The two new varieties exceeded criteria for commercial advancement after on-farm evaluations were completed by more than 75 PhytoGen Horizon Network growers this year. The producers group from across the Cotton Belt recently met to assess PhytoGen brand precommercial varieties tested on their farms this season.
“We’ve been doing variety work for 15 years, and this was the strongest and most consistent trial we’ve ever seen,” said Southeast producer Mike Griffin, an inaugural member of the PhytoGen Horizon Network.
Based upon their evaluations and multiple years of trial data from PhytoGen cotton development specialists and breeders, PHY 400 W3FE and PHY 500 W3FE were the clear front-runners.
All PhytoGen W3FE varieties available in 2020 have PhytoGen Breeding Traits for built-in protection against diseases and pests.
New Mid-maturity Addition to 400 Series
PHY 400 W3FE is a mid-maturing, medium-height, semi-smooth leaf variety that fits and performs well on both irrigated and non-irrigated land. Griffin reports the new variety packed on the fruit and responded well to plant growth regulators.
As growers discovered this year, PHY 400 W3FE is manageable and responds well to higher inputs and productive soils. It also has PhytoGen Breeding Traits for bacterial blight and root-knot-nematode resistance.The new variety has also performed well in pending Official Variety Trials across the Cotton Belt in 2019. In preliminary data of the combined trials in Central and South Texas (three Monster and 16 RACE trials), for example, it outyielded competitors by 66 pounds per acre and $38 per acre, while winning highest lint value outright in nine of 23 trials.
PHN Members Add New 500 Series
The mid- to full-maturing newcomer, PHY 500 W3FE, is one of the most consistent cotton varieties available. It has a broad area of adaptation, fitting across a wide range of soil types from the Mid-Atlantic to the Southeast and across West Texas. PhytoGen brand PHY 500 W3FE is a top-yielding, smooth-leaf variety with excellent fiber characteristics, including micronaire, strength and staple.
Austin Warbington, a PHN member from Vienna, Georgia, planted half of one farm to PHY 500 W3FE and half to PhytoGen brand PHY 580 W3FE. He reports they are both good full-season varieties.
“They both have the ability to push through a lot of stress,” Warbington said. “We planted seven or eight varieties across our farms in 2019, and PHY 500 W3FE and PHY 580 W3FE were two of our best.”
Most fields in his part of the country have root-knot nematodes, so the RKN resistance in both varieties is a major benefit to him, he said
“We can plant these varieties on fields with root-knot nematodes, and it’s almost like planting a rotational crop because we eliminate up to 90% of the nematode population,” Warbington said.