Cotton producer Andy Shelton says PhytoGen® W3FE varieties and the Enlist weed control system give him “100 percent confidence” to control weeds on his farm.

If experience is the best education, cotton producer Andy Shelton aced a master class in controlling weeds.

Shelton had seen demo plots of PhytoGen® brand varieties and the Enlist weed control system, but he knew the real test would be on his own farm. The first year he planted PhytoGen W3FE varieties on fields infested with pigweeds. That included a 160-acre field adjacent to tomatoes.

His experience?

“I have 100 percent confidence in the Enlist weed control system,” Shelton says. “We applied Enlist Duo, followed the label, and did everything we were supposed to do. The weed control was amazing to me. It did an excellent job cleaning up the field, and we had zero off-target drift. We had fantastic weed control, bar none.”

That experience gave the Tennessee farmer confidence to plant PhytoGen W3FE varieties on 85 percent of his cotton acres the following season. His weed control program included a burndown with glyphosate and dicamba, followed by preemergence herbicides at planting. Preemergence activation wasn’t a problem with a wet spring, but heavy rainfall meant those herbicides didn’t stick around long. The moisture also meant pigweeds came up fast.

Shelton applied Enlist One herbicide postemergence, followed by glufosinate 10 to 14 days later. That one-two punch devastated the pigweeds.

“Enlist One did a great job on the pigweeds, and it offers the convenience of additional tank-mix partners. But as far as weed control, Enlist One and Enlist Duo both deliver excellent control,” Shelton says.

Making the grade

Shelton emphasizes the importance of following the Enlist herbicide labels and best management practices for applications. Applicators must follow the label on wind speed, wind direction, boom height, nozzle type and qualified tank-mix partners. It’s also critical that applicators take note of surrounding crops and landscape to ensure that no susceptible crops are downwind from the field they are spraying.

Shelton uses several technology tools to ensure proper applications. He uses weather and record-keeping software in his sprayer that provides information such as current wind speed and temperature, as well as spray pressure and product applied per acre. His smartphone allows him to quickly access up-to-date information on qualified tank-mix partners for Enlist One at EnlistTankMix.com.

These tools help him follow best management practices and log data from his spraying activity — data and information that he can use in the off-season to learn from his experience.

While new technologies help Shelton ace his applications, he also emphasizes a back-to-the-basics approach, such as good sprayer cleanout. As with wind speed and other requirements, following the label leads to excellent results.

“Enlist One and Enlist Duo are incredibly easy to clean out of our spray system. We haven’t had a problem with contamination,” Shelton says. “Following the triple-rinse procedure and using a tank cleaner works. If you do it like you’re supposed to, you can be confident it is going to be clean.”

Consistency you can count on

While Shelton emphasizes the weed control available through PhytoGen Enlist varieties, the goal of cotton production isn’t merely to control weeds. Cotton farmers are looking for yields and fiber quality they can count on season after season. Again, experience has proven that PhytoGen® cottonseed is an excellent fit on his cotton acres.

“We have been growing PhytoGen varieties on a majority of our cotton acres for about five years. They are consistent workhorse varieties that we can put on a wide variety of soils,” Shelton says. “Another benefit with the PhytoGen varieties is the grades. It is consistent-grading cotton. It is always going to have a good staple and mic — your fiber package is going to be very good.”