While overall valley Pima acreage is expected to decline next season, the Extra Long Staple cotton should still occupy about 200,000 acres next season in the San Joaquin. Deltapine is the biggest provider of Pima varieties with three proprietary varieties and the public variety, S-7, the standard against which all other Pimas are compared.

This is the second commercial season for 340 and the third for 744.

White said 744 is proving to be earlier than S-7, and the varieties have ranked one and two in recent valley yield trials. "744 has the best quality fiber of any Pima in the valley," said White, adding, "both varieties are easily defoliated."’

Deltapine has no new Acalas or Pimas before the San Joaquin Valley Cotton Board that are eligible for release next spring.

Called breakthrough

Across the rest of the U.S. Cotton Belt, however, Deltapine plans a major variety launch for its newest variety DP 555 GG/RR, an Australian-bred variety that is being called a "breakthrough in cotton genetics" by the company.

It’s high yielding in the field and at the gin where turnouts have ranged from 38 to 39 percent compared to a standard spindle picked variety with 35 to 36 percent. Tom Kerby, Deltapine’s vice president of technical services, said "We have actually had some spindle picked DP 555 BG/RR run through the gin at 40 percent turnout."

Kerby said the variety exhibits the unique growth pattern of sustaining vegetative growth during boll accumulation.

"We believe that part of the yield potential of DP 555 BG/RR may be due to the plant’s tendency to continue vegetative growth during the early weeks of boll setting," said Kerby. "You must manage this vegetative growth with plant growth regulators during the early stages of flowering, but that is the key to greater yield potential."

The new "triple 5" as it is also being called does not have the fiber quality to qualify it as a San Joaquin Valley Acala, but it’s high yield potential may nevertheless inviting for SJV growers.

"The new 555 does have good fiber properties — about like that of 5415 — but not as good as Acala quality. The biggest interest in California in 555 is for seed production. Seed production was rather significant this year in the valley," said Kerby.

May plant again

White said several of his seed producers might plant it again next year for its yield potential, if yields are as high as anticipated this season. Yields of up to six bales have been recorded for 555 in Australia.

The new variety is lumped into a San Joaquin Valley fiber class called "California Uplands." These are cottons that do not have San Joaquin Valley Cotton Boards approval as Acalas and as such are sold at heavy discounts against approved Acalas. Even though some are higher yielding than Acalas, those yield advantages do not offset the discounts. This has reduced California upland acreage in recent seasons.

The jury remains out on 555 in Arizona, according to Kerby. "It has improved micronaire, a plus for Arizona, but it does not have the heat tolerance as some of our other varieties. It remains to be seen if it becomes a mainline Arizona variety," said Kerby.

Seed production for 555 this season is in California, Arizona, Texas and the Mid-South.

And, finally White said Deltapine’s DP 6100 RR, a newly approved Acala, might gain more acreage next season since it is the only smooth leaf Acala grown in the San Joaquin Valley.

"Growers have seen that the whitefly will not go to 6100 like it will with hairy leaf cottons. That could make a big difference as we fight against this sticky cotton situation," explained White.

e-mail: hcline@primediabusiness.com