Cotton farmers planning to take a look at Bayer CropScience's new GlyTol varieties have to put those plans on hold for a year.
Bayer intended to have two new FiberMax GlyTol varieties on the market this year. The company had to postpone that launch, however. A delay by the Japanese government in approving GlyTol in cotton byproducts means the new trait could not be ready by planting time this year.
GlyTol is Bayer's alternative to Roundup Ready Flex technology. It would allow any glyphosate herbicide registered for cotton to be used on varieties with the GlyTol trait.
"The technology gives similar results to Flex but gives farmers the freedom to choose which trait to use and gives them freedom of choice in their herbicide decision,” says Paul Callaghan, Bayer's global cotton traits manager.
The company has been testing FM 9101 and FM 9103, both with the GlyTol trait. They are intended to eventually replace FM 9058 Flex, a popular good-yielding variety in west Texas.
"Both varieties yield right with 9058. We've had both in stewardship confinement in west Texas and they've done well. We got them planted in late May 2009 because of weather problems but, for that late window, they performed very well,” Callaghan says.
The launch date setback is not due to a technical issue with GlyTol, he says.
"The Japanese had a change in government, and this is a procedural delay resulting from that change. GlyTol has been thoroughly tested and got a food use approval in Japan but still needs feed and environment approvals there. When they changed government, they missed a critical meeting for GlyTol which meant we could not hit the timeline we needed for planting in 2010,” Callaghan says.
"We did not want to bring GlyTol to market under stewardship confinement. This is the right decision for our customers. We have a high standard for customer care and stewardship. Regulatory systems are very complex and unfortunately are not always very predictable,” Callaghan says.
The company now goes to Plan B, a contingency strategy developed just in case the 2010 GlyTol launch went awry. It boils down to making much more FM 9058 Flex seed available this year.
"That should offset any changes as a result of delaying the GlyTol launch. The 9058 variety is a high yielder and is adapted to west Texas, where the GlyTol varieties are targeted. This is a good solution,” Callaghan says.
It could turn out to be a particularly good resolution if soil moisture continues to be plentiful in west Texas through planting time. Dryland farmers may try some varieties with weed and insect traits rather than plant less expensive conventional varieties.
"Because of soil moisture availability, we're hearing a lot of leading west Texas farmers saying that they may plant more varieties on dryland that they're not used to. They're implying they may plant more technology in west Texas, upgrade their varieties. If they've been planting conventional varieties, they might try a straight Flex variety. If they've been planting Flex, they might upgrade to a Bollgard 2 Flex variety. If this holds true and there is good soil moisture at planting time, it may give new opportunities to a variety like FM 9058 Flex,” Callaghan says.
Bayer plans to market GlyTol cotton varieties in 2011.
"There is a lot of disappointment within the company that we are not able to deliver on the original timeline. Believe me, we had our foot on the gas pedal and we were ready to launch. We invested tremendous resources in it in time, people, seed increase, processing seed and field demonstrations,” Callaghan says.
"This is a decision we made on Valentine's Day, when we recognized we would not be able to hit the approval process in time for 2010 planting. We're shifting everything on GlyTol to 2011. We will do everything within our power to ensure we get GlyTol on the market in 2011,” Callaghan says.