Jim McArthur farms about 80 miles from the beach in Malone, Florida, but many of his fields have a lot in common with the dunes at Destin or Panama City.
The deep sand where McArthur farms can produce good yields, but there are unique challenges he has to overcome each season because of those sandy fields. To give himself an edge in adverse conditions, he relies on PhytoGen® brand varieties to keep yield potential high and mitigate difficult circumstances.
“We’ve been planting PhytoGen cotton for over 10 years,” McArthur said. “PhytoGen makes great varieties — it’s definitely a yield bump that you get. All of these cotton varieties have great yielding potential.”
McArthur’s first hurdle comes early in the season, as planting moisture doesn’t stick around long in the sandy soils. He needs varieties that germinate quickly and come up vigorously to get the crop off to a good start.
“PhytoGen cottonseed comes out of the gate getting with it. I’ve had no issues with a stand,” McArthur said. “It has great emergence and keeps it all year.”
Better input utility
While the varieties are marked by vigor, they’re also easy to manage, allowing McArthur to keep vegetative growth in check with fewer trips across the field. That helps save time and money during the busy season.
“PhytoGen is an easy crop to maintain,” McArthur said. “You can spray PGR on it, and it holds it in there — you’re not constantly having to dump PGR on it to keep it in check.”
Another production hurdle is underground — root-knot nematode (RKN) populations in varying levels throughout his fields. RKNs are found across the Cotton Belt, but they thrive in sandier soils. RKNs feed on roots and can severely limit the plant’s ability to uptake water and nutrients. That creates a double-edged sword in sandier soils where water drains quickly and plants don’t have the root structure to get what they need.
The newest PhytoGen brand varieties have RKN and reniform nematode resistance built into the seed, protecting roots from nematode feeding. Healthier roots mean better water uptake, which is critical for boll and fiber formation. McArthur says these varieties have helped increase production and provide better management on his farm.
“There is a huge benefit with the nematode resistance in these PhytoGen varieties,” McArthur said. “We keep our nematodes in check.”
It also helps his bottom line, allowing him to get the most out of his fertilizer investment. If fertilizer doesn’t make it to the plant, it won’t impact plant health or yield potential.“We have a lot of super sandy soils, and PhytoGen varieties hold up in those conditions,” McArthur said. “We’re one big rain from leaching a lot of fertilizer, and PhytoGen varieties do a good job of uptaking those nutrients so they actually make it to the plant. It’s nice to have varieties that what you put in is what you’re going to get out.”