It’s been said that where there are sandy soils, there are root knot nematodes (RKN). In West Texas, particularly in the Southern High Plains and the Permian Basin, cotton acreage is indeed plagued with RKN. At one time, RKN infested approximately 1 million irrigated cotton acres in West Texas.
Oftentimes, growers don’t readily recognize the yield loss that can occur from RKN. USDA research indicates that RKN causes an average yield reduction of 25 percent in West Texas cotton fields. To determine if RKN is responsible for yield drag, producers should conduct soil sampling in late summer and fall.
Soil sample results
“Hopefully, growers with root-knot-nematode issues conducted field samples to determine infestation levels when nematode populations were at the highest at the end of September and October,” says Scott Fuchs, PhytoGen cotton development specialist.
“Keep in mind that root-knot nematodes can be difficult to accurately sample during the winter months. But for those who sampled soils last fall, we can help them find the right variety for their farm.”
Plant resistant varieties
One method of combating RKN is planting resistant varieties. PhytoGen® brand variety PHY 417 WRF greatly reduces nematode reproduction and may be an option for fields that are severely infested. This early to midseason variety features PhytoGen cottonseed’s industry-leading RKN resistance with good yield potential and fiber quality.
“PHY 417 WRF looks outstanding,” Fuchs says. “Where we’re planting in RKN fields, this variety is performing beautifully and we’re looking forward to sharing final yield data soon.”
Shawn Holladay of Lamesa, Texas, tried PHY 417 WRF for the first time this year. The variety was planted on land under a pivot that he says never reaches its potential, partly due to RKN pressure.
“This year I planted PhytoGen 417. I believe it is the best cotton we’ve tried on that acreage,” Holladay says. “It has a boll count that put it well over three bales.”
Fuchs adds that PhytoGen brand variety PHY 367 WRF also has good root-knot-nematode tolerance and performs well in verticillium wilt fields.
More options for 2015
PhytoGen is offering 10 Upland cotton varieties for the 2015 growing season. The selective lineup includes five new PhytoGen brand varieties, industry-leading root-knot-nematode tolerance and an introduction of a new trait technology (WideStrike® 3 Insect Protection). WideStrike 3, which offers improved protection against cotton bollworm and improved resistance management, will be available in industry-leading germplasm in 2015.
For the full lineup of new and returning PhytoGen brand varieties, go to PhytoGenYields.com.
Lint Yields and Fiber Properties from the PhytoGen Replicated On-Farm Innovation Trial Conducted in Lubbock Co., Texas. 2013.
Crop Value of Yields from the PhytoGen Replicated On-Farm Innovation Trial Conducted in Lubbock Co., Texas. 2013.
In Lubbock County, PhytoGen varieties PHY 417 WRF and PHY 427 WRF led yield and crop values in the replicated trial, followed by PHY 367 WRF and PHY 339 WRF. Producers should consider dedicating high performing acres to PHY 499 WRF, while positioning one of the other nematode resistant varieties on nematode-ridden soils.
®PhytoGen is a trademark of PhytoGen Seed Company, LLC. ®WideStrike is a trademark of The Dow Chemical Company (“Dow”) or an affiliated company of Dow. PhytoGen Seed Company is a joint venture between Mycogen Corporation, an affiliate of Dow AgroSciences LLC, and the J.G. Boswell Company.