Chris Main, PhytoGen Cotton Development Specialist for the Midsouth, examines PhytoGen® brand PHY 350 W3FE, a variety with PhytoGen Breeding Traits™ for bacterial blight resistance, two-gene protection against root-knot nematodes, and verticillium wilt tolerance.
Today’s cotton growers face many challenges. To continue to thrive in cotton, producers need more than yield. They need yield consistency.
That’s why PhytoGen offers a diverse package of yield protection traits in its PhytoGen® W3FE varieties.
Joel Faircloth, Ph.D., PhytoGen U.S. Cotton Portfolio Manager, says the current lineup of PhytoGen brand varieties helps growers overcome the inevitable obstacles between planting and harvest. That’s one reason PhytoGen has gained market share for three years in a row.
“PhytoGen W3FE varieties offer elite genetics that produce top yields, but what’s truly unique about PhytoGen is the unprecedented yield protection traits to help overcome weeds, insects and other pests for consistent yields,” Faircloth says.
Total Package for Yield Consistency
Yield consistency begins with protection from two major cotton pests: weeds and worms. Every new PhytoGen brand variety comes with the W3FE trait package, which includes WideStrike® 3 Insect Protection and the Enlist® cotton trait. PhytoGen is the only cottonseed company to offer the three-gene Bt protection of WideStrike 3 for increased protection against cotton bollworm. And the Enlist weed control system enables unrivaled weed control in cotton with tolerance to three postemergence herbicide options: 2,4-D choline, glyphosate and glufosinate.
In addition to WideStrike 3 and the Enlist trait, PhytoGen W3FE varieties come with PhytoGen Breeding Traits™ — or naturally occurring, native traits — for built-in, season-long protection against common yield-robbing pests and diseases. All PhytoGen W3FE varieties are resistant to bacterial blight. Additional protection from root-knot nematodes (RKN) and verticillium wilt is available in select Upland varieties. All PhytoGen Pima varieties provide tolerance to Fusarium (FOV) Race 4.
“With PhytoGen Breeding Traits, growers get the assurance that their yield potential is protected for greater yield consistency,” says Jason Woodward, Ph.D., PhytoGen Cotton Development Specialist in the Mid-Atlantic. “PhytoGen Breeding Traits provide yield protection that doesn’t wash off or dissipate over time like seed treatments or crop protection products.”
Woodward says PhytoGen leads the industry in nematode resistance, with two-gene root-knot nematode resistance currently available in varieties such as PhytoGen brand PHY 350 W3FE, PHY 480 W3FE and PHY 580 W3FE. With two-gene RKN protection, one gene reduces root galling and the other decreases RKN reproduction, which lowers field populations each season.
Clemson University Extension Nematologist John Mueller, Ph.D., who spoke at a PhytoGen field day in South Carolina earlier this year, says nematodes are a greater threat to yield than many growers realize.
“Nematodes can occur on and cause yield losses in most soil textures,” Mueller says. “Yield losses of 10% within a field are common and often go unnoticed. Yield losses in an individual field can exceed 50% with heavy pressure.”
Reniform Resistance on the Horizon
Woodward and PhytoGen Cotton Development Specialists throughout the Cotton Belt are evaluating experimental varieties with a new PhytoGen Breeding Trait for reniform nematode resistance. A first for the cotton industry, this trait protects cotton plants from reniform nematodes, which are prolific in the Southeast, Midsouth and West Texas. PhytoGen Horizon Network growers will conduct on-farm variety trials with the reniform trait in 2020, with expected commercial availability in 2021.
“PhytoGen is leading the way in native breeding traits, and we are excited to add reniform resistance to our lineup,” Woodward says. “PhytoGen Breeding Traits offer growers unparalleled yield consistency from field to field, season after season.”
This yield consistency comes in varieties developed for every corner of the Cotton Belt, from very early maturities for the northern Texas Panhandle and Kansas to full-season varieties for the southern-most acres in the Cotton Belt. Growers can choose the right varieties for their operations.
“We aren’t trying to sell one variety to every grower across the Cotton Belt,” Faircloth says. “Our 200 series varieties are very early, and PHY 580 W3FE is one of the latest in the industry — and we’ve got everything in between. We’re excited about what the future holds for cotton growers and for PhytoGen.”