Stoneville Pedigreed Seed Company, an internationally recognized leader in the development, production and marketing of cotton planting seed, is pleased to announce the acquisition of the Helena Cotton Research (HCR) program from Helena Chemical Company.

According to Stoneville President Thomas F. "Bud" Hughes, the HCR program gives Stoneville a pipeline of new products already in development, as well as additional cotton breeding stocks with high quality fiber and crop maturities suited for mid-to-full season production in the Southeast and the lower Mid-South.

"This acquisition is all about broadening the varieties available from Stoneville by giving additional support to mid-to-full season markets like the Southeastern states," Hughes explains. "Purchasing the HCR program adds cotton breeding material that complements the existing Stoneville germplasm base. It also adds a pipeline of value-added `transgenic' varieties already in development with Roundup Ready and `stacked', Bollgard/Roundup Ready products. The ultimate goal, of course, is to crossbreed the HCR germplasm with existing Stoneville germplasm to make new pedigrees of cotton varieties and then to incorporate valuable transgenes into those new products."

Helena President/CEO, Mike McCarty, adds, "We feel good about having somebody of Stoneville's caliber taking our germplasm program to the next level. We know the germplasm that we have worked hard to develop will continue in the marketplace and growers will benefit from it.

Stoneville Vice President for Research and Development, Don Panter, expects this germplasm will be developed into transgenic and conventional varieties. "In fact, transgenic versions of some of the products in the program are close to commercial release," Panter says. "Because of this acquisition, coupled with Stoneville's competencies in bringing products to market quickly and confidently, growers can look forward to new transgenic varieties from this program within two to three years."

Helena Vice President of Crop Protection Products and Seed Milton Allen says, "Ever since we started the HCR program, we have bred specifically for high quality fiber with competitive yield potential. We have taken the program to that level, and Stoneville will take it to growers' fields."

The Helena germplasm acquisition follows on the heels of Stoneville's purchase of the stripper cotton breeding programs of Brownfield Seed and Delinting Company in early 2000, and Holland Cotton seed in 1997. Hughes says,

"The cotton seed business is about one thing: the future. We have to invest money into germplasm and research if we want Stoneville and our customers to be competitive in tomorrow's market-and that is exactly what we are doing. Since adding germplasm broadens our breeding capabilities, strategic germplasm acquisitions benefit the future of Stoneville, and ultimately, cotton producers."

Rich in cotton heritage, Stoneville Pedigreed Seed Co. is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, with research & development sites, and seed production facilities located across the United States and internationally. Breeding cotton since 1922, the company provides conventional and transgenic varieties that cotton growers need today to compete in the global cotton economy. For more information, go to www.stoneville.com

"The cotton seed business is about one thing: the future. We have to invest money into germplasm and research if we want Stoneville and our customers to be competitive in tomorrow's market-and that is exactly what we are doing. Since adding germplasm broadens our breeding capabilities, strategic germplasm acquisitions benefit the future of Stoneville, and ultimately, cotton producers."

Balance Pro is the new liquid formulation of Balance herbicide being introduced by Aventis Crop Science for 2001. Balance was registered Sept. 15, 1998 in the WDG granular formulation.

"Convenience is the reason we switched formulation for 2001," says Rob Schrick, Aventis product lead for Balance Pro. "Growers and custom applicators want speed in mixing during the busy spring season, and dispersion of the Balance Pro liquid into water or fertilizer is almost immediate."

Balance Pro has been under development for several years. This past year dozens of retailers and corn growers field-tested Balance Pro for performance and handling.

"We provided a limited volume of Balance Pro to a wide array of dealers in 2000. The reports were that the product performed exceptionally well," says Schrick.

"As a pre-herbicide, Balance Pro was able to control broadleaf weeds and grasses. It also displayed its characteristic `recharge' property. If the weather turned dry and broadleaf weeds and grasses started to appear, as little as one-half inch of rain recharged the herbicide to control them," Schrick says.

"Balance Pro worked in all types of weed control programs including burndown/no-till, one-pass pre-emergence, early pre-plant and pre-plant incorporated."

Balance Pro is a low-dose herbicide with typical application rates ranging from 1.5 ounces to 3.5 fluid ounces per acre. The product will be packaged in 45 fluid ounce containers for retail sales.

For custom applicator speed, convenience and consistency of application, Aventis is working with dealers to install low-volume computerized mixing systems. Dealers that mix chemicals using computerized weighing systems and custom-apply herbicides, will be able to stock Balance Pro in 100 gallon shuttle tanks. Each shuttle has the capacity to treat 5,000 to 6,000 acres.