When planning for the future, you carefully weigh business decisions to determine the best way forward.
The path is not always clear, but occasionally something comes your way that turns out to be an easy choice. Texas cotton producer David Barrett said newer cotton varieties have made his seed decision much simpler in recent years.
“When I’m considering what varieties to plant, they must have yield — that’s a given,” Barrett said. “Then there are five criteria a variety must meet: seedling vigor, fiber quality, top-of-the-line insect package, a complete herbicide package and storm tolerance. PhytoGen varieties have been able to consistently check all of those boxes for our farm. Having all of those qualities makes it a pretty easy choice.”
Barrett has planted PhytoGen® cottonseed for many years, and he said newer varieties have brought even better potential to his operation. For example, he planted PhytoGen brand PHY 415 W3FE as an experimental variety in a trial two years ago, and it topped everything in the plot. When he got the gin results, he knew immediately what he needed to do.
“When I got the yield data back, PHY 415 W3FE had won the trial in a big way. The first call I made was to my seed retailer. I told him however much 415 he could get, we wanted all of it,” Barrett said. “In tough, stressful conditions, that variety stood head and shoulders above everything in the plot on yield and right at the top on fiber quality.”
This past season, Barrett’s decision to plant more PHY 415 W3FE didn’t disappoint. From planting to harvest, the variety looked good all year long — even with a few challenges. Early on, he experienced marginal planting conditions, but the early season vigor with PHY 415 W3FE offered a distinct advantage over the competition.
“It’s hard not to plant these PhytoGen varieties that blow out of the ground with such high warm and cool germ and superior seed size. PHY 415 had the best emergence and vigor of any seed we’ve handled, and that correlated to higher yields in our area this season,” Barrett said. “We planted one block of a competitive variety and ended up having to replant it. There was a whole cascade of events that field experienced due to inferior quality seed.”
He farms west of Edroy, Texas, with Four Plus Farms Partnership, which includes his wife, Miranda, as well as Scott and Stacy Hinze. Half of their cotton acres are irrigated, an investment that pays dividends in drought conditions like they experienced in 2023.
Scott and Stacy Hinze pose with their sons, August and Harlan, in a field planted to PhytoGen cottonseed. Four Plus Farms Partnership in Texas has seen success with newer PhytoGen brand varieties.
“It turned off very hot and dry this summer — it was like raising cotton in the desert,” Barrett said. “But we finished the crop with supplemental irrigation where we could, and our irrigated cotton is the best irrigated crop we’ve ever had. The dryland will be slightly better than normal, so our entity average should be solid.”
Barrett kept weeds at bay with the Enlist® weed control system, something he’s used for several years.
“I’m a fan of the Enlist system, because it allows me to use tools like Enlist One herbicide and Liberty herbicide. Combined with our preemerge and postemerge programs, weed control is easy,” Barrett said. “Enlist One consistently performs better than dicamba, and the curb appeal of dead weeds is satisfying.”
Looking to the future, Barrett is excited about what’s coming next in the PhytoGen variety pipeline. He worked with PhytoGen Cotton Development Specialist Brad Hopkins, Ph.D., to conduct an Innovation Trial on his farm in 2023. In that trial, four PhytoGen varieties yielded 4 bales to the acre. Two of those varieties topped 2,000 pounds/A, including an experimental variety that’s being evaluated for commercial release. Barrett believes that is a good sign of what’s to come.
“We’ve really been pleased with the PhytoGen varieties, and PHY 415 W3FE has been flat out exciting all the way through. We had some large irrigated blocks do very, very well,” Barrett said. “And in our variety trial, the experimental was the top yielder. Even with the great performance of our current varieties, it’s really exciting that there is something in the pipeline that could be even better.”