Agribusiness: NexGen cotton offers premium fiber, yield

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Emergent Genetics Inc., announced the introduction of a new high quality cotton brand as part of its latest response to global mill demand for high fiber quality and U.S. growers need for high yield potential.

The new Stoneville brand NexGen includes two Roundup Ready cotton varieties that were released in 2004. The varieties, NexGen 1553R and NexGen 2448R, were bred from advanced Stoneville germplasm specifically for the Texas Northern High Plains, Oklahoma and Kansas.

The varieties offer a unique trait package, according to Emergent Genetics officials: NexGen 1553R is very early maturing and NexGen 2448R is early maturing. Both offer excellent seedling vigor, storm-proof boll type, outstanding fiber quality and high yield potential.

“Northern High Plains cotton growers have demonstrated a desire to plant varieties, particularly those with the Roundup Ready gene, that offer high yield potential, and premium or at least non-discount fiber,” says Don Threet, Emergent Genetics vice president in charge of the US business.

“Very few stripper varieties offer high yield potential and premium fiber, which is why more growers are planting picker varieties. However, growers give up maturity by planting pickers since they mature later, and they may be giving up some stormproofness.”

The new varieties are targeted at meeting grower needs in a changing environment.

“We understand why cotton growers are making this variety shift,” said Threet. “What they really want is high yield and quality fiber, which they’re not getting from the stripper varieties. They also want stormproofness and very early maturity, which they’re not getting from the pickers.

“In response to this regional need, we are introducing the Stoneville brand NexGen cotton that offers early maturity, stormproofness, high yield potential and quality fiber.”

Cotton merchant Danny Lyons of Lyons Cotton, Inc., sees a growing demand by farmers and textile mills for NexGen type cotton. “We see more U.S. growers switching to higher quality varieties that also yield as well or better than shorter staple varieties,” says Lyons, based in Memphis, Tenn. “Fiber quality is becoming even more important because most of our cotton is now going overseas.

“Growers want a premium for growing the higher quality cotton so we push more mills to offer one. Many mills already pay a premium for higher quality cotton. When we can get more consistency in fiber quality, then we can get more mills to pay a premium.”

In addition to their high yield potential, both NexGen 1553R and NexGen 2448R offer fiber quality comparable to the best picker cotton in a storm proof boll type. This season, Northern High Plains growers can view demonstration plots of NexGen 1553R and NexGen 2448R in their own area. Seed supplies will be available in 2005.

Rich in cotton heritage, Stoneville, an Emergent Genetics brand, is headquartered in Memphis, with research & development sites, and seed production facilities located across the United States and internationally. Breeding cotton since 1922, Stoneville was the world’s first to commercialize genetically enhanced cottonseed, and set a new packaging standard by changing to a 230,000 seed count.

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