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2-Plants: Australian growers air Bollgard II concerns



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                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Growers air Bollgard concerns
SOURCE: Cottonworld, Australia, by Donald Turner
        http://www.cottonworld.com.au/articles.php3?rc=395
DATE:   Apr 28, 2003

------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------


Growers air Bollgard concerns

AUSTRALIAN cotton growers are confident their concerns about the
suitability of Bollgard II varieties, fibre quality and management will
be reflected in the introductory price, soon to be announced by Monsanto
Australia.

Monsanto delayed the price announcement after meeting members of the
Australian Cotton Industry Council Pesticides and Biotechnology Committee
on April 16.

Monsanto executives could not be reached for comment at time of
publishing, but it is understood growers at the meeting were informed of
the proposed price, subject to commercial in-confidence.

The company had planned to announce the price early in May.

Pesticides and Biotechnology committee chairman Bruce Finney says the
meeting was productive and was conducted in a spirit of conciliation.

Monsanto also agreed in principle to review the transition process from
Ingard to Bollgard next year.

"Monsanto agreed to consider not only the latest information on
resistance but also the availability of varieties, agronomic performance,
including Fusarium wilt tolerance, and fibre quality in reaching its
decision," Mr Finney says.

"The phase out of Ingard is Monsanto's commercial decision, as is the
price of Bollgard II."

Mr Finney says the grower representation group's goal is to influence
these decisions through the consideration of the full range of benefits,
additional costs and risks.

Monsanto cotton business manager Roger Boyce told Cottonworld recently
that Monsanto has been encouraged by early indications of the efficacy of
the two different insect-control genes in Bollgard II, with reports now
common of crops requiring no sprays for heliothis.

"We see Bollgard II as an opportunity to remove variables in production
brought about by heliothis, so growers can focus more on crop
management," he said.

One such challenge is management of higher early fruit loads in hotter
areas, compared with conventional cotton in which tipping out helps to
manage fruit load.

But Dr Greg Constable, Program Leader, CSIRO Cotton Research Unit, says
neither variety nor Ingard can be solely blamed for high micronaire in
the past two seasons.

Trends with micronaire in the past 18 years for old control varieties
DP16 and Namcala show that climate and management have had a strong
influence on high micronaire in the past two seasons.

"Ingard varieties (and likely Bollgard II) have had higher micronaire
under low Helicoverpa pressure -- possibly because of crop setting
pattern (no top crop)," Dr Constable says.


                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Bollgard II bargaining begins
SOURCE: Cottonworld, Australia, by Donald Turner
        http://www.cottonworld.com.au/articles.php3?rc=377
DATE:   Apr 14, 2003

------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------


Bollgard II bargaining begins

AUSTRALIAN cotton growers will meet representatives of Monsanto in Sydney
this Wednesday to discuss the price of Bollgard II cotton, amid debate
about the impact of GM cotton on fibre quality.

Growers will be represented by members of the Australian Cotton Industry
Council Pesticides and Biotechnology Committee. They include committee
chairman Bruce Finney, newly appointed ACGRA chairman Glenn Fresser, and
former Cotton Australia chairman Charlie Wilson.

Dr Greg Constable, Program Leader, CSIRO Cotton Research Unit, says
neither variety nor Ingard can be solely blamed for high micronaire in
the past two seasons.

Trends with micronaire in the past 18 years for old control varieties
DP16 and Namcala show that climate and management have had a strong
influence on high micronaire in the past two seasons.

"Ingard varieties (and likely Bollgard II) have had higher micronaire
under low Helicoverpa pressure -- possibly because of crop setting
pattern (no top crop)," Dr Constable says.

Choice ahead:

Growers will have the choice of four Bollgard II varieties from Cotton
Seed Distributors Ltd in the coming season and eight to ten the following
season, says CSD general manager Adam Kay.

He says that despite concerns about fibre quality this season, any
varieties showing deficiencies will be dropped in CSIRO's stringent
selection process.

Early data from more than 50 Bollgard II trials this season indicates
generally strong performances in both yield and quality criteria, Mr Kay says.

Monsanto cotton business manager Roger Boyce says Monsanto has been
encouraged by early indications of the efficacy of the two different
insect-control genes in Bollgard II, with reports now common of crops
requiring no sprays for heliothis.

"I think everyone understands the technology a bit better this time
around," he says.

"We see Bollgard II as an opportunity to remove variables in production
brought about by heliothis, so growers can focus more on crop management."

Mr Wilson, who grew Bollgard II on his farm east of Emerald, noted that
it required no sprays for heliothis during the season, while jassids late
in the season were easily controlled.

"We have work to do in learning to grow Bollgard II, but I think the
rewards are there for growers," he says.