Change comes with challenges, and the first steps in a new direction are often the hardest to take. But the decisions you make in the spring could pay big dividends this season — and for seasons to come.
Texas producer Nelson Reus decided on a new direction with his cotton acres when he started planting PhytoGen® brand varieties with the Enlist® weed control system a few years ago.
Reus heard newer PhytoGen® W3FE varieties were easier to manage while producing top-end yield. That initially got his attention. He also was intrigued by the Enlist® weed control system but was initially hesitant to go all in with the system, because he farmed in Medina County, Texas, near dicamba-tolerant cotton.
The first year Reus planted PhytoGen W3FE varieties, he used Liberty® herbicide and glyphosate to manage weeds. He learned more about the system and, the next year, applied sequential applications of Enlist One® herbicide and Liberty herbicide. Enlist One herbicide performed as expected, killing weeds and remaining on target.
In 2022, his irrigated acres experienced high pressure from glyphosate-resistant pigweed and false ragweed, and that’s when Reus put the system to the test.
“I started tank-mixing Enlist One and Liberty herbicide, and that really helped clean up my fields. The tank mix fried the weeds,” Reus said. “I was glad to have the Enlist weed control system. I had some other fields that weren’t cotton where the weeds got too big, and we couldn’t do anything about it other than hand-weed.”
Reus also was surprised at the tank-mix options with the Enlist weed control system, which saved trips across the field. That’s always a time-saver, but it also helps his bottom line in years like 2022 with high fuel prices.
So what about yield and ease of management — the two things that originally grabbed his attention?
“I’m staying with the mid-maturing PhytoGen W3FE varieties because they give me a balance of easier management and higher yield,” Reus said. “PHY 400 W3FE is a high yielder that has a tighter boll and doesn’t string out at harvest. PHY 332 W3FE is another one with great fiber quality, and the yield is right up there with PHY 400 W3FE.”
He said PhytoGen® brand PHY 411 W3FE looked outstanding in his test plot, as did an experimental that’s a little earlier-maturing than PhytoGen® brand PHY 400 W3FE. All in all, his PhytoGen W3FE varieties averaged between 3.3 and 4.3 bales/A in 2022.
PhytoGen® W3FE varieties and the Enlist® weed control system have helped Nelson Reus increase yields and better manage his cotton acres. In 2022, Reus yielded 3.3 to 4.3 bales/A with PhytoGen® brand varieties and kept fields clean with the Enlist weed control system.
“I was really happy with my yields on my irrigated cotton — those acres are going to pull us through this year,” Reus said.
Looking back, how does Reus feel about making the decision to switch to PhytoGen W3FE varieties and the Enlist weed control system?
“I’m confident now after using it for three years — it’s a part of our system,” Reus said. “It’s a better bang for your buck. Once you overcome the uncertainty of using a new system, I don’t see why this can’t be profitable for any grower who wants to use it.”
First steps for the future
PhytoGen U.S. Cotton Portfolio Manager Joel Faircloth, Ph.D., oversees variety offerings and talks with customers across the Cotton Belt. He’s heard stories like Reus’ over and over again — in which growers choose PhytoGen brand varieties for one reason only to discover additional benefits later in the season.
“We have customers who chose PhytoGen brand varieties because of yield performance in their state’s Official Variety Trials. They later discover the benefits of the Enlist weed control system or our breeding traits, such as resistance to root-knot and reniform nematodes,” Faircloth said. “And we’ve had some growers who looked ahead, decided that dicamba was not the answer and came to us for the Enlist weed control system. They have been pleasantly surprised at the consistent yield potential with our varieties.”
U.S. Cotton Portfolio Manager Joel Faircloth, Ph.D., speaks to growers during a PhytoGen field day in Lubbock, Texas. Faircloth said the variety portfolio offers producers better yield potential and improvements in management thanks to technologies available in PhytoGen® brand varieties.
While changes are sometimes difficult, the status quo is often more detrimental to long-term profitability and sustainability. Faircloth said PhytoGen has experts located across the Cotton Belt to help customers select varieties, develop management plans and answer questions throughout the season — all making the transition easier.
“When you purchase PhytoGen cottonseed, you get the knowledge and expertise to help you succeed in Year 1,” Faircloth said. “There’s always going to be a learning curve when you plant new varieties or manage a new system, but we have cotton development specialists across the Cotton Belt who can get you answers to your toughest questions.
“It’s an exciting time for PhytoGen cottonseed. Our variety portfolio is the best it’s ever been with a full lineup of varieties with high yield potential. Our eyes are fixed on the horizon, and the future has never looked better as we endeavor to help U.S. cotton producers reach the goals they set for this season and seasons to come.”