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Agribusiness: D&PL bringing more high-quality varieties to market

As cotton farmers bask in the glow of another record-breaking crop, Delta and Pine Land Co. is preparing to roll out several new varieties that promise to produce higher yields and even higher fiber quality.

Among those is DP 393, a conventional variety with high-yield potential for growers who face less insect and weed pressure than in other areas. The lineup also includes DP 432 RR, DP 434 RR, DP 494 RR and DP 488 BG/RR.

All will have fiber quality equal to or greater than DP 444 BG/RR, Delta and Pine Land’s new standard-setting variety.

“Fiber quality has become a primary issue for U.S. cotton producers,” says Dave Albers, D&PL’s director of technical services for the western United States and Mexico. “The increasing export market demands quality, but U.S. cotton producers need yield with quality.”

Speaking at a media event in Phoenix, Albers said D&PL believes its new varieties — the results of several years of aggressive plant breeding and testing in on-farm and university trials — will meet both those criteria.

“We’re trying to get the word out that more than one company has quality fiber,” said Albers. “These new varieties have a combination of yield, uniformity and fiber quality.”

DP 393 represents something of a departure from the breeding efforts of most companies in recent years.

“None of our competitors are releasing any more conventional varieties,” he said. “This variety may not go on a large number of acres, but growers still want a choice. We think this will be an outstanding product for them.”

An early maturity, smooth leaf variety, DP 393 has produced an average staple length of 37.1, strength of 32.3 grams per tex and micronaire of 4.3-4.5 in fiber quality tests conducted in a number of locations across the Cotton Belt.

The improved fiber characteristics and higher average yields of DP 393 could earn growers an average of $31 per acre in loan value over a competitor variety of comparable maturity, according to test results.

The new variety is widely adapted to conditions ranging from the Southeast to Arizona, according to Albers. It has produced an average of 1,211 pounds of lint per acre in tests across the Cotton Belt.

DP 432R is an early maturity, hairy leaf variety with storm resistance, improved fiber quality and high yield potential. Along with DP 434 RR, it will replace DP 436 RR, Sure-Grow, 521 RR and Paymaster 1199RR.

Albers said the variety consistently produces a staple of 36, strength of 31 grams per tex and micronaire of 4.4 and yields around 1,200 pounds in tests across the Cotton Belt. Its fiber package and higher yields give growers a loan value of $36 an acre above that for one competing variety and $62 an acre over another.

DP 434 RR, on the other hand, is an early maturity, smooth leaf variety with reduced micronaire average of 3.97, staple of 36.9 and strength of 29.9 grams per tex. It has averaged 1,106 pounds of lint in 84 U.S. trials.

“DP 434 RR has fiber quality similar to DP 444 BG/RR,” said Albers. “With its fiber package, it has a 1.5-cent higher loan value than competing varieties and could provide $27 to $75 per acre in higher returns than competing varieties”

DP 494 RR is a mid to full maturity, semi-smooth leaf with a 37 staple, 32 grams per tex strength and 4.4 micronaire. It has a yield average of 1,075 pounds of lint per acre across 88 tests. It also has an average loan value about 1.5 cents higher than competing varieties and could return growers from $24 to $41 more per acre than the other varieties.

“Its strength average of 32.6 grams per tex is a pretty strong step up over this many locations,” said Albers referring to the 88 sites in which 494 RR was compared with other varieties.

DP 488 BG/RR is also a mid to full maturity, semi-smooth leaf variety with an average staple of 37, strength of 31 grams per tex and micronaire of 4.3. It has produced an average of 1,147 pounds of lint per acre in 88 comparisons with other varieties.

“This variety is stronger by about 1 gram per tex than competing, full-season varieties,” says Albers. (31.4 vs. 30.5 in one set of tests and 31.7 vs. 30.5 in another.)

“We believe this variety has outstanding performance potential in full season environments such as south Texas, the south Delta and the southern Southeast,” he noted.

If it reaches that potential, DP 488 BG/RR will be following in the footsteps of D&PL’s DP 444 BG/RR, which appears to be widely adapted to a number of environments across the Cotton Belt.

DP 444 BG/RR is expected to be the leading variety in most of the Cotton Belt east of California in 2005, according to Delta and Pine Land officials.

“We think DP 444 BG/RR will make a lot of friends for us next year,” says Jim Willeke, vice president of sales for the Scott, Miss.-based company.


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