamba. For the limited number of growers with access to the technology this year, Roundup brand agricultural herbicides (glyphosate-only brands) and Liberty herbicide (glufosinate) are approved for in-crop use, while over-the-top use of dicamba is still pending regulatory approval and cannot be used.
Eight Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton variety candidates are being considered for the Deltapine Class of 16, including several bred for performance in the Texas markets and three lines with similar maturity as DP 0912 B2RF that have a broad fit across the northern areas of the Cotton Belt. Also being evaluated is a full-season variety candidate that has shown especially good fiber length, exceptional yield and overall fiber quality performance to date. The Deltapine Class of 16 will be announced in December.
Veteran NPE farmers like Hugh Dollar of Bainbridge, Ga., are excited about the opportunity to plant and evaluate pre-commercial Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton seed.
“I am looking forward to evaluating these cotton varieties,” said Dollar. “Being able to spray Liberty herbicide will be helpful until the day we’re able to experience the full Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System and experience weed control with dicamba. I’m also interested in seeing how well this system will fit with other crops being grown nearby.”
Texas NPE farmers like Andy Scamardo are also eager to see how the candidates perform this season.
“Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton is a step in the right direction for us farmers battling resistant weeds. I am very excited that all varieties being evaluated in the NPE program this season offer (Bollgard II) XtendFlex traits because this weed control technology is going to be our future,” said Scamardo, of Bryan, Texas. “We can’t utilize the full herbicide system this season, but at least we get a chance to look at the variety germplasm that will carry this technology in large-scale plots. Until we get dicamba labeled, just the ability to tank-mix with Liberty herbicide will absolutely help our weed management program.”
“There is no doubt in my mind the NPE program has made a positive impact in this region,” Scamardo added. “Because technology is changing so fast with cotton varieties, this program is a good way to let farmers look at these new varieties and see which ones fit our area. Not all varieties fit all growing regions. It’s been a very beneficial program for me and farmers in this area.”
It’s also provided value to the Deltapine cotton development and commercialization teams.
“This program helps us advance new Deltapine varieties with proven performance benefits each year,” Gholston said. “But don’t just take our word for it. We encourage farmers to talk to New Product Evaluators in their communities about the products the NPE farmers are helping us bring to market.”
For more on Deltapine cotton varieties and the NPE program, visit www.deltapine.com. Photos, videos, agronomic tips and more can be found on Twitter (@Deltapine) and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Deltapine.