Beltwide Cotton Genetics sets a variety development goal to “produce value in a way that's affordable,” says BCG sales and marketing director, Rick Rice.

“Farmers like to buy new technology,” Rice says, but with the market the way it is now, they sometimes have a hard time doing that.”

Rice believes new technologies, available in a number of varieties in 2006, will offer the kind of technology that will allow farmers to manage “more acres and, if prices stabilize increase, their incomes.”

He says Beltwide's newest offering, BCG 520R, provides Southwestern farmers in predominantly stripper production areas a stormproof option that also shows quality characteristics of picker cotton.

“We've licensed the variety from H&W,” Rice says, “and with our BCG 50R, it provides good options for High Plains producers.”

He says farmers should be careful about planting 100 percent picker varieties in the vulnerable conditions of the plains. “With both 520 R and 50 R, which is out of our breeding program, we offer some storm protection with good fiber quality for a stripper variety,” he says.

He says 2004 was a “telling example of why farmers ought to grow some stormproof cotton on the High Plains.

“We have Roundup Ready Flex and Bollgard II varieties in our pipeline,” Rice says. “We're in seed production and testing across the Cotton Belt in 2005. We're not ready for full release this year, but we'll be able to show these varieties in trials and get more data before we offer them to farmers.”

Rice says BCG is working on stress resistance, including drought tolerance, and yield potential for future releases. “We will continue to promote value to farmers as cotton is subject to variations in the world market.”