BY TOMMY HORTON
How do you convince 150 farmers and their wives to make a quick trip to Charleston, S.C., just a couple of weeks before Christmas? You make sure that the schedule appeals to everybody.
And that is precisely what company officials did in putting together the agenda for the sixth annual Deltapine New Product Evaluator (NPE) program in Charleston, S.C. Many farmers had attended previous NPE events, so they knew what to expect, and the same could be said for their spouses. Still, it was a perfect mix of information and appealing activities in a Southern city for this event.
As you’ll see on page 40 in the January issue of Cotton Farming, the main attraction was the announcement of three new Deltapine varieties being launched for 2014:
DP 1454NR B2RF
DP 1410 B2RF
DP 1441 RF
The varieties were evaluated by nearly 200 NPE farmers across the Belt. Much attention was given to DP 1454NR B2RF, a full-season variety bred for resistance to root-knot nematodes. The other two varieties released were targeted for West Texas markets. DP 1410 B2RF is an early maturing variety and shows exceptional storm resistance, as well as resistance to bacterial blight and tolerance to verticillium wilt. It also delivered high yields and excellent fiber quality in West Texas NPE fields, according to company officials.
DP 1441 RF is a mid- to full-season variety for West Texas. It fits dryland and limited-water fields and is easy to manage, according to NPE farmers who evaluated it in 2013.
Besides the announcement of the Class of 2014 Deltapine varieties, the main program included updates from Deltapine marketing lead Dave Rhylander and Jim Wiesemeyer of Informa Economics, as well as a Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System update and New Technology panel discussion.
Wisesemeyer, who has covered Washington politics and ag issues for more than 30 years, says he’s hopeful that a new Farm Bill will become reality in January after debates and delays for the past three years.
“I am hopeful that something will happen,” he says. “But, to be quite honest, I have never seen such political gridlock in the 30 years that I’ve been covering Washington. There doesn’t seem to be much compromise in Congress, but most experts believe we might be getting close.”
Wiesemeyer also was optimistic about the situation in China. He said it’s understandable if the U.S. cotton industry is nervous about that country releasing some of its huge cotton stocks to the global market, causing a potential decrease in prices. But he believes that China will eventually return to purchasing U.S. cotton in the long-term.
An update on Roundup Ready Xtend Crop Systems was presented by four Monsanto representatives – Jordan Iverson (Cotton Traits Marketing Manager), Ty Fowler (U.S. Cotton Traits Product Development Manager), Roy Cantrell (Global Cotton Breeding Lead) and Doug Rushing (Director, Global Industry Affairs).
Iverson says the key to the system’s effectiveness is related to recommendations, training and education. The system also will benefit from key partnerships with other companies.
Meanwhile, Rushing says the challenges confronting agriculture in Washington continue to exist. He reports that 35 new congressmen were elected in 2012, and “the urban ranks are increasing.” He also reminded the audience that the United States has to deal with a slower approval process on any new ag technology that requires regulatory approval.
Dave Albers, Monsanto’s Cotton Germplasm Development Manager, gave an update on how the company is responding to the nematode problem occurring in cotton production throughout the Cotton Belt –particularly in West Texas and the Southeast.
He says breeding efforts have helped address specific problems such as stunting of the plant and root damage, and that the release of the new DP 1454NR B2RF variety is a breakthrough in this effort.
Rhylander discussed how Monsanto’s new Integrated Farm Solutions (IFS) project is progressing. He says 150 Midwest farmers are participating in IFS, which aims to deliver specific field data to farmers in an effort to maximize seeding rates across all fields. The ultimate goal is improving farmers’ production and yields.
After the announcement of three new cotton varieties for the Deltapine Class of 2014, awards were presented to NPE producers who achieved the highest yields in their respective regions. Attendees then spent the afternoon touring Charleston before breaking off into special groups for the “regional dine-around” at some of the city’s finest restaurants.
Rhylander summed up the feeling of many Monsanto and Deltapine officials when asked to evaluate the success of the weekend event.
“This is the sixth year that we’ve conducted this event, and we’ve been able to continue the momentum each year,” he said. “Not only am I pleased with the turnout here in Charleston, but I’m excited that we are delivering new varieties and technology to the producer. In the process, we’ve created an effective network with these NPE farmers. It gives me a lot of optimism looking forward.”
Contact Tommy Horton at firstname.lastname@example.org or (901) 767-4020.