Transgenic varieties have taken some of the risks out of raising cotton. Depending on the traits farmers select, seed technology streamlines weed control, limits exposure to some caterpillar pests or, in the case of stacked gene cotton, both.
But protection and convenience come with added expense, including higher seed costs and technology fees. And farmers balance the higher costs against the very real possibility of losing a crop to hail or drought early in the season.
Fortunately, seed companies and Monsanto are taking some of the financial risks out of the equation.
For several years Monsanto has offered growers a Cotton Crop Loss/Destruct Refund to encourage them to use varieties with special traits.
As cottonseed companies introduced Monsanto and other traits into their varieties, they also developed programs to reimburse farmers for the cost of seed and technology fees following crop damage.
Some companies follow the Monsanto program but others adapt it to meet specific needs.
Monsanto protection applies to eligible varieties of Bollgard and Bollgard II cotton, Bollgard with Roundup Ready cotton, Bollgard II with Roundup Ready, or Roundup Ready cotton.
“With the Cotton Crop Loss/Destruct Refund, growers can greatly reduce the financial risks of planting cotton,” says Shea Murdock, technology development manager for Monsanto in Lubbock.
The program includes 100 percent reimbursement of Monsanto's published technology fee.
Growers qualify for the Crop Loss/Destruct Refund if:
They plant an eligible cotton variety and it is lost or destroyed on all or part of the planted acres by Aug. 31, 2004, and they do not replant.
They plant only selected cotton varieties.
Eligible labeled Roundup agricultural herbicides are the only systemic non-selective herbicides farmers may use for burndown and in-crop applications on any Monsanto trait crop on the farm.
“In Texas, Monsanto will extend the date a grower can receive a Cotton Crop Loss/Destruct Refund until Dec. 1, 2004,” Murdock said. “The extended coverage lasts a full season protecting cotton from late stressful weather conditions.”
Texas growers qualify for the extended coverage if:
They plant 70 percent or more of total cotton acres with a Monsanto cotton trait technology.
Eligible cotton technology acreage is lost or destroyed by Dec. 1, 2004.
In addition to the base coverage requirements of the Cotton Crop Loss/Destruct Refund set forth in the Texas/Oklahoma/New Mexico version of Roundup Rewards, a grower must meet the following requirements:
Eligible traits include Bollgard, Bollgard II, Bollgard with Roundup Ready, Bollgard II with Roundup Ready, and Roundup Ready technology.
The cotton crop is considered a loss if the actual or estimated lint yield is less than 150 pounds Per acre.
Growers must provide proof of Federal Crop Insurance claim of an estimated yield of less than 150 pounds of lint per acre under the Multiple Peril Crop Insurance coverage for the affected areas.
Total acres equal the grower's reported acres of cotton for the USDA or Federal Crop Insurance.
The Monsanto technology fee must be paid in full by the date due to qualify. Eligible labeled Roundup agricultural herbicides are the only systemic non-selective herbicides the grower may use for burndown and in-crop applications on any Monsanto trait crop on the farm.
All claims under the Texas Cotton Crop Loss/Destruct Refund Extension must be submitted by Dec. 1, 2004. This expansion offer is valid in Texas only.
Beltwide Cotton Genetics
Beltwide Cotton Genetics offers a program that, combined with Monsanto's technical fee reimbursement, provides a 100 percent refund for seed costs.
“In the Southwest, we refund $51.50 per unit,” said Rick Rice, director of sales and marketing. “If a farmer is eligible for Monsanto's Roundup Rewards program, Monsanto will give the farmer a refund of $17 per unit. This adds up to a total of $68.50 per unit, which is equal to 100 percent of the purchase price for the Beltwide seed that had to be replanted.
“Monsanto also will give the farmer a full refund of the technology fee, which varies by area in Texas, if he meets all of the Roundup Rewards eligibility requirements.”
Rice said if a farmer eligible for participation in the Roundup Rewards program is forced to replant due to a failed or lost stand of a Beltwide cotton, the combined refunds from Beltwide and Monsanto will cover 100 percent of the seed and RR tech fee costs associated with the loss.
“The farmer must replant with the same or an alternate Beltwide variety in order to be eligible for the Beltwide portion of the refund,” he said.
All-Tex Seed, Inc., will offer a 100 percent replant program for the second year in a row,” said Michael Wood, production manager.
“Growers who plant an All-Tex Roundup Ready variety and lose all or part of their planted acres by July 16, 2004 or 60 days after planting, whichever comes first, and replant with an All-Tex Roundup Ready variety are eligible for a replant refund.”
Eligibility requirements include:
The original acres must have been planted to an All-Tex Roundup Ready variety.
Grower must replant with an All-Tex Roundup Ready variety and cannot exceed the acres or bags originally planted. Replant seed must be used for planting the designated acres in the 2004 planting season.
The grower and distributor/dealer must complete and sign an All-Tex Replant Claim Form certifying that all information is correct and accurate. Distributor/Dealers must attach receipts or invoices to the All-Tex Replant Claim Form showing originally planted bags and replant bags.
All claims must be mailed to All-Tex Seed no later than July 16, 2004, or 60 days after planting, whichever comes first. Mail Replant Claim Forms to All-Tex Seed, Inc., P.O. Box 1057, Levelland, Texas 79336.
All-Tex will issue approved replant credits to the seed distributor/dealer upon receipt of replant forms and invoices
Delta and Pine Land
The Delta and Pine Land Cotton Variety Replant Program applies to all Roundup Ready, Bollgard/Roundup Ready and Bollgard II / Roundup Ready cotton varieties for Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. The program applies only to one replant in 2004.
“A cotton producer who purchases and plants a D&PL cotton variety with the Roundup Ready, Bollgard/Roundup Ready, or Bollgard II/Roundup Ready technology will be eligible for the Replant Program and will qualify for the replant rebates,” said Deltapine's Matt Vaughn.
“Rebates will be an invoice credit to the distributor from D&PL based on the original variety planted,” Vaughn said. Credits are applicable to purchase of replant seed of the same or similar priced D&PL varieties (subject to availability).
To qualify for the D&PL replant credit a cotton producer must meet the following criteria:
The original planted acres must have been planted in seed purchased in 2004 of a D&PL Roundup Ready, Bollgard/Roundup Ready or a Bollgard II / Roundup Ready cotton variety.
The cotton producer must use the replant seed for planting in 2004 on the same acres and must replant with D&PL varieties.
Stoneville's 2004 Southwest Replant and Crop Loss Program applies to cotton growers in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Kansas who are participating in this Stoneville brand program. All other eligibility requirements, qualifications, restrictions and details outlined in this program must be met for participation.
Growers who plant a minimum of at least 12 units each of two Stoneville varieties, or 24 units of one Stoneville variety, and lose or destroy all or part of their planted acres by July 15, 2004 or 60 days after planting, whichever comes first, then replant with an eligible Stoneville brand cotton variety are eligible for a Replant Refund.
The unit refund will be $47.90, $61 or $27.90 depending on the variety purchased and first planted (Suggested retail price excludes the published BXN technology fee which is refundable under a separate technology credit program.). The grower is responsible for any applicable technology fees.
Bayer CropScience's FiberMax cottonseed participates in the Monsanto Cotton Crop Loss/Destruct Refund program, said FiberMax marketing manager Monty Christian.
Growers receive 85 percent of seed costs back on germplasm with Monsanto traits. “If the seed has a Monsanto trait, Monsanto will refund $17 per bag,” Christian said. “Bayer will make up the difference to 85 percent of the value of the bag.”
Bayer CropScience is also offering replant protection to growers who plant the newly introduced LibertyLink Cotton varieties. Bayer will cover a portion of the cost of FiberMax LibertyLink cottonseed purchased if replant requirements are met.
For the first time, Bayer offers a Temik/FiberMax program. “A farmer qualifies if he plants FiberMax varieties and applies Temik at the minimum rate. If replant is necessary, the grower receives 100 percent of his cost on both products. We're trying to share risk with our growers,” Christian said.
Also, the TEMIK and FiberMax program includes all FiberMax varieties offered by Bayer CropScience, including those varieties with Monsanto traits, LibertyLink technology and conventional varieties. The program applies to growers in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.
Cotton farmers should contact seed company representatives for detailed information for each of the replant programs.
“Our replant program is tied directly to Monsanto's own program terms,” said Terry Thrash, AFD seed. “Growers who meet all Monsanto qualifications for replant will receive an end-of-season rebate of 85 percent towards the purchase of their second bag of AFD seed. This is our second year with a replant program and with Roundup Ready cotton.
“The AFD Roundup Ready replant program does require replant seed to be AFD brand. AFD 3511RR will be one of the best choices because it is early maturing,” Thrash said. “We think many picker cotton replant acres from other seed companies will plant AFD 3511RR.
Thrash said AFD has a good supply of AFD 3511RR, and expects first-time acreage to be up significantly from last.
He said the replant program plays a crucial role in seed companies' customer relations efforts. “Our growers know that we are a West Texas based company and local presence is important to grower relations.”
He said the AFD replant program was designed to be competitive with other major players in the Roundup Ready Monsanto program.
“We have the support of Monsanto and feel that together we offer varieties that compete not only in the replant program, but also with the high fiber cottons in high demand by the producer.”