If it can get the federal government to give final approval to its new Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton, Monsanto’s Deltapine unit plans to offer five new cotton varieties containing the traits for the 2015 season.
Those would be in addition to two other varieties – a new root-knot-nematode-resistant product and a variety that will sound familiar to many producers – Deltapine unveiled at its annual NPE (new product evaluator) Summit in Nashville Dec. 13.
USDA moved a step closer to approval by publishing its final Environmental Impact Statement or EIS on Monsanto’s Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans and Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton on Dec. 12. The posting began a 30-day review period after which USDA’s APHIS Biotechnology Review Service will publish its final decision.
Monsanto is also waiting on a federal Section 3 registration (under FIFRA) for its new dicamba herbicide formulation, which along with glyphosate and glufosinate, can be applied to cotton containing the XtendFlex trait.
“Today at our NPE event, we announced our new Class of 15 varieties,” said Dave Albers, cotton product development manager for Monsanto Deltapine. “We released two new Bollgard II Flexes, but probably the most exciting aspect was that pending full deregulation by USDA of our new XtendFlex trait, we will release a class of varieties that will fit broadly across the Cotton Belt.
“I think it will give growers the opportunity to step from their current technologies to a new set of technologies with very strong, very broadly adapted varieties.
The two new “conventional” varieties will be named DP 1558B2RF and DP 1555 B2RF. If the latter sounds like another Deltapine product from a few years ago, the similarity is not coincidental.
“We released two new full-season varieties this year for the Class of 15,” said Keylon Gholston, Deltapine product manager. “The first is DP 1555 B2RF. With DP 1555 you can tell the excitement because of its name. It’s kind of named in the tradition of the old Triple Nickel or the 555 Bollgard Roundup Ready.
“It has the potential to bring us up to a new level of yield,” said Gholston. “It performs well in all yield environments, but where we’re really seeing the super performance is at the high end. It really separated from even the high-yielding varieties like DP 1252. It will fit across the Southeast, the lower Mid-South and the coastal areas of Texas.”
DP 1555 B2RF also may set a new standard for fiber quality, he said. DP 1252 has held that position in the Southeast. “This variety not only has the increased yield we talked about, but is also has excellent fiber quality, both staple length, lower micronaire and an improvement in strength.”
The second variety, DP 1558NR B2RF, is the second root-knot-nematode-resistant variety Deltapine has introduced. It is full season and is adapted to growing conditions in the southeast, the Texas Southern High Plains and Southern Rolling Plains.
“The NPE growers in the Southeast and the Texas High Plains were really excited about this variety,” said Gholston. “It had excellent early season vigor, grew vigorously all season long, which is important in those sandier soils where you usually see high root-knot nematode populations.”
At the same time, DP 1557NR performed well in the absence of high root-knot nematode numbers.
The five new varieties that are pending regulatory approval are:
n DP 1518 B2XF and DP 1522 B2XF for shorter-season markets
n DP 1538 B2XF and DP 1553 B2XF for mid- to full-season markets
n DP 1549 for West Texas and Arizona markets.
Although the varieties are not being marketed until the trait providing dicamba tolerance is deregulated, the 140 growers attending the NPE Summit heard a progress report from four of their peers who were asked to try the new cotton on a limited acreage under a crop-destruct permit in 2014.
Besides being tolerant to dicamba, the new cotton varieties can also be treated with glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, and glufosinate, the active ingredient in Liberty herbicide.
“The Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton performed very well on our farm this year,” said Mike Jordan, NPE grower in south Alabama. “The weed control was excellent. The residual control we got from the first (herbicide) application was superior to anything I’ve ever seen.”
Jordan was unable to attend the Summit, but the other three growers, Greg Sikes of Brooklet, Ga.; Rodge Rogers of Clarksdale, Miss.; and Chad Brown, Lubbock, Texas, discussed their experiences with the new trait.
For more on Deltapine and its new varieties, visit www.deltapine.com.