STONEVILLE TEXAS unveiled new varieties adapted to the High Plains during a recent grower field day at its Idalou Station.

Steve Calhoun, station manager, said west Texas growers "want a new source of varieties and competition in the market. Many have grown Stoneville varieties and wanted to see our new lines."

Varieties currently available from Stoneville Texas are based on ST 239 genetics, which offers high yield potential, early maturity and greater storm resistance than ST 474. BXN 16 is the most widely available transgenic variety based on ST 239. This Buctril-resistant variety is a smooth leaf with very early maturity.

ST 2454R, a Roundup Ready variety similar to ST 239, will be available in limited quantities for on-farm test plots in 2001. Calhoun explains the limited supply of ST 2454R: "We are very excited about this product and made a decision to use most of the available seed for seed production in 2001 to maximize available commercial seed supply in 2002."

A new Roundup Ready/Bollgard stacked ST 239 type variety also will be available in 2002.

For Southern High Plains producers who have seen benefits from growing higher yielding picker varieties and an aggressive harvest strategy, Stoneville offers a line of products based on the ST 474 genetics. These include BXN 47, ST 4691B, ST 4892BR, and, new for 2001, ST 4793R. Additional stripper varieties with a wide range of genetic backgrounds will reach the market in 2002-2003.

"Remember, our Texas program is only three years old," Calhoun says. "The varieties we offer Texas growers now are ones that were originally developed in the Delta, but they do well in the Texas High Plains. Since 1997, we have been filling the breeding pipeline with material specifically adapted to Texas. We expect these new products will reach the market in the near future."

Stoneville Texas conducts an active breeding program with substantial resources devoted to developing new germplasm adapted for the area with needed agronomic characteristics. The breeding program is underpinned by extensive testing over a wide range of growing conditions throughout the High Plains. This Texas research is supported by additional breeding nursery and small scale seed increase blocks at the company's winter nursery in South Africa and its research station in Arizona as well as greenhouse and laboratory facilities in Tennessee.

"One of our main strategies is to combine the yield and fiber quality of the best picker varieties with the storm resistance and adaptation of the best stripper varieties," Calhoun says. "We also try to maximize the potential of existing stripper germplasm by making crosses among stripper varieties from other private and public breeding programs and selecting for superior performance."