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January 29, 2020 - PhytoGen, We're Back!

As the cotton market looks to rebound in 2020, let's review three key PhytoGen varieties (some new and some not) to help you maximize your ROI.

As we enter 2020, winter weather is slowly creeping into central and east Georgia. Freezing temperatures are very timely to clean up cotton regrowth and slow root-knot nematode populations on acres not planted to a PhytoGen RKN-resistant variety. Temps will also help hit the reset button on some of our major cotton insect pests and if possible, eliminate a few gnats.

With details starting to be released from the recent U.S.-China trade agreement, the cotton market is looking bullish for both 2020 and 2021 seasons with prices starting to climb back to the 70-cent range. A lot of eyes will follow market trends and predictions as we try to determine how much cotton we will plant this growing season.

To get a jump on 2020 variety selection, this month’s blog focuses on three key PhytoGen products that will help to maximize return on investment in the coming year.

The first variety I’d like to highlight is the new PhytoGen® brand PHY 400 W3FE. As we evaluated it on larger acreage in UGA On-Farm and PhytoGen Innovation Trials, you may have seen this variety under the experimental name PX 3B07. While it has changed to its commercial name, one thing that didn't change was how well this variety stood out across central and east Georgia. It was exceptional from emergence to harvest. 


In fact, PHY 400 W3FE may be the easiest racehorse variety to manage on the market, easily recognizable with its shorter stature, open canopy and dark green color. A mid-maturing, go-anywhere determinate with phenomenal vigor, it shines on dryland acres and environments where averages are typically 3 bale or less. It also placed first in the 2019 UGA On-Farm trials with averages up to 1400 lb/ac. 

The second variety to consider for 2020 is the new PhytoGen® brand PHY 500 W3FE. This variety was also evaluated in UGA On-Farm and PhytoGen Innovation Trials in 2019 as PX 5D28. I have commonly coined this variety as "the perfect dicamba conversion variety" as it grows aggressively, similar to DP 1646 B2XF and NG 5711 B3XF. However, it is different from these varieties in providing reliable emergence, elite early season vigor, and the ability to build a stalk that’ll continue to stand late season.

The variety out-performed leading competitors DP 1646 and DP 2055, ST 5471 and ST 5600, and NG 5711 across all locations in which full season varieties were included in the 2019 UGA Official Variety Trials. Widely adaptable, PhytoGen brand PHY 500 W3FE is a mid-to-full-maturing variety with a smooth leaf that shines in high-yielding environments. A very similar plant to PHY 499 WRF of old, you can expect high loan value and stable fiber quality across dryland and irrigated environments, along with excellent yield potential. 



The final variety to consider for 2020 is one you may have heard before, PhytoGen® brand PHY 480 W3FE. This mid-to-full maturing variety loves stressful environments. The ultimate return-on-investment variety, PHY 480 is highly responsive to reduced seeding rates (9 – 10 acres per bag), limited nitrogen input (less than 60 lbs.), and thrives on tough stress acres.

Superbly drought tolerant, PHY 480 W3FE leaves commonly stay green and turgid during droughty periods while most other varieties show severe wilt. Under these conditions and heavy RKN pressure in 2019, we consistently heard reports of 1200 lb. averages and best yields ever experienced on farms. As cotton prices rebound, look to truly maximize profits on your toughest ground with PHY 480 W3FE.

All these high-yielding varieties come with the Enlist weed control system, allowing you to keep one herbicide program on the farm or in your sprayer, if you also farm peanuts. And while each of these varieties have their own agronomic differences, planting a PhytoGen W3FE variety helps protect you from potential yield and pocketbook-robbing-pests, such as root-knot nematode, bacterial blight, bollworm, and late season weather with industry leading storm tolerance.

There is no denying the first PhytoGen brand Enlist varieties did not have a fit for everyone in south Georgia, but the PhytoGen you grew accustomed to during the 375, 499, and 444 days with consistently elite vigor, yield, and fiber quality is back!

For more information about cotton production practices in your area, contact your state Extension cotton specialist. As always, your PhytoGen cotton development specialist also is available to discuss agronomic options.

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COTTON DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST:

SHAWN BUTLER, PH.D.

A native of Jackson, Tennessee, Shawn Butler, Ph.D., is the PhytoGen cotton development specialist for central and eastern Georgia. He holds a doctorate in agronomy and crop science and a master’s in crop pathology, both from the University of Tennessee. While at UT, Shawn specialized in application technology, precision agriculture and remote sensing. He enjoys helping cotton producers find applied solutions and implementing technology to overcome agronomic challenges. When Shawn isn’t scouting fields and visiting with growers, he enjoys following sports, playing golf, boating, and projects around the yard and home.
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