Fibermax hopes to increase Mid-South impact

Mid-South and Southeast cotton producers may soon be seeing some different-colored signs than what they might be accustomed to in front of area cotton fields.

FiberMax Cotton Seed representatives are hoping to transfer the success they've had in Texas in recent years to the eastern half of the Cotton Belt, they told growers attending a series of field days in September.

“Basically, we want to grow the Mid-South market,” said Macon LaFoe, Mid-South agronomist for FiberMax, speaking at a field day at the Memphis Agricenter. “That means we will be testing more varieties in the Mid-South and in the Southeast.”

LaFoe said FiberMax Cotton Seed has gone from a “handful” of on-farm trials to 64 across the Mid-South in the last 18 months. “We're seeing a high level of interest from producers who are looking for choices. We believe we will have more choices for them in 2007.”

FiberMax has offered varieties with high fiber quality in the Mid-South. But the yields have not always been up to par, he said. “We're doing more testing to figure out the ones that will yield the highest and bringing those to the market.”

Some of the new FiberMax varieties that company specialists believe can be competitive in yield and fiber quality are from Australia. Others have been developed in the United States. The varieties include some containing the new Roundup Ready Flex trait, some with Flex stacked with Bollgard II gene and others with LibertyLink and Bollgard II.

“FM 9060 F is an early-maturing variety with Roundup Ready Flex technology that is adapted across all areas of the Mid-South,” said LaFoe. “We don't expect to offer a lot of Flex-only varieties from here on out, but this one appears to have good potential.”

On the other hand, FM 9063 B2F is an early- to medium-maturity variety that contains both the Flex and Bollgard II traits and is adapted to most of the Mid-South. The variety appears to respond well to relatively low amounts of plant growth regulators and yields in the same range as competing varieties.

“The guys in southeast Missouri are very excited about 9063 B2F,” said LaFoe. “It has a large boll size and an excellent fiber quality package. This variety has a lot of horsepower and has done well in the official variety trials that the universities conduct.”

For the south Delta, FiberMax plans to offer varieties such as FM 1800 LL, a medium- to full-maturity variety with LibertyLink technology. “Plant growth regulators will be required early on growthy soils,” says LaFoe, “but the plant response is good. It has a medium-size boll type with a good fiber quality package.”

FiberMax will also launch FM 1880 B2F, a new full-maturity variety with Bollgard II and Roundup Ready Flex technology adapted to the south Delta. “It will have to have Pix,” said LaFoe. “Its bolls are smaller, but it appears to have twice as many.”

“We're very excited about these new FiberMax varieties we're bringing to the market,” said Steve Nichols, U.S. agronomic manager for FiberMax Cotton. “We have stringent fiber quality standards for FiberMax varieties and these new releases exceed those standards.”

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