You can’t plan planting conditions. Every season there will be challenges as varied as the Cotton Belt. Midsouth and Southeast producers often need a break from spring showers, while West Texas farmers sit on ready, waiting for rain.
Ian McIntosh is one of those West Texas cotton producers, and he says the early season vigor of PhytoGen® cottonseed helps him get through the tough weeks after planting. That strong emergence and seedling vigor was tested in 2018, an especially dry spring in Floyd County, northeast of Lubbock.
“We had a very dry early season in 2018. It was not raining, and the top foot was as dry as it could be. But all of the PhytoGen varieties have good early season vigor,” says McIntosh. “People are saying that the vigor of PhytoGen cottonseed is why the crop survived and a lot of people didn’t fail.”
Planting cotton on the Texas High Plains always has its challenges. McIntosh explains producers often can’t wait for perfect conditions. When they see an opportunity to plant, they have to be ready to move.
“You sometimes have such a narrow window of optimal emergence, so you need a strong seed that gets up and going. Sometimes you have as little as three days,” McIntosh says. “You can get a good rain, and the next day it’s 90 degrees with 35 mph winds.”
Good emergence is important, but seedling vigor also can make a big difference on final results. McIntosh says one drip field had a particularly shaky start because the drip tape couldn’t irrigate the first few inches of the soil. Until roots dug to the irrigation, it was like planting dryland acres.
“I planted PhytoGen cottonseed in this drip field, and I wondered if I’d have to plow it up – it was so dry,” McIntosh says. “It turned around in late June, and now it’s loaded like you wouldn’t believe. It’s probably the best crop I have ever grown, and I don’t know why other than the variety.”
While early season vigor is important, McIntosh doesn’t lose sight of the main goal: “In the end, it’s how much that seed is going to make me.”
PhytoGen also helps him thrive at the end of the season.
“Last year, our PhytoGen variety yielded 1,493 pounds per acre on irrigated land, and the competitor varieties yielded 1,300 pounds,” McIntosh says. “We shoot for 600-700 pounds per acre on dryland, and some of our PhytoGen made two bales on dryland corners. The cotton kept coming. It was unbelievable.”