Cotton Links


BG/RR Seed Timeline Should
Help Southeast


By Tommy Horton

No matter what kind of seed a Southeast cotton producer currently uses, major changes will occur in 2010. That’s when the sale of Bollgard/Roundup Ready seed will end – making way for BGII/RRF varieties.

The good news for Southeast producers is that the Environmental Protection Agency has given Monsanto permission to sell Bollgard through September of 2009, allowing producers the opportunity to plant that seed in 2010, depending on availability.

The late 2009 sales, according to Monsanto, was intended to give producers in that region a chance to adjust to the transition and have an extra year using BG/RR.

As most observers are aware, the predominate cottonseed variety in the Southeast has been Delta and Pine Land’s DP 555 BG/RR.

“I think this is a very significant decision,” says Kevin Eblen, D&PL Business Lead. “As long as a producer purchases BG/RR seed by September 30 of 2009, he will have the opportunity to plant that seed in 2010.

“This also gives producers in the Southeast a chance to adjust to the post-555 era. And it also helps them become comfortable with new varieties coming down the pike.”

Understanding Anxiety

Eblen says he completely understands why producers might be anxious about finding a variety that will perform as well as DP 555 BG/RR since it was launched in 2002.

As part of its effort to help producers in the Southeast, Eblen says D&PL has scheduled a dozen listening sessions to help update producers in that region about new varieties that will be introduced in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

“One of the main reasons why we are making the move to two-gene (BGII) varieties is that it minimizes the risk of resistance,” says Eblen. “We must move in that direction and deliver this to the industry.”

Eblen is convinced that the clarification of the deadline for sales of BG/RR seed will give producers a sufficient amount of time to use a variety such as DP 555 BG/RR alongside newer BGII/RF varieties for three consecutive seasons before making the switch.

Positive Producer Reaction

Most Georgia producers are proceeding ahead with a note of cautious optimism about what lies ahead. They’re encouraged that the deadline for purchasing DP 555 BG/RR provides access for 2010.

“Naturally, we’re concerned about whether we’re going to have a variety as good as DP 555 BG/RR,” says producer-ginner Van Murphy of Quitman, Ga. “But I think it was a good move by Delta & Pine Land and Monsanto. I think they’re going to try and have the inventories as high as possible for 555 for the next couple of years.”

Murphy, manager of BCT Gin in Quitman, also farms 400 acres of cotton. He believes that Georgia producers have an open mind about new varieties to replace DP 555 BG/RR.

But Murphy and his fellow Georgia producers are anxious to find a variety that will compare with 555 in terms of yield and quality.

“So far, we haven’t found anything out there that comes close to 555, but we’re hopeful that we’ll find it,” Murphy adds.

“A lot of other factors will affect the situation in the next two years.”

One factor will be the price of cotton. Murphy believes that if prices inch above 80 cents in the next couple of years, that will increase the need for more DP 555 BG/RR seed.

“We’re hoping all of this works out for everybody,” he adds. “Cotton needs to compete against these other commodities, and we need a variety that can help us reach our potential.”

Contact Tommy Horton at (901) 767-4020 or thorton@onegrower.com.

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