Cotton growers will have a number of new varieties — conventional as well as transgenic — to consider as they plan for the 2002 crop.

Here are some of the new offerings:

Aventis Cottonseed International

ACSI plans to release four new cotton varieties for 2002.

FiberMax 958. An indeterminate cotton plant, FM 958 is a broadly adapted variety with a compact growth habit and large bolls. The company says its indeterminate nature is appropriate for high yield situations with early season management and pivot and furrow irrigation. FiberMax 958 performs very much like an early maturing variety with high fiber quality characteristics. The recommended planting area for the 958 variety ranges from North Carolina to California.

FiberMax 966. In comparison, FM 966 is a mid-maturity determinate which sets bolls rapidly. This variety reportedly responds well to early irrigation and Pix applications when necessary. The company recommends the 966 variety for growers in the Mid-South, as well as parts of the Southeast and Texas. Unlike 958, which fruits like a Christmas tree, filling out the bottom and then moving up the plant, FiberMax 966 fruits more in layers, a difference growers may want to consider when making their cottonseed selection.

FM 989BR is a stacked gene variety offering both the budworm protection of Bollgard and the weed control protection of Roundup Ready. FM 989BR has a distinctive appearance with dark green leaves and large bolls set in a semi-cluster configuration. It has also shown good tolerance to Verticillium wilt. The recommended planting region for this new stacked gene variety includes the South Delta, parts of the Southeast, Texas and California.

FM 832B is an okra leaf variety that contains the Bollgard gene. Like its conventional counterpart, FM 832, FiberMax 832B promises good fiber quality and a high yield potential in an okra leaf variety. The new twist, though, is that 832B also allows growers to obtain season-long budworm protection with the addition of the Bollgard gene. FM 832B will offer growers in Texas and Louisiana high yield potential with the Bollgard gene, to protect more bolls, even at sub-threshold levels.

Delta and Pine Land Co.

D&PL plans to introduce three early-maturing varieties, PM 1199 RR, SG 215 BG/RR and SG 521 R, and four mid-full season varieties, DeltaPEARL, DP 491, DP 555 BG/RR, and DP 448 B.

Early Season Cotton Varieties

PM 1199 RR is a high-yielding, very early maturing, medium- to short-statured, hairy-leaf Roundup Ready variety that has a very good fiber-quality package. Yield performance has been outstanding throughout its testing, particularly in the northern Cotton Belt.

SG 521 R is an early maturing, hairy-leaf, Roundup Ready variety with excellent seedling vigor. It has medium-to-tall plant height and is widely adapted to different soil types. The storm resistance of open bolls is rated very good. SG 521 R has both outstanding yield performance and good disease tolerance, including good tolerance to both Fusarium wilt and Verticillium wilt. Bronze wilt has not been observed in this variety.

SG 215 BG/RR is a very high-yielding, early maturing, stacked-gene variety with smooth leaves and very good seedling vigor. It is widely adapted to various soil types and farm practices, including conventional, minimum till, ultra narrow row and skip row. In head-to-head comparisons with early maturing stacked-gene varieties, it consistently was the highest performer, both in lint yield and value.

Mid-Full Season Varieties

DeltaPEARL is a mid-full maturity variety that is primarily adapted to the southern tier of the cotton belt, but has shown outstanding performance as a full-season variety in the upper Southeast (North Carolina and northern South Carolina). This variety has out-performed all other major conventional mid-full varieties throughout the Belt in terms of lint yields.

It has exhibited excellent yield and fiber qualities, and its crop values are superior to other conventional mid-full season competitor varieties. Beltwide averages for DeltaPEARL's staple length are superior to most of the competitor varieties. DeltaPEARL also has an impressive disease tolerance package that includes tolerance to Fusarium and Verticillium wilt and resistance to bacterial blight, race 18.

DP 491 is a mid-full season, conventional variety with smooth leaves and a diverse germplasm background. It has outstanding and consistent yield performance as well as excellent length and strength. This variety has good tolerance to root knot nematode and Fusarium wilt.

DP 448 B is a mid-full season picker variety with superior yield, high turnout and wide adaptation. It has medium plant-height with smooth leaves, good storm resistance and resistance to Verticillium wilt. Both staple length and micronaire are very good.

DP 555 BG/RR is a stacked-gene, mid-full season variety with an extremely high yield potential with excellent turnout and a very good fiber package. It has smooth leaves and is adapted across the Belt.

Stoneville Pedigreed Seed Co.

Stoneville Pedigreed Seed Company plans to offer a broad portfolio of conventional, Bollgard, Roundup Ready, BXN, and stacked-gene varieties in 2002. Those will include two new transgenic varieties and a pending conventional variety. The two new transgenic varieties are a stacked picker variety, BXN 49B, and a stacked stripper variety, ST 3539BR.

BXN 49B contains the Bollgard gene for boll protection and the BXN gene for resistance to Buctril 4EC herbicide. This early-to-mid maturity, stacked-gene picker variety has management characteristics and maturity similar to its parent variety, ST 474. Buctril helps growers manage troublesome broadleaf weeds such as morningglory and cocklebur and assists in weed resistance management with chemistry rotation.

ST 3539BR is an early-to-mid maturity, stacked-gene Stoneville Texas stripper variety, containing the Bollgard gene for boll protection and the Roundup Ready gene for broad-spectrum grass and weed control. ST 3539BR comes out of the ST 132 germplasm that has been a preferred variety across West Texas and Southwestern Oklahoma due to its widespread adaptability and high yield potential.

Stoneville's pending conventional picker variety, ST 457, demonstrates Stoneville's commitment to developing new elite varieties.

Field trial evaluations indicate that this early-to-mid maturing variety has greater yield potential than the industry leader, ST 474, is earlier maturing, and offers an improved fiber package. Prior to being released for commercial sales, this variety was evaluated under the experimental designation of STX8M007.

A full array of transgenic versions of ST 457 is in development.

These new varieties follow in the footsteps of other recently introduced Stoneville varieties, including ST 4892BR, ST 4793R, ST 2454R and ST 580.

ST 4892BR is a versatile variety that stacks the Bollgard gene to help protect more bolls with the weed-control advantages of Roundup Ready. It offers growers exceptional yield potential, early-to-mid maturity, season-long tobacco budworm protection and the ability to easily control a wide spectrum of weeds and grasses.

ST 4793R, Stoneville's new single-gene Roundup Ready picker variety, offers exceptional yield potential under most management systems and soil types. ST 4793R contains the weed control advantages of Roundup Ready for broad-spectrum grass and weed control.

Stoneville's new Roundup Ready stripper variety, ST 2454R, was launched in limited quantities in 2001. ST 2454R offers high yield potential, quality fiber, smooth leaf, and early-to-mid maturity. It combines the weed control advantages of Roundup Ready for broad-spectrum grass and weed control with the excellent yield potential and adaptability of its parent variety — ST 132. ST 2454R is well suited for both irrigated and dryland production systems.

Additionally, another new conventional variety, ST 580, was released in 2001. This medium-to-full maturity variety offers growers outstanding yield potential and superior fiber quality. ST 580 is adapted to the Southeast and Lower Mid-South cotton regions.

American Cotton Breeders Inc.

Americot 1621 is a new conventional cotton variety released by American Cotton Breeders, Inc., of Little Rock, Ark.

This full-season variety has exceptional yield potential and has performed well in plantings from the Southwest to the Mid-South. Americot 1621 has a robust plant conformation with a large root system. This characteristic allows Americot 1621 to yield well under dryland and limited water management systems. This variety has produced high yields on heavy soils in Arkansas and Missouri.

West Gaines Seed and Delinting

WG 4207 is an early maturing, high-yielding conventional cotton variety. It has performed well in several locations in the Southwest and Mid-South; leading new strain tests in Arkansas and Tennessee. WG 4207 has a compact plant conformation and can be produced in high fertility programs without excessive plant height.

WG 8120 is a mid-season conventional cotton variety with excellent yield potential. It has a robust root system and yields well on dryland farms. It shows good resistance to verticillium wilt and has performed well in public and private yield trials from the Southwest to the Southeast.