SHOULD Bollgard 3 varieties of cotton be unable to be sold in China it will be a blow to the Australian cotton industry as the trait has performed exceptionally well agronomically.
The trait was formulated by adding the Vipcot gene, produced by Syngenta, used to help control the damaging Helicoverpa species of moth to the Bollgard II trait.
Farmers have also been pleased with the wider planting window for Bollgard 3, allowing more flexibility at planting.
Management wise, growers have reported Bollgard 3 has made the logistics of getting a cotton crop in the ground much easier, rather than the strict timelines necessary for planting Bollgard 2.
In addition, the new traits have fewer restrictions post-harvest in terms of reduced moth pupae busting requirements post-harvest.
In-crop pest resistance is also said to be superior to Bollgard 2.
The proof has been in the pudding in terms of market acceptance.
Around 90 per cent of Australia’s cotton plant this year is estimated to be Bollgard 3 varieties.
A loss of cottonseed markets in China would represent a tricky dynamic for growers.
While cottonseed is considered a by-product of cotton lint production, the income generated from the seed is steadily rising in line with gains in world oilseed prices.
Income generated from cottonseed can be as high as 15pc of total gross margins, however farmers would probably accept lower cottonseed prices on Bollgard 3 lines due to limited markets in preference to the yield penalties taken from planting older Bollgard 2 lines.
Cottonseed from Bollgard 2 varieties is approved for importation into China.