Friday, June 23, 2006 By Shawn Wade
Technology has changed theface of the High Plains cotton industry over the past few years and MonsantoCorporation's "Cotton States" program is a key contributor to the trend.
In order to learn more aboutthe Monsanto "Cotton States" program, Plains Cotton Growers leaders from acrossthe High Plains region sat down on June 23 with Monsanto representativesresponsible for the program to discuss producer concerns about the rapidchanges taking place in the industry.
During the meeting the twogroups discussed the role the "Cotton States" program is playing in theindustry and Monsanto's plans for future "Cotton States" releases.
One of the key issuesdiscussed with the Monsanto representatives was the licensing process for "CottonStates" varieties and how it impacts growers when multiple companies licenseand sell the same "Cotton States" varieties under a number of different brandnames.
The Monsanto officials notedthat future "Cotton States" releases would be initiated on an exclusive basiswith companies and prevent situations where growers who tried to maintaingenetic diversity in their 2006 seed selections inadvertently purchased thesame genetics under different brand names.
With "Cotton States" becominga catalyst for variety changes in the industry, and Monsanto's leading role inthe development of biotech traits and beneficial risk management/risk sharingprograms that are revolutionizing cotton production, the meeting sought tofurther strengthen the working relationship that exists between PCG andMonsanto.
PCG representatives alsodiscussed a number of issues centered around exploring how the "Cotton States"program plans to impact the development of new varieties through relationshipswith public cotton breeding programs and what role a grower supported programsuch as the Plains Cotton Improvement Program might play in that process.
Monsanto Seeks Feedback on Seed Drought Relief Program
On the risk sharing frontMonsanto representatives noted that they are in the process of gatheringproducer feedback on the 2006 Monsanto Seed Drought Relief Program. The programprovides growers who plant Stoneville or NexGen brand seed with MonsantoTechnology, and fulfill the requirements of the Monsanto Roundup RewardsProgram, a refund of the cost of the seed purchased if their crop fails toachieve a final yield of 150 pounds per acre.
"It is critical that when aproducer gets a call and is asked to participate in a Monsanto marketing surveythat they take the time to provide an honest level of feedback about the valuethey see in the company's risk sharing programs," says PCG Executive VicePresident Steve Verett.
With the High Plains regionfacing a significant challenge in 2006 it appears that growers who plantedMonsanto technology on their non-irrigated acreage could see real benefitsthrough the Monsanto Seed Drought Relief Program in 2006.
"The honest feedback that Monsantoreceives from growers about their risk sharing programs will ultimately play animportant part in influencing the company's decision on whether to continuethem in 2007 and beyond," notes Verett.
Friday, June 23, 2006 ByRoger Haldenby
Growers should also remainaware of their continued responsibility to keep failed fields free of hostablecotton plants for the remainder of the growing season.
If a credit againstassessment is available, a grower will need to certify failed fields with thelocal Farm Service Agency office by July 15 in order to receive a credit forthose acres on boll weevil assessments.
To qualify for the credit,the fields must be free of all cotton plants on July 15 and must be maintainedin that condition for the rest of the growing season.
Fields planted to analternate crop after the cotton has failed are also eligible for the creditunder the same conditions.
The credit will not beavailable if hostable cotton is found in the fields on or after the July 15deadline.
Friday, June 23, 2006 ByRoger Haldenby
In spite of recent rains insome areas, drought conditions across much of PCG's 41-county area are puttinga grim face on the prospects of the 2006 cotton crop for dryland producers.
Day after day withtemperatures in the 100s, searing hot winds of 30 mph or more, and low humidityhas parched the already dry soils and is putting as much as a million acres ofdryland production at risk.
The 5.626 million bale cropof 2005 is likely to be slashed in half this season, according to earlyestimations.
Growers looking foralternative crop options should consult "2006 Alternative Crop OptionsAfter Failed Cotton and Late-Season Crop Planting for the Texas SouthPlains" published by Texas Cooperative Extension and available online at: http://www.plainscotton.org/CropReplantOptions206.pdf