Grower Perspective

Set the stage early for higher yields at harvest

Variety selection is one of the most important decisions when aiming for consistent high yields and profitability.

When choosing varieties for the 2021 season, a good strategy is to “find your anchor, but cast a wide net.”

To find your anchor, choose a dependable variety with consistently high yields across your agronomic conditions. A strong anchor variety will be broadly adapted with a middle-of-the-road maturity for your area.

PhytoGen® brand PHY 350 W3FE has provided that dependable high-end performance across the Southwest, from Kansas and the Oklahoma Panhandle down through West Texas and New Mexico. Russell Isaacs farms near Turpin, Oklahoma, and he says PHY 350 W3FE is the variety he counts on.

“PHY 350 W3FE is our go-to. It pops out of the ground, squares fast and pumps out the yield,” Isaacs said. “Our goal is 2,000-pound cotton and 350 has consistently done that for us. It takes a special year to make 5-bale cotton like we did in 2018, but PHY 350 W3FE did that too.”

When selecting an anchor variety, it’s important to consider historical performance on your farm combined with trial data from a larger region. PhytoGen brand PHY 400 W3FE is another broadly adapted variety that cotton producers are planting across the Cotton Belt. It particularly performs well in the Midsouth, Southeast, Texas Coastal Bend and the Rio Grande Valley.

PhytoGen Cotton Development Specialist Brad Hopkins, Ph.D., says it’s important to consider performance over several seasons to evaluate a variety’s consistency. For his area in South Texas, he encourages customers to review the results of the Texas A&M AgriLife RACE trials in the Texas Coastal Bend. Across 14 trials in 2019 and 2020, PHY 400 W3FE was the highest-yielding variety with the highest overall lint value.1

“Over two seasons, PHY 400 W3FE averaged 82 pounds per acre more than the closest competitive variety, with a $42 per acre higher lint value,” Hopkins said. “Cotton producers are planting PHY 400 W3FE for its ability to stack bolls and provide exceptional yields in diverse conditions, from Texas through the Midsouth and into the Southeast.

PhytoGen® brand PHY 400 W3FE is a broadly adapted, consistent yielder across the Cotton Belt, especially in the Midsouth, Southeast and South Texas. PHY 400 W3FE was the third most-planted variety in the United States in 2020 due to its combination of excellent yield potential and unique yield protection traits.

Casting a Wide Net

PhytoGen Cotton Development Specialist Chris Main, Ph.D., works with growers in Tennessee and Alabama, and agrees that PHY 400 W3FE and PHY 350 W3FE are varieties that excel in diverse conditions. But he says the PhytoGen cottonseed portfolio allows customers to "cast a wide net," or plant complementary varieties well-suited to their geographies. This strategy allows growers to diversify maturities and plant varieties tailored to fit specific situations.

"The PhytoGen cottonseed portfolio is unique in that we have several broadly adapted varieties that fit across the Cotton Belt, but we also offer complementary varieties that are adapted to certain regions," Main said. "In the Midsouth, PHY 360 W3FE and PHY 390 W3FE are premier yielders. In the Southeast, we have a true full-season variety in PHY 580 W3FE, and we offer some of the earliest-maturing varieties on the market for places like Kansas."

Main said PhytoGen W3FE varieties offer advantages with unique trait technologies and novel native traits. WideStrike® 3 Insect Protection provides excellent three-gene Bt protection against bollworm, far superior to two-gene traits. The Enlistweed control system gives growers more options and flexibility, with tolerances to Enlist herbicides, Liberty® herbicide (glufosinate) and glyphosate. PhytoGen Breeding Traits protect against root-knot nematodes, reniform nematodes, verticillium wilt and bacterial blight.

When yield protection traits are combined with high-yielding genetics, cotton producers can select a winning lineup for their farms.

"A championship team doesn't have one good player — there are many great players who excel at their positions," Main said. "The breadth of the PhytoGen cottonseed portfolio allows growers to choose several varieties custom-fit for their agronomic situation."

1Coastal Bend Combined RACE trials, 2019-2020, Texas A&M Agrilife Research and Extension Service, 14 trial locations.