In the past, Texas producer Marvin Mode struggled to find a cottonseed with the right attributes and traits for Deaf Smith, Randall and Carson counties. He had to sacrifice either quality, yield or weed control when planting shorter-season varieties. With newer varieties bred specifically for a shorter growing season and harsh weather, cotton once again plays a major role in Mode’s cropping mix.
“The first thing I look for when I’m choosing a cotton variety is maturity and how quick it is,” Mode says. “If a variety isn’t going to finish, there’s no point putting it in the ground. So, we look for maturity and quality. That’s really where PhytoGen has been great.”
Mode is particularly impressed with the performance of PhytoGen® brand PHY 250 W3FE because of its ability to withstand tough conditions – blowing wind, torrential rain and snow – and still finish strong with outstanding quality.
“PHY 250 W3FE is a quick-starter, lower-management cotton variety. And it’s high quality. I don’t worry about it coming out of the ground, and it’s got the vigor to grow, square and load up. I don’t see anything else on the market that fits my place as well.”
Mode admits varieties from other brands might be quick and have some quality, but he wasn’t able to control the weeds. With PhytoGen W3FE varieties, Mode says the Enlist™ weed control system provides tremendous flexibility and several herbicide options — Enlist herbicides, glufosinate (or Liberty® herbicide) and glyphosate — to protect yields from weeds.
Ben Benton, PhytoGen cotton development specialist for Mode’s area, works across the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles, and the cotton-growing region of Kansas. He says the Enlist system has been very well received across the area, particularly in the northern Panhandle where traditional 2,4-D is regularly used on wheat.
Vigor and vert-tolerant to boot
“PhytoGen has taken everything we need here in this area and put it all in one variety,” Mode says. “The disease package of bacterial blight resistance and vert tolerance along with WideStrike 3 and Enlist traits are a bonus.”
In the very high verticillium wilt areas around Amarillo, PhytoGen® brand varieties are showing very good results. PhytoGen has been breeding for verticillium wilt (VW) tolerance for years and continues to introduce improved varieties. Benton explains PhytoGen brand PHY 210 W3FE and PHY 250 W3FE have excellent VW tolerance. Consequently they excel when put on heavier-textured soils as a first-time planting option, late plant or even replant.
“Closer to Lubbock and Plainview in high verticillium wilt areas, a new 2020 midseason variety, PHY 394 W3FE, is really blowing out of the ground,” Benton says. “It has our legendary early season vigor and also is highly tolerant to verticillium wilt, so growers have really embraced it.”
Ken Lege, Ph.D., PhytoGen cotton development specialist in West Texas and Oklahoma, says that moving into July, he’s anticipating growers will see the full portfolio of PhytoGen Breeding Traits™ performing in the field.
“We’ve had bacterial blight resistance in our varieties for years, so I’ve had to go to competitive fields to train my eye for bacterial blight ― to remind me what it looks like! We simply don’t see it in our PhytoGen lineup,” Lege says.
RKN and reniform resistance
VW and bacterial blight resistance are only two of the naturally occurring native traits in PhytoGen® brand varieties that protect potential yields and quality from common pests.
“We’re gaining ground in root knot nematode, or RKN, resistance,” Lege says. “Many growers don’t realize we have the industry-leading RKN resistance package in many of our varieties. Growers are beginning to see the advantage of not only achieving good yields in those fields that are infested, but also reducing those pest populations.”
Reniform nematode resistance is the newest PhytoGen Breeding Trait that will be the first of its kind to market in 2021.
“I’m fortunate that I get to see it in our smaller on-farm trials with our PhytoGen Horizon Network growers as well as larger seed production blocks in this area. At this point in the season, we’re already seeing the difference,” Lege says.
“We’re getting feedback from growers who in some cases are now again growing cotton in fields where they couldn’t grow cotton anymore. They’re already thriving with our reniform-resistant trait in those varieties.”
For more information on PhytoGen Breeding Traits for verticillium wilt, RKN or reniform nematodes, or bacterial blight, go to PhytoGen.com. Watch this video to learn more about Marvin Mode’s experiences.
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