Expert Insight

PhytoGen Cottonseed Turns Heads with 2021 OVT Performance

PhytoGen Cotton Development Specialist Ken Legé, Ph.D., says producers across the Cotton Belt are improving yield potential with OVT-winning PhytoGen brand varieties.

A second look will often challenge the status quo and open your eyes to new perspectives. That’s especially true in agriculture, in which producers are continually seeking ways to improve yields and profitability. And with as many challenges as today’s cotton producers face, that second look could pay off.

New opportunities in cotton production often first appear in Extension and university trials, where the latest varieties go head-to-head.

In recent years, variety introductions from PhytoGen® cottonseed have excited growers as results come in from the Mississippi Delta to Lubbock and beyond. PhytoGen® brand varieties are posting big wins against the competition, and growers are taking notice.

PhytoGen won both the Mississippi State University (MSU) Official Variety Trials (OVT) and MSU On-Farm Trials in 2021. PhytoGen brand PHY 411 W3FE was the top variety in the MSU OVT across all locations. In the two-year Delta trial, PHY 411 W3FE and PhytoGen brand PHY 443 W3FE ranked first and second, with a lead of 99 and 78 lb./A over the closest competitor, respectively.

PHY 411 W3FE and PHY 443 W3FE also were the top two varieties in the MSU On-Farm Trials across all locations, where PhytoGen had the No. 1 variety for three seasons in a row. In the 2021 Louisiana State University (LSU) OVT, PHY 411 W3FE won first place and outyielded the closest competitor by 86 lb./A. It’s a similar story with the LSU On-Farm Core Block Demonstrations, where PHY 411 W3FE won the trial by 79 lb./A and PhytoGen brand PHY 400 W3FE came in third, running a close race for second place.

Jonathan Siebert, Ph.D., PhytoGen Cotton Development Specialist for Mississippi and Louisiana, says the latest PhytoGen W3FE varieties have grabbed growers’ attention across the Midsouth and Southeast.

“Consistent performance of PhytoGen brand varieties in these university trials demonstrates their high-yield potential that gives growers an opportunity to increase profitability,” Siebert says. “We’re excited that Extension trials confirm what we’ve been seeing in our own trial work — that the efforts of our breeding program provide cotton producers with improved yield potential.”

Bigger and Better in Texas

Texas is home to the most cotton acres in the nation. PhytoGen recorded big wins on the Texas High Plains last season, with the top five highest-yielding varieties at the irrigated Lubbock location of the 2021 Texas A&M University Cotton Performance Tests. PHY 411 W3FE was the winner of that trial, beating the closest competitor by 184 pounds.

On the other side of the state, PhytoGen took the No. 1 spot in the Texas A&M AgriLife combined Coastal Bend Replicated Agronomic Cotton Evalu­ation (RACE) trials in 2021 with PHY 400 W3FE. PhytoGen also won first and second place in the Rio Grande Valley RACE trials. This third-party variety performance has garnered the attention of Lonestar growers and catapulted PHY 400 W3FE to the No. 1 planted variety in Texas.1

PhytoGen Cotton Development Specialist Ken Legé, Ph.D., helps Lubbock-area producers select and manage PhytoGen brand varieties on their farms. He says Texas cotton producers are choosing PhytoGen cottonseed because of high-yield potential plus improved management of weeds and other pests.

“In Texas and across the Cotton Belt, cotton production is challenging. From weed and disease pressure to unpredictable weather, growers need new solutions and varieties that power through the hurdles,” Legé says. “Cotton producers should never settle, and that’s where PhytoGen comes in. We’re helping customers overcome obstacles with improved solutions, so they can thrive in cotton.”

Bringing More to the Table

The combination of early season vigor and PhytoGen Breeding Traits™ helps young cotton plants get off to a healthy start, especially in those first 40 days when plants are most vulnerable. PhytoGen Breeding Traits protect against pests and diseases such as root-knot and reniform nematodes, and bacterial blight. PhytoGen brand varieties also come stacked with WideStrike® 3 Insect Protection, a combination of three Bt genes to protect plants from cotton bollworms and other lepidopteran pests.

On top of these benefits, PhytoGen brand varieties enable cotton producers to utilize the Enlist® weed control system, the fastest-growing weed control system in U.S. agriculture. With near-zero volatility of 2,4-D choline, Enlist One® and Enlist Duo® herbicides stay where they’re sprayed. And the Enlist system offers cotton producers better compatibility with other crops, such as soybeans, peanuts, and wheat. That’s neighbor-friendly weed control with multiple modes of action against tough-to-control and resistant weeds.

“We demonstrated firsthand this past season at the PhytoGen Enlist Southwest Experience Center that the Enlist weed control system works very well in Texas,” Legé says. “And we’ve heard similar stories from growers across the Cotton Belt. The flexibility and efficacy of the Enlist system is helping our customers take weed control back into their hands.”