Across the Cotton Belt last year, Delta and Pine Land Company's (D&PL) newest cotton variety, DP 555 BG/RR, demonstrated its potential for high yield and good fiber quality.

Known as “Triple Nickel” among growers and consultants, DP 555 BG/RR is a mid- to full-season Bollgard/Roundup Ready stacked-gene cotton variety developed in D&PL's Australian breeding program.

In 2002, 709 growers across the United States grew this variety. Many of their experiences with DP 555 BG/RR reinforce the high yield potential and good fiber quality potential this variety offers.

Bruce Farms in Dixie, Ga., operated by brothers Robert and Pat Bruce, had 25 acres of Triple Nickel last season on a non-irrigated field. Their plan was to get the cotton harvested in time to get rye planted on the field for winter grazing. The crop was planted April 11 and picked Sept. 16.

Excess heat in late July stressed most of their cotton last summer, which caused many varieties to shed fruit, according to Robert Bruce. But in the end, the 25 acres of DP 555 BG/RR yielded 1,558 pounds per acre — an exceptional yield for the farm.

“We usually average around 900 pounds an acre, sometimes better,” says Bruce. “We had a field of DP 215 BG/RR across from the DP 555 BG/RR field, and it picked 1,220 pounds per acre. DP 555 BG/RR was 300 pounds better an acre than every other variety we compared it to on our farm.”

The fiber quality was “almost perfect,” Bruce says.

“Out of the 79 bales from that 25-acre field, we had three or four that went 34; every other bale was higher in staple length,” he says.

“The mike was perfect — right around 4.4 and 4.5 — and color grades were real good on it as well.”

Aggressive Pix management was necessary to keep the crop on schedule to be picked in time to plant rye, says Bruce.

“We used a good bit of Pix, but that ground is real rich because it gets double the fertilizer each year, so cotton grows tall in that field.”

Harsh storms caused some of the cotton crop on Bruce Farms to fall over.

Bruce says his DP 555 BG/RR field held up well in the storms. He says he plans to put DP 555 BG/RR on irrigated ground in 2003 year to push its yield potential higher.

“With the right weather patterns and a little luck, I believe this variety has the potential to make four bales to the acre down here,” he says. “It's awesome because of its yield and grades. We want to plant all we can get in 2003.”

Stephen Dozier grew 31 acres of Triple Nickel last year on a pivot-irrigated field on his farm in Arlington, Ga. It picked 1,822 pounds per acre on Oct. 21.

“If you had asked me a month prior to picking what that variety would yield, I would have said 1,200 pounds, which is a good yield,” says Dozier.

“‘The crop got tall on us. We ended up using about 60 ounces of Pix on it and it just did not look like it was holding the boll load, but once it opened up, there it was - a great yield!’”

Dozier says instead of having eight or nine seeds in the lock, Triple Nickel had 10 or 11. “The lint turnout on it was a couple of points better than what we are used to getting. It averaged 40.19 percent turnout, whereas we're used to getting 37 or 38 percent.

“I'm glad we got that 31 acres picked before all the rains hit in the fall,” he adds. “That 1,800-pound-per-acre yield blows the other varieties out of the water around here.

“DP 555 BG/RR does fit into my planting plans next year.”

Thomas Bruton grew 55 acres of Triple Nickel on his Nitta Yuma, Miss., farm in 2002. The crop was planted April 20, received as-needed irrigations during the summer and 34 ounces of Pix for growth management.

Harvest on the field began Oct. 18.

“The DP 555 BG/RR required 34 ounces of Pix, but with all the rainfall we received, keeping our other varieties under control was challenging as well,” says Bruton.

“It yielded 1,288 pounds per acre, even after receiving 20 inches of rain on the open crop. We plan to plant more DP 555 BG/RR on our farm next season. It is a variety that must be looked at because of its tremendous yield potential.”

Gene and Doug Ogden planted 44 acres of Triple Nickel last year on their farm near Waverly, La. They picked 145 bales from the field — an average yield of 1,566 pounds per acre. Grades were good, with staple length mostly 35 and 36.

“The yield on DP 555 BG/RR was very good, especially after two or three years of us getting a bale and a half to the acre,” says Gene Ogden. “It was on a non-irrigated field that was the last of our fields to get another rain following the dry spell of May and the first half of June.

“That field really stressed for water during that period, so I am surprised by the yield.”

Ogden says Triple Nickel's 2002 performance in his area has made it a popular variety among growers.

“From what everybody is saying, DP 555 BG/RR will be planted on half, or better than half, of the acres in this area next season,” he says. “On our farm, it will be planted on half or better of our 1,900 acres, too, because of the yield potential. If it can consistently pick 1,500 pounds per acre, it will be a good variety for us.”

DP 555 BG/RR also performed well in parts of Texas. Jerry Vanecek, who farms in Sinton, Texas, planted five acres of Triple Nickel in 2002 to compare it with his other irrigated stacked-gene varieties.

“The DP 555 BG/RR was the highest-yielding and highest value of the three varieties I planted last season,” he says. “It yielded 1,492 pounds peracre and still had a few green bolls in the tops of plants during harvest.”

The average staple length was 36. The strength was 28 g/tex and mic was 4.9, according to Vanecek.

“All but one bale from that variety had 31 color grades and the average loan rate was .5475 cents per pound,” he says. “The Bollgard gene worked to control worms for us as well.

“A neighbor's field was sprayed four times for worms, and we never sprayed.”

Brian and Charles Ring of R.B. Farms in Sinton, Texas, also planted a small block of DP 555 BG/RR last season. It was dry at planting time, and the crop was planted into very little moisture.

The field was irrigated a few days later to get the crop up.

“The DP 555 BG/RR received one additional irrigation during the season and got a four-inch rainfall late in the season,” recalls Brian Ring. “It yielded 1,328 pounds per acre and had good fiber quality.”

His bales from the DP 555 BG/RR crop went into the loan at .5057 cents perpound.

“DP 555 BG/RR tested well on many farms across the southern tier of the Cotton Belt in 2002,” says Jim Willeke, VP of sales and marketing at D&PL.

“Seed supply should be good for the 2003 season, and we are expecting this variety to be in high demand.”

Delta and Pine Land Company is a commercial breeder, producer and marketer of cotton planting seed, as well as soybean seed, in the Cotton Belt. For almost 90 years, the company has used its extensive plant breeding programs that draw from a diverse germplasm base to develop improved varieties. Delta and Pine Land (NYSE: DPL), headquartered in Scott, Miss., has offices in eight states and facilities in several foreign countries. For more information, please refer to the company's website at www.deltaandpine.com.