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PhytoGen growers to trial reniform-resistant cotton varieties in 2020

PhytoGen CottonseedPhytoGen Horizon Network growers will plant the industry’s first reniform-resistant cottonseed varieties in 2020.

A first for the cotton industry, these three PhytoGen pre-commercial varieties include the PhytoGen Breeding Trait for reniform resistance, which offers naturally occurring native traits for built-in, season-long protection.

During the 2019 season, company cotton development specialists conducted on-farm trials evaluating the trait. The reniform-resistant varieties demonstrated exponential yield gains in fields infested with reniform nematodes compared to susceptible varieties. These same varieties also produced exceptional yields and fiber quality in environments without reniform nematodes.

“The PhytoGen Breeding Trait for reniform resistance will be a significant benefit for producers — they will see a considerable increase in yield potential in fields with reniform nematodes,” said Dr. Jason Woodward, PhytoGen cotton development specialist for the Mid-Atlantic. “In our internal reniform trials, the resistant plants were larger and noticeably healthier all season long, and these varieties produced substantial yield increases compared to industry-leading, non-resistant varieties.”

Extension experts estimate that reniform nematodes cause annual cotton losses of more than 250,000 bales, with the greatest losses in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas.

Hank King, PhytoGen general manager, said reniform-resistant cotton varieties will greatly benefit growers across the Cotton Belt.

“In areas where reniform nematode populations are highest, the PhytoGen Breeding Trait for reniform resistance could return previously abandoned cotton acres to production,” King said. “These varieties will help give cotton producers the opportunity to profitably farm cotton again in fields with intense reniform pressure.”

After the initial year with PhytoGen Horizon Network growers, PhytoGen plans to commercially launch reniform-resistant varieties in 2021.

As with all PhytoGen W3FE varieties, the reniform-resistant varieties will include additional native traits such as bacterial blight resistance, root-knot nematode resistance and Verticillium wilt tolerance.

“The PhytoGen breeding team set the goal to bring reniform resistance to the cottonseed market in high yield potential germplasm, and PhytoGen Horizon Network growers will get to experience this innovation in 2020,” King said. “We could not think of a better way to celebrate 40 years of business than to offer another solution to help our customers thrive in cotton.”

PhytoGen was founded in 1980 by the J.G. Boswell Co. In 1997, Dow AgroSciences joined with the J.G. Boswell Co. to establish PhytoGen Seed Co. LLC.

PhytoGen Cottonseed contributed this information.