Grower Perspective

Yields up and weeds down

PhytoGen® cottonseed proves invaluable on Southwest farms

Kent Dunn began planting cotton during the 1990s in southwestern Kansas, an area typically known more for wheat production than cotton.

Because of wheat acres, nearby farms would spray 2,4-D amines or esters in the middle of the cotton-growing season. These formulations often drifted, hampering the ability to grow much cotton in the area. Dunn saw PhytoGen® cottonseed as a solution.

Using Enlist herbicides with 2,4-D choline means his applications don’t move off target onto other fields in the area — that’s the peace of mind Dunn was looking for.

“With Enlist cotton, we don’t have to worry about midseason 2,4-D drift,” Dunn said. “Before PhytoGen cottonseed with the Enlist trait, our top yields were 800 to 1,000 pounds per acre.”

Dunn faces stubborn weeds like pigweed and kochia, where multiple sites of action are very important to minimize resistance. “With Enlist One and Liberty herbicides post, we can really burn those weeds,” Dunn said. ­

“We like to start as clean as possible in spring,” he explained. “We use Roundup, Banvel or 2,4-D for burndown. We also need a good residual, because cotton can be slow to canopy. That gives weeds more of a chance to grow before we can get our postemergence application down.”

The rain in southwestern Kansas rarely prevents farmers from getting into their fields. Wind speed and direction limit their ability to spray.

“We usually are able to spray in a timely manner,” Dunn said. “The combination of Enlist One and Liberty (herbicide) gives us improved weed control.”

He says the Enlist® cotton trait is better suited for his farm than other traits available.

“We hear horror stories about dicamba drift,” Dunn said. “We can back up the claim that Enlist stays on target. It doesn’t drift.”

From the support Dunn has received, he’s not surprised that every farm in his area is 100% PhytoGen cottonseed with the Enlist trait. He recognizes how much better suited they are for his farm and its needs.

A fellow southwestern Kansas farmer, Tom Lahey agrees that PhytoGen W3FE varieties help farmers thrive in his area. 

“We tried Enlist cotton, and I haven’t seen a cotton leaf curled since 2017,” Lahey said. “We’ve even sprayed 2,4-D ester on summer fallow fields near our Enlist cotton. We’ve had no issues in the cotton.”

Like Dunn, Lahey fights a difficult battle with kochia and pigweed.

“Weeds are getting tougher and meaner,” he says. “With the Enlist system, we’re able to use a combination of Enlist One, Liberty (herbicide) and Roundup.”

Although weed control has been good, Lahey sees the need to improve his preemergence herbicide program.

“We had to make two post passes this year,” he reported. “We needed a better pre program. If you miss pigweeds, they can get big fast. We want to be able to use one post pass of our Enlist-Liberty (herbicide) tank mix to control them.”

Lahey says tank-mixing is easy and so is sprayer cleanout. Plus, he has no problems with neighbors’ acceptance of Enlist herbicides: They’re all planting PhytoGen cottonseed with the Enlist trait.

“PhytoGen is a very good fit for our area,” he said. “Yields are good for our short growing season, and quality is very good.”

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