DP Hosts Farmers At Texas Field Day

By Tommy Horton

It was billed as a chance for High Plains cotton producers to learn how new cotton technologies are being developed to help farmers deal with nematodes, water problems and resistant pigweed. And most of the 50 farmers attending this Deltapine field day at producer Blaine Nichols’ farm in Seminole, Texas, were encouraged at what they saw and heard.

The farmers in attendance were shown new Deltapine cotton varieties bred for root knot nematode resistance and how, when used in combination with a nematicide seed treatment such as Accelron N, the system can help reduce nematode populations in the soil.

A big part of the program was devoted to showcasing Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System, which is designed to provide farmers with a flexible control of resistant weeds to help increase yields in both soybeans and cotton. For cotton farmers, pending regulatory approval, this means they can look forward to new Deltapine Bollgard II with XtendFlex varieties, which will allow over the top applications of three different herbicide modes of action, including dicamba.

At nearly every stop on this tour of research plots, the questions asked by producers were varied and offered Monsanto and Deltapine officials a chance to address some critical issues – such as water availability in West Texas.

“We know that we will always have limited water resources here in this part of Texas,” says Seminole (Texas) producer Blaine Nichols, who hosted the field day. “It is something that we live with every day. The varieties being delivered to us seem to be a good fit for West Texas, and that gives us a lot of hope for the future.”

Nichols says producers in this region have always been good water stewards, and “it’s obvious that we are making more cotton with less water.

“We need to find a way to consistently make 2.5 to 3 bales per acre on our cotton with a minimal amount of water.”

Nichols has been a participant in the Deltapine New Product Evaluator (NPE) program for several years and had good success with DP 1212 B2RF two years ago. Like other producers in this region, he continues to show interest in two DP varieties – DP 1321 B2RF and DP 1359 B2RF – that were released in 2013.  Both varieties are suited for the dry weather conditions of West Texas, according to DP officials.

Eric Best, Deltapine area agronomist for Monsanto, says it will be crucial for producers in West Texas to take advantage of new technologies if they hope to grow profitable cotton in the future.

“Water use and performance on different levels of irrigation are a central part of the Deltapine cotton variety development program for Texas,” he says. “The future Deltapine varieties containing the root knot nematode trait and the future XtendFlex varieties will have gone through the same evaluation for water use efficiency as the current commercial varieties.

“So, we plan to have these technologies available in varieties that work in limited water scenarios. We must help our producers become more efficient with the resources they have.”

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