Jason Luckey had a great April. Warm, dry weather allowed him to get to the field early and get all of his corn planted. When we visited his farm in Humboldt, Tenn. on May 5, he already had a nice stand of corn, which put him ahead of schedule for this part of the world.
Unfortunately, a string of cool, rainy days at the start of May delayed his cotton planting, and Luckey, who farms about 4,500 acres with his brother Ken and nephew Zac, admitted the slow start to cotton planting was a bit nerve wracking.
“Cotton guys need to be rolling pretty good in May,” Luckey said, “and most of the cotton around here is still in bags.”
But when you’ve been farming as long as Luckey has you know it can’t stay wet forever, and when he spoke to us, he was optimistic about the coming year.
He’s particularly excited to be one of the select growers getting to try the much-anticipated ThryvOn technology as part of the Deltapine New Product Evaluator (NPE) Program.
“I’m looking forward to seeing ThryvOn on the farm,” Luckey said. “I’m eager to see if it will do with thrips and plant bugs what researchers are telling us. And also, I’m excited to look at it for the yield and grade and what it’s going to hold for us in the future.”
New Product Evaluator Program
Deltapine’s NPE program is kicking off its 14th season in 2021, and Luckey has been a participating grower since the program’s inception. Growers in the NPE get to plant cotton varieties before they are commercially launched.
“It’s one of the best things that has come along,” Luckey said. “We get the seed before the launch, plant it in 10 to 15-acre plots, and evaluate it all the way through — from the ground to the gin. The next year I have no doubt how that variety will perform in my field.”
NPE plots are managed according to each grower’s practices, consisting of both irrigated and non-irrigated fields, planted in various soil types and subjected to local environmental conditions. Feedback from NPE growers helps the Deltapine team determine which candidates to commercialize. Those that don’t meet farmers’ standards don’t make the cut.
This year roughly 200 NPE growers across the Cotton Belt will be evaluating 11 variety candidates — three of which contain ThryvOn.
“Hopefully this new technology, along with the Bollgard 3 and XtendFlex will be a game changer,” Luckey said. “It’s exciting to be part of something that’s on the horizon.”
We plan to follow growers like Luckey through the season to get their take on the technology’s performance.
Class of ‘22
ThryvOn Technology will be the industry’s first cotton biotech trait to protect against feeding damage from tarnished plant bug and thrips species. The three ThryvOn Technology variety candidates in the NPE program are stacked with Bollgard 3 XtendFlex Technology and are part of 11 variety candidates being evaluated this season by the NPE growers across the Cotton Belt for the Deltapine Class of ’22.
“Our NPE growers are once again evaluating the genetics bringing an upcoming trait technology to market, just like they did in 2014 with XtendFlex Technology in cotton, continuing this program’s goal of providing farmer-proven varieties with improved performance potential for all U.S. cotton growers,” said Keylon Gholston, Deltapine cotton product manager. “Also being evaluated this season is a set of Bollgard 3 XtendFlex Technology candidates in new genetics that bring variances across the board, but they all bring high yield potential.”
Included in the Bollgard 3 XtendFlex Technology lineup are variety candidates, that according to Gholston, are showing excellent fiber properties and resistance to native diseases, such as bacterial blight. Midsouth and Southeast NPE growers will evaluate four candidates in the mid-to-mid-full maturity range, whereas last year these regions evaluated candidates more in the early and early-mid maturity categories.
NPE growers in the Southwest will evaluate three Bollgard 3 XtendFlex Technology candidates for the Deltapine Class of ’22.
“These variety candidates are from a unique set of germplasm that will be very different from what growers, especially in West Texas, currently have in a Deltapine bag,” Gholston said. “These candidates offer large seed size and have shown in our pre-NPE testing good emergence and early-season vigor, as well as high yield potential and good fiber quality potential. We believe these new products can address some of the issues growers in the Southwest have communicated to us.”
Deltapine NPE growers will also evaluate two Bollgard 3 XtendFlex Technology variety candidates showing resistance to root-knot nematode, and an XtendFlex Technology-only candidate in the Southwest.