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Cotton varieties help make time for what matters most

Southeast producer Jimmy Stewart says he plants PhytoGen® W3FE varieties on 100% of his cotton acres because of easier management and consistent yield potential. Learn more now.

Southeast producer Jimmy Stewart loves farming cotton and peanuts — it’s all he’s ever wanted to do. The hard work, long days and constant problem-solving are all part of the job description.

But he has other obligations too, so he looks for ways to simplify management while keeping production high.

“My daughter plays traveling softball, and I like to watch her play,” Stewart said. “I enjoy farming, but I want to spend time with my family. I’m looking for ways to do both.”

To accomplish that objective, Stewart plants PhytoGen® brand varieties on his cotton acres for easier management. One of the biggest advantages is the efficiencies he gets planting PhytoGen® W3FE varieties and using the Enlist® weed control system to keep cotton fields clean. Stewart has used the system since 2017 and says there is no doubt it makes him more efficient.

“I decided to go 100% with PhytoGen varieties on my cotton acres, and I use Enlist herbicides to control weeds in my cotton,” Stewart said. “Before planting PhytoGen varieties, I would spend hours washing the sprayer out between cotton and peanuts. The tank cleanout is easier with the Enlist system, so I save a lot of time during the season.”

As with much of the Cotton Belt, pigweed is the biggest challenge in his area, but he’s had great success managing the problem weed with Enlist® herbicides. His cotton fields are clean, and it sets him up for easier weed management in peanuts when he rotates crops.

“Around the time I switched to PhytoGen, pigweeds were starting to get really bad in our area, but with the Enlist system, it’s much more manageable and less of a problem,” Stewart said. “After a year or two of cotton, I have found that there’s less pigweeds when I rotate into peanuts, so that’s helping me down the road.”

Beyond weed control

Stewart says the efficiencies go beyond weed control. Excellent early season vigor and manageable plant growth are two other important factors. He wants varieties he can plant early with excellent seedling vigor but he doesn’t want varieties that require too much plant growth regulator (PGR).

“When it’s time to plant, I am ready to go, and PhytoGen varieties will come up,” Stewart said. “I’m 100% strip-till now, and I’ve found that I need to wait a week or so later to plant than I did with conventional till, but the PhytoGen varieties do a good job coming up. And I don't need to use as much PGR during the season.”

Plant vigor and health continue throughout the season with PhytoGen Breeding Traits to protect plants from yield-robbing pests, such as root-knot nematodes (RKNs) and bacterial blight. Stewart says RKN is a bigger problem than he first believed, and he’s seen more consistent yields from PhytoGen brand varieties with RKN resistance.

“We used to think we didn’t have a nematode problem, but we have more than we realized. I have some sandy fields where nematodes are a pretty big problem, and the PhytoGen varieties help,” Stewart said. “With PhytoGen, I am getting better weed control and nematode management. I am seeing a benefit the years I plant cotton, but there also seems to be a benefit the next year in peanuts. It’s just easier management and better for my rotation.”

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