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Grower Perspective

Don’t let insects and weeds slow the race to high yields

Cotton producer Reid Gelderman says PhytoGen® W3FE varieties provide early season vigor and a weed control system that allows him to maximize yields at harvest.

The finish line may come at harvest, but the race for high yields begins early and continues through the season.

That’s why cotton producer Reid Gelderman has planted PhytoGen® cottonseed for more than a decade, relying on its early season vigor and season-long traits to set him up for high yields at harvest.

When it comes to a strong start, Gelderman says nothing beats PhytoGen brand varieties, which give him an advantage over early season diseases and pests.

“PhytoGen cottonseed is leaps and bounds more vigorous than the competition,” says Gelderman, who farms in the Blacklands of North Carolina. “PhytoGen varieties take off and get those first stages out of the way faster than other varieties.”

In his region, that’s especially important for thrips, which feed on young cotton plants and stunt growth. Gelderman says thrips can be costly to control, sometimes requiring two applications with heavy pressure. That’s why it’s important for a cotton plant to get off to a quick start.

“Once you get those first four true leaves out there, then you are good — you are done with thrips applications. That’s been our experience,” Gelderman says. “Early season vigor gives us a good foundation for later in the season.”

Weeds don’t live for free

In 2018, Gelderman planted PhytoGen W3FE varieties and used the Enlist weed control system to keep yield-robbing weeds out of his fields. He takes pride in clean fields, but the main reason he focuses on weed control is the higher yield on his gin reports.

“Enlist One herbicide did a good job keeping our fields clean. The biggest benefit from weed control is the increase in yield,” Gelderman says. “When weeds get away from you, they take nitrogen and other food you put out for the cotton. Those weeds aren’t living there for free.”

In addition to great weed control, Gelderman says the Enlist system is easy to use, but he stresses the importance of education.

“When you use something new, you want to learn as much about it as you can. It’s important to follow the label,” Gelderman says. “We really liked the triple-rinse tank cleanout, and Enlist One did not volatilize or drift. We never saw any issues with it.”

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