The first shot of the Cotton Revolution was fired at the 2002 Beltwide Cotton Conferences in Nashville, Tenn., when Delta and Pine LandCompany (D&PL) introduced the much-anticipated DP 555 BG/RR as one of its new varieties for 2003.

Grown on a limited basis in the United States in 2002, DP 555 BG/RR, known as “Triple Nickel” among growers and consultants, is a mid- to full-season Bollgard/Roundup Ready stacked-gene variety that offers potential for both high yield and good fiber quality.

DP 555 BG/RR showed superior yield potential, with excellent lint turnout in 2002. Early test results also indicate the potential for good fiber quality says D&PL senior agronomist Jim Presley.

“From the Coastal Plains to the Delta it has tested well in a variety of soil types,” he says.

Triple Nickel yielded 1,922 pounds of lint per acre in the 2002 University of Georgia Irrigated Later Maturity Cotton Cultivar Trials conducted in Tifton. It yielded 1,565 pounds per acre in the university's dryland trials in Tifton.

DP 555 BG/RR also performed well in Louisiana and Georgia the past two seasons, and some growers of DP 555 BG/RR in Mississippi and Alabama had excellent crops despite harvest-disrupting rainstorms last year.

Developed in D&PL's Australian breeding program, DP 555 BG/RR appears to represent a positive development in cotton genetics, says Dr. Don Keim, D&PL cotton breeder for the lower Mid-South.

“This is the first of many new cotton varieties coming out of our extensive worldwide breeding and testing programs that will combine the potential for both high yield and good fiber quality, with the transgenic technologies farmers so widely desire,” Keim says.

Other new picker varieties from D&PL will become available in 2003, but in very limited supplies. They include:

DP 444 BG/RR: Tested as DPLX00S13 BR around the Belt in 2002, DP 444 BG/RR has produced high yields with good fiber packages in testing to date.

Similar to PM 1218 BG/RR, DP 444 BG/RR is an early-maturing variety that has performed well in many areas of the Cotton Belt. Once-over picking has been the norm on DP 444 BG/RR.

DP 449 BG/RR is a slightly later-maturing variety than DP 444 BG/RR that has exhibited potential for good yields and fiber characteristics. In early testing, the variety trends toward not producing high micronaire, even in high micronaire conditions.

DP 449 BG/RR has some Western cotton lines in its background, yet performed well in tests in the Delta region.

“This variety has performed well in high-heat environments of the Deep South and Southwest in testing to date,” Presley says.

DP 493: In testing to date, this mid- to full-season conventional variety has produced fiber characteristics that should be attractive to textile mills.

It also has shown good yield potential in tests conducted across the southern tier of the Cotton Belt.

“DP 493 has performed well in testing on a variety of soil types and, accordingly, should be a good choice for Bt refuge acres,” says Presley.

“In testing, it has shown both high yield potential and a good fiber quality package.”

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 drawing 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.