The Delta and Pine Land Company's smorgasbord of cottonseed varieties available to Arizona cotton growers in 2008 will include a menu of current tried and proven varieties plus several new products.

“Delta and Pine Land Company's number one variety for Arizona in 2007, DP 164 B2RF, is expected to remain in the top spot in 2008,” according to Mike Farmer, Deltapine's account manager based in Arizona. “DP 164 B2RF tolerates the Arizona heat real well and produces high yields.” DP 164 B2RF was planted on 35 percent of Arizona's planted cotton acreage in 2007.

More than 250 growers, pest control advisors, university officials, and others from Arizona and Mexico inched at a snail's pace on shaded tractor-drawn trailers across 15 acres of trials during Delta and Pine's Arizona Field Day in Coolidge, Ariz. last fall. The field day showcased 21 varieties grown at R&M Farms, owned and operated by cooperator Jamie Shaw.

A new variety for 2008 expected to make planting inroads is Deltapine's 161 B2RF that produces longer, stronger fiber plus equal to higher yields. “DP 161 B2RF is a very promising variety for Arizona cotton growers,” said Farmer.

According to veteran Deltapine Western cotton breeder Larry Burdett, the heat tolerance and high yield characteristics in DP 161 B2RF will cause the variety to “shine” in Arizona. “DP 161 B2RF has 1/32 more fiber length than DP 164 B2RF. The increased fiber length works better in jet spinning at cotton mills. We want to provide the mills with the best possible cotton so we have a buyer,” Burdett said.

If Deltapine's 161 B2RF and 164 B2RF are planted widely in Arizona, the move could further open marketing doors for Arizona cotton, said Deltapine's Dave Albers. “The varieties offer exciting combinations of yield, quality, and good agronomics. These two varieties are the best out here.”

Another new variety is Deltapine's 141 B2RF. Already a success in southern Texas, the variety with improved fiber quality and yield performance could be a good fit in the Yuma and Safford, Ariz. areas. “DP 141 B2RF picked real well in Yuma County in 2007 and will be mostly grown for seed production in Arizona in 2008,” Farmer said.

While some Safford area cotton growers have grown DP 455 BRF (with the single Bollgard gene) with great success, DP 141 B2RF is one of several Deltapine varieties with Bollgard II (two Bollgard genes) that are a great fit for Arizona.

For Arizona growers who don't need Bollgard protection, the new DPL 121 RF is an excellent early season straight Roundup Ready Flex variety and an option to the existing DP 432 RR and DP 434 RR varieties.

Deltapine is strongly encouraging growers to switch to Bollgard II varieties since 2009 will be the final year that the Environmental Protection Agency will permit the use of straight Bollgard technology.

“Bollgard II is great technology that provides more lepidopteron control than straight Bollgard. Having Roundup Ready Flex technology stacked with Bollgard II is a great tool. Now growers can basically go over the top full season with Roundup instead of just over the fifth leaf,” said Farmer.

Pat Pacheco, owner, Pacheco Farm Management, Marana, Ariz., waited patiently for the next trailer to tour the test plots. “I go around on the trailer to compare the new varieties with what we're growing right now so we have a heads up of what's happening for the coming year.”

Pacheco grew Deltapine 455 BG/RR, 445 BG/RR and 448 B in 2007, and some Phytogen seed, on his 1,430-acre operation northwest of Tucson. “Cotton is the main moneymaker for us,” said Pacheco who also grew corn for silage and durum wheat (one-third for seed) in 2007. He may reduce his cotton acreage in 2008 to grow more wheat because of higher grain prices and labor issues.