Looking to 2024, producers are making a change — a change that has cleaned up cotton fields and simplified weed management throughout the Cotton Belt.
Growers in diverse agronomic regions are planting PhytoGen® W3FE varieties and using the Enlist® weed control system for better weed management in cotton.
Travis Mixon is a Southeast producer who has made the switch to PhytoGen brand varieties and has seen the benefits firsthand on his operation. He farms in Alabama and Florida with his father, Clay, as Spring Creek Farming Company. Like many in the Southeast, they plant a rotation of cotton and peanuts, and Mixon says the Enlist system is the best fit for his operation.
“We have one sprayer on our operation for our cotton and peanuts,” Mixon said. “We spray Enlist One herbicide on our cotton and 2,4-Db on the peanuts, and we never have to put dicamba in the tank. Switching back and forth between peanuts and cotton is a big hassle when you put dicamba in your sprayer.”
PhytoGen W3FE varieties have the Enlist cotton trait for labeled applications of Enlist One® and Enlist Duo® herbicides, which contain 2,4-D choline. Because growers commonly use 2,4-Db to control weeds in peanuts, there are distinct synergies between crops.
First, growers can plant peanuts adjacent to PhytoGen W3FE varieties and spray Enlist herbicides in their cotton, even if peanuts are downwind, because peanuts are considered a compatible crop. Second, when you apply 2,4-Db on peanuts, PhytoGen W3FE varieties are protected from drift because they can metabolize 2,4-Db without damage to the plants.
Another benefit of PhytoGen W3FE varieties is that growers also avoid using a dicamba-based herbicide system in cotton when peanuts are nearby. Mixon emphasizes the importance of good sprayer tank cleanout between the crops, but he notes that a little dicamba in the sprayer could cause a big issue.
“If there’s just a tiny bit of dicamba left in the boom, you could see it in your next peanut spray — or maybe even the next two or three sprays,” Mixon said. “And with peanuts and dicamba cotton side by side, you could wipe out a lot of peanut acres if you’re not careful with your dicamba sprays. The Enlist technology simplifies the application, and you don’t have to worry about spraying dicamba or cleaning it out of the sprayer.”
Mixon says they work hard to make timely applications of Enlist One herbicide and get excellent weed control. But it’s not just weed control and crop compatibility that keep them planting PhytoGen brand varieties. He says the performance also shines at the beginning and end of the season.
“PhytoGen cottonseed has a lot more vigor than other seeds,” Mixon said. “Getting it out of the ground and getting a stand is not a problem, and we’ve always had really good yields out of PhytoGen.”
Clean fields and high yield in Texas
Texas cotton producer David Barrett has experienced similar benefits with PhytoGen W3FE varieties, saying they’ve made his seed decisions much simpler in recent years.
“When I’m considering what varieties to plant, they must have yield — that’s a given,” Barrett said. “Then there are five criteria a variety must meet: seedling vigor, fiber quality, top-of-the-line insect package, a complete herbicide package and storm tolerance. PhytoGen varieties have been able to consistently check all of those boxes for our farm. Having all of those qualities makes it a pretty easy choice.”
He farms west of Edroy, Texas, with Four Plus Farms Partnership, which includes his wife, Miranda, as well as Scott and Stacy Hinze. They planted a PhytoGen Innovation Trial in 2023 with four PhytoGen brand varieties that yielded 4 bales to the acre. Two of those varieties topped 2,000 lb./A, including an experimental variety that’s being evaluated for commercial release.
“Even with the great performance of our current varieties, it’s really exciting that there is something in the pipeline that could be even better,” Barrett said.
Then there’s the added benefit of consistent, simpler weed control. Barrett says they keep weeds at bay with the Enlist weed control system, something they’ve used for several years.
“I’m a fan of the Enlist system, because it allows me to use tools like Enlist One herbicide and Liberty herbicide,” Barrett said. “Combined with our preemerge and postemerge programs, weed control is easy. Enlist One consistently performs better than dicamba, and the curb appeal of dead weeds is satisfying.”