If you’ve been a cotton customer of Winfield United retailers, you’ll want to look for seed under the Armor brand next year rather than the Croplan brand you’ve seen in the past.
“Winfield United acquired the Armor brand in 2017, and we made the decision this year to transition all our cotton seed to that brand,” says Kelly Phipps, Winfield United seed marketing director. “Cotton has always been a personal, high-touch business. As a regional brand, Armor is well-positioned to offer personalized service to cotton growers, address the challenges they’re facing and help move the industry forward.”
Phipps was a co-owner of Armor prior to the company being acquired by WinField United.
“We’re excited to bring farmers more options and expand the Armor portfolio where it is recognized and trusted,” says Jim Hedges, vice president of seed for WinField United. “This change for our proprietary cotton seed business enables us to place the full weight of the WinField United system behind our investment in the Armor brand through our history of innovation in product development as well as through our agronomic expertise and retail network.”
Winfield United’s cotton product manager, Robert Cossar, says he expects cotton acres, which have exploded in south-central and southwest Kansas in the last five years, to continue to grow.
“As the water table continues to fall, growers are looking for an alternative crop that requires less water than irrigated corn and soybeans,” Cossar says. “Cotton is a crop that is very drought tolerant at the same time it offers a revenue stream comparable to corn.”
He adds that the cotton segment has also been helped by agronomic research that has developed varieties with shorter season maturities and higher quality fibers.
“West Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas cotton used to be short, weak fibers that were more suitable to denim fabrics. Now, breeders have been able to increase the staple length and bring cotton with good textile strength. Kansas growers now have a number of varieties that produce very high-quality cotton that can be used for almost any fine-cotton fabric from shirts to sheets and towels.
Cossar adds that U.S. cotton has a reputation on the world market for being consistently high-quality, clean cotton.
Hedges says that two main Armor varieties will be popular for Kansas in 2021.
“Armor 3475 B2XF is known for high yields, while Armor 9210 B3XF is a new Bollgard III technology variety,” Cossar says. “We have test plots out this year of our commercial line-up as well as new experimentals near the Kansas-Oklahoma line and expect them to perform well.”