The genealogy of the U.S. cottonseed business took a swift and dramatic turn this summer with arrangements and acquisitions involving three cotton seed brands and five seed and/or technology companies. While the family tree of cotton seed may have been shaken up a bit, the result could be promising for the development of high quality, high yield lines.

With the changes, Monsanto owns cotton varieties of Delta and Pine Land. Bayer CropScience will add Stoneville brands to its FiberMax lines, and the Texas-based company, Americot, now owns the stripper line of NexGen varieties in addition to its Americot varieties. Syngenta's Bt-based Vipcot lines, which were being advanced by D&PL, were made available for return to Syngenta.

Although not affected directly by mergers, Croplan Genetics and Dyna-Gro hold agreements with Monsanto to distribute varieties with the latest pest-resistant technologies. PhytoGen continues to build on its portfolio of cotton varieties with WideStrike Bt cotton and Roundup Ready Flex technology.

The changes apparently have not been disruptive to the companies or their breeding programs as all are offering a strong list of new varieties for 2008. The descriptions are provided by the seed companies.

Americot Inc.

AM 1550 B2RF — Will be available for the 2008 season and is targeted for the north Mississippi River delta. AM 1550 B2RF is a bit later in maturity than AM 1532 B2RF and is a semi-smooth leaf cotton. Average staple length is 35.6; strength, 27.5; and micronaire, 4.5.

The Bollgard II/Roundup Ready Flex cotton has been in breeder trials in 46 locations for the last two years and finished as the No. 1 yielder in Tennessee, north Arkansas and Missouri, averaging 1,400 pounds per acre.

This season, Americot has expanded its official variety trial testing of AM 1550 B2RF in four states across the south. Three twenty-acre test plots are located in Tennessee, one in Missouri, one in northeast Arkansas and one in North Carolina. Seed production is under way in Arizona.

AM 1532 B2RF — Offers an excellent fiber package and yield potential. AM 1532 B2RF is widely adapted and performs well in the Mid-South. The medium maturity variety is well-suited for irrigated, high input acres. Micronaire, 3.6-4.5; staple, 36-38; and strength, 26-29.

Croplan Genetics

CG 3220B2RF — Is an early- to mid-maturity, smooth to semi-smooth leaf, picker variety with excellent yield potential and premium fiber quality to better help U.S. cotton growers market their fiber in base international and high-end domestic markets. Stacked with Bollgard II and Roundup Ready Flex. Micronaire, 4.5; staple, 37.1; strength, 29.

CG 3035RF — Is an early- to mid-maturity, smooth to semi-smooth leaf picker variety with excellent yield potential and premium fiber quality to better help U.S. cotton growers market their fiber in base international and high-end domestic markets. This variety comes with Roundup Ready Flex. Micronaire, 4.5; staple, 36.2; strength, 27.6.

Delta and Pine Land Co.

DP 141 B2RF — A mid-maturity, semi-smooth leaf variety has shown consistent high-yield potential and excellent fiber quality in Mid-South testing. “Based on preliminary data, we believe DP 141 B2RF to hold excellent yield potential,” said Keylon Gholston, cotton product manager for Deltapine. “In some cases, it has demonstrated the ability to hang with DP 555 BG/RR in yields. From north to south in the Delta region, this variety has demonstrated the potential to deliver high yield and excellent fiber quality.”

DP 161 B2RF — Performance data from 2006 and available data from 2007 indicates that DP 161 B2RF can be a step up in fiber quality potential over DP 164 B2RF. The mid- to full-maturity, smooth-leaf variety has medium to large seed size, indicating vigorous growth potential. “DP 161 B2RF demonstrated good tolerance to the excessive heat stress cotton suffered during the 2007 growing season,” said Gholston. “We have many farms where this variety looks very good yield-wise leading up to harvest.”

DP 174 RF — Testing in 2006 indicated tolerance to root knot nematodes and a wide adaptation for DP 174 RF. A mid-maturity Roundup Ready Flex variety, DP 174 RF has demonstrated outstanding lint yield and very good fiber quality across the growing regions.

Dyna-Gro

Dyna-Gro 2383 — A Roundup Ready Flex early-medium maturity variety with robust growth habit. The plant is a medium-to-tall height with excellent seedling vigor. Broadly adaptable for most the cotton-growing regions. Improved fiber quality and yield can be a distinct advantage in this earlier variety.

Dyna-Gro 2490 — A Bollgard II/Roundup Ready Flex. It is a great early-medium maturity plant that adapts well to many growing conditions and soils. Limited data shows it to excel on sandier soils. This smooth-leaf variety has a medium plant height with columnar plant architecture. Possesses excellent vigor, performs under heat stress and has great fiber quality. Responds well to irrigation and nutrients for enhanced yields without having to fight late season lepidopteran insects. Great choice for adverse growing conditions.

Dyna-Gro 2570 — A Bollgard II/Roundup Ready Flex, medium-maturity plant which adapts well to varied growing conditions and lighter soils. Smooth-leaf variety has a tendency to be a tall plant as associated with robust plant growth. Excellent seedling vigor that performs well under heat stress and droughty conditions. Responds well to irrigation for enhanced yields. Improved fiber quality and greater yield potential has been consistent with this line.

FiberMax

FM 835LLB2 — A medium-full, okra-leaf variety with LibertyLink, Bollgard II traits. It is a uniform strain with good water use efficiency and vigorous early season growth, with good adaptation to south Texas and many soil types in the south Delta areas of Louisiana and south Mississippi. FM 835LLB2 is very productive in its area of adaptation and produces excellent fiber quality under many different growing conditions.

FM 1735LLB2 — An early-medium-maturity variety with both LibertyLink and Bollgard II in a medium-height plant type. Very good early season growth, but does not need aggressive plant growth regulator usage in most situations. Smooth-leaf type with fairly open bolls.

FM 840B2F — A medium-full-maturity okra-leaf variety with the Roundup Ready Flex and Bollgard II technologies that produces outstanding fiber properties. A medium-tall plant with a vigorous growth habit, it will benefit from early season plant growth regulator applications under most conditions. Well-adapted to south Texas and heavy soil areas of the south Delta in Mississippi and Louisiana.

FM 9063B2F — An early-medium-season Bollgard II, Roundup Ready Flex variety with a slightly bushy plant type that is easy to manage. It has a wide range of adaptability throughout Texas, the Mid-South and the Southeast. Fiber quality is excellent.

FM 1740B2F — An early-medium-season, Roundup Ready Flex, Bollgard II variety. Medium-plant height with a slightly bushy growth habit that produces large bolls with good fiber properties. Plant growth regulator use may be warranted in high-growth situations, but should be considered on a field-by-field basis. Well-suited for the Delta and Mid-South regions.

FM 1880B2F — A full-season Bollgard II, Roundup Ready Flex variety. It grows to a medium-to-large plant that requires moderate plant growth regulators to set an excellent crop. It has a wide range of adaptability to the long growing seasons throughout Texas, the Mid-South and the Southeast. Bolls are medium in size with excellent fiber quality.

PhytoGen Cottonseed

PHY 315 — An early maturity Roundup Ready Flex variety with good vigor and broad adaptation. High yield potential with very good to excellent fiber quality.

Early maturity; semi-smooth leaf variety with very good seedling vigor and good storm tolerance. Micronaire, 4.6; staple, 37; strength, 29.4; node of first fruiting branch, 6.0; total fruiting nodes, 10.9; plant height, medium-tall.

PHY 375 — Early maturity WideStrike and Roundup Ready Flex stacked variety with excellent vigor, broad adaptation, high yield potential and very good to excellent fiber quality. Early maturity, semi-smooth leaf variety with excellent seedling vigor and good storm tolerance. Micronaire, 4.5; staple, 36; strength, 29.2; node of first fruiting branch, 6.1; total fruiting nodes, 10.1; medium-tall plant height.

Stoneville brand

ST 4427B2RF — A broadly adaptable variety proven to perform under a wide range of environments with excellent yield potential. This is an early- to mid-maturity variety with moderate height characteristics which can be monitored and controlled with plant growth regulator.

ST 4498B2RF — An early- to mid-maturity product that provides excellent yield potential and fiber-quality characteristics. It has excellent early-season vigor for rapid and consistent stands. It features medium height, compact shape and is responsive to plant growth regulator.

ST 4596B2RF — An early to mid-maturity variety with high yield potential and an excellent fiber package. It has similar plant type and management characteristics to ST 4554B2RF. It responds well to plant growth regulator.

ST 4678B2RF — An early to mid-maturity variety. The early season vigor yields rapid and consistent stands. It is moderate in height and responsive to plant growth regulator. It features a total package of yield and fiber for excellent profit potential.

ST 5283RF — A mid-maturity variety that has performed well across the Cotton Belt. It makes an excellent candidate for growers desiring a vigorous growth habit in a Roundup Ready Flex variety. Plant height should be monitored and controlled with plant growth regulator.

ST 5327B2RF — A mid-maturity variety that has performed well across the Cotton Belt. Its stove-pipe fruiting habit makes it an excellent choice in all row widths, including narrow-row configurations. It does not tend to have extremely aggressive growth. However, height should be monitored and appropriately controlled with plant growth regulator.

ST 5458B2RF — A mid- to full-maturity product. It produces yield and fiber quality packages similar to ST 4554B2RF, but matures about one week later. Plant height should be monitored and controlled with a plant growth regulator.

ST 6351B2RF — A mid- to full-season Bollgard II with Roundup Ready Flex product. Nice fit for Mid-South and Southeast producers who seek a medium plant-height product. It features excellent yield and fiber quality characteristics. The early season vigor of this variety will provide consistent and rapid stand establishment.